WENR, November 2014: Europe

Google Releases Data on Most-Googled Institutions of Higher Education

Google has revealed the most popular searches for people around the world looking for universities, and the ranking is significantly different from the traditional map of the global powerhouses of higher education.

There is a strong interest in online courses, rather than traditional campus-based universities, says Google. The top search worldwide is for the University of Phoenix, a U.S.-based, for-profit university, with many online programs. And there are five Indian institutions in the top 20 of most searched-for universities.

The second most searched-for university is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is also an institution with a strong record for pioneering online courses. The top European university and third overall is the UK’s distance learning pioneer, the Open University.

University College London and the London School of Economics are both ahead of Oxford and Cambridge among UK universities. The University of Calicut, in Kerala, India, is fourth in this ranking of online searches, followed by UCLA in the United States. And Anna University in Chennai is the second Indian university in the top 10 in sixth.

Taking the UK higher education system as an example, Google’s search patterns show a globalized and fast-changing market. Among searches worldwide for UK universities, 40 percent are from outside the UK. The biggest international regions for searching for UK universities are Asia Pacific and Western Europe. This has helped to put five UK universities in the top 20.

Universities are acutely aware of the importance of their online presence, says Ronald Ehrenberg, director of Cornell University’s Higher Education Research Institute in New York. The internet is the “primary way” that universities market themselves to potential students and to alumni, says Prof Ehrenberg.

BBC News [1]
September 23, 2014

Denmark: Government to Cut 4,000 University Places in Low-Job-Prospect Fields

Danish Minister of Higher Education and Science, Sofie Carsten Nielsen, announced in September that the number of students admitted to degree programs with poor job prospects would be cut by 4,000 within three years. The announcement has led to heated public debate.

The ministry published detailed instructions on the “increased use of dimensioning in higher education,” and a long list of studies with low prospects for graduate employment whose student intakes would be limited from 2015.

“Today 15,000 students are admitted each year to higher education [degrees] that have bad job prospects,” said a ministry press release. “Within three years the number will be reduced to 11,000. That means 1,300 fewer places each year for the next three years.”

According to Nielson, this does not mean that fewer students would be admitted. “The objective is that more students will take a degree where there are good work prospects, and that fewer will be unemployed after graduation.”

University World News [2]
October 3, 2014

Two Universities to Stop Enrolling International Students

Copenhagen University and the University of Southern Denmark have announced they will not sign the annual ‘development contract’ with the Education Ministry, effectively refusing to enroll new international students.

“If the government is reducing the number of Danish students to be admitted, there are no places for foreign students,” the universities said. The development contracts with the universities were made to increase internationalization and boost the number of foreign students at Danish universities.

At Copenhagen University, prorector Lykke Friis said the universities had no other choice when more than 60 master’s degree programs would have to reduce their intakes of Danish students in 2015 and onwards.

University World News [3]
October 15, 2014

Germany: Attracted by Free Tuition and English-Language Programs, Enrollments from India Grow

Indian enrollments in German institutions of higher education have almost doubled since 2010, with students attracted by low fees and a growing number of programs being offered in English.

The German Academic Exchange Service [4] (DAAD), says it has been working hard over the past few years to attract more students from India for higher education and those efforts are paying off with more and more young Indians choosing Germany over more expensive destinations. According to industry estimates, approximate annual costs of higher education work out to around $6,285 in comparison to $35,705 in the United States and $30,325 in the UK.

In 2013-14, there were 9,619 Indian students enrolled in German institutions of higher education, an increase of more than 2,000 versus the previous year. Since 2010, the numbers have almost doubled.

German universities currently offer more than 1,600 programs in English, which is another major draw for Indian students, along with relaxed entry and residence rules for high skilled immigrants. This has become especially attractive at a time when government visa and labor policies in the UK, the second-most popular destination for Indian students after the U.S., have led to a dramatic decline in Indian enrollments there.

Economic Times [5]
September 22, 2014

All German Universities Now Tuition Free

All German universities are free of charge with the start of the new academic year after fees were abandoned in Lower Saxony, the last of seven states to drop tuition fees.

“Tuition fees are socially unjust,” said Dorothee Stapelfeldt, senator for science in Hamburg, which scrapped charges in 2012. “They particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies. It is a core task of politics to ensure that young women and men can study with a high quality standard free of charge in Germany.”

The experiment with tuition fees, which began in 2006, was overturned by democratic pressure against conservative-led state governments, all in states in the west of Germany, which decided to charge €1,000 (US$1,268) a year.

The Times of London [6]
September 22, 2014

Russia: 11 More Universities Prevented from Enrolling New Students

Another 11 higher education institutions across Russia have been prohibited from enrolling new students as they have failed to “comply with instructions following checks,” the country’s education watchdog Rosobrnadzor said in September.

A total of 119 education institutions and their branches have now been blacklisted. The list includes state and private organizations in central and southern Russia, the Urals and Siberia, as well as five state universities from Moscow, Ivanovo, Makhachkala, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg.

“The ban on enrolling students is a preventive measure that means that higher education institutions and their branches may continue carrying out educational activities,” the press service of the Federal Education and Science Supervision Agency – Rosobrnadzor – said. As of this Fall, some seven million people are studying in 593 state and 486 private higher education institutions across Russia, which have a total of 1,376 and 682 branches, respectively, said the Russian Ministry of Education and Science.

September 22, 2104

Ukraine: Separatists Look to Introduce Russian Curriculum

Separatist rebels in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region plan to introduce the Russian curriculum into schools under their control, reports RFE/RL.

Ihor Kostenok, the education “minister” of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), told a news conference on September 18 that the Russian education system was “recognized around the world as one of the best.”

“The vast majority of DNR citizens studied in the Soviet era,” he said. “We fully understand that we are returning to a time-tested system that is solidly based on fundamental science and on extremely well-developed material.”

RFE/RL [8]
October 10, 2014

United Kingdom: First-Time Indian Enrollment Continues to Hemorrhage, Despite Overall Growth in International Student Enrollments

The number of new Indian enrollments in UK university programs continues to fall after almost halving over two years, according to a recent report [9]. A survey of more than 100 institutions by Universities UK [10] shows that despite growth in overall overseas recruitment in the latest academic year, there have been further drops in enrollment from certain countries.

Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that the number of Indian students starting UK programs fell by 49 percent in the two years to 2012-13, from 23,985 to 12,280. Over the same period, the number of students recruited from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia dropped by 38 percent and 35 percent respectively.

Growth from China, Malaysia and Hong Kong meant that the overall decline in the number of first-year students from overseas over the two years was 1.3 percent, from 174,225 to 171,910. Much of the growth was at the undergraduate level.

A survey of recruitment for 2013-14, which attracted responses from 104 institutions, found that the decline in demand from India and Pakistan appeared to be continuing. Institutions recruiting from India said that they had welcomed nearly 800 fewer students from the country in 2013-14 compared with the previous year. The survey also asked about applications for study in 2014-15, with 43 universities saying that they had seen a decrease in the number of Indian students applying, compared with 19 reporting an increase.

Times Higher Education [11]
September 25, 2014

Universities UK Issues Warning on Future of Non-EU Overseas Enrollments

The UK’s higher education representative body, Universities UK, has said that despite signs of increasing demand among foreign students, long-term trends in student recruitment for the UK are “worrying” as Indian and STEM enrollments continue to decline.

In the lead up to 2015’s general election, UUK is renewing its efforts to attract government support for the sector calling on it to take student numbers out of net migration figures and to launch an international student growth strategy.

A recent survey of 104 UUK member institutions reveals that non-EU students made up 13 percent of UK student populations, up from 10 percent just five years earlier with growth concentrated among students from southeast Asia, mostly from China.

“The overall decline is slight, but it is in stark contrast to the strong growth in international recruitment witnessed pre-2010,” the survey’s report [12] warns referring to the fall in overseas students seen over the past two years. Sector-wide concern centers on Indian enrollments which have halved in the last two years – while numbers soar in competitor countries like the U.S. –  and a 10 percent decline in STEM enrollments.

The PIE News [13]
October 1, 2014

Study: Domestic Students Benefit Financially From Influx of Internationals

Fees paid by growing numbers of overseas graduate students in the UK have helped to subsidize additional places for domestic learners, according to the findings of a new paper by Stephen Machin, professor of economics at University College London, and Richard Murphy, assistant professor of economics at the University of Texas at Austin, which analyses correlations between the increases in the numbers of British-born and overseas students in UK higher education institutions.

Asking whether the rapid influx of international recruits had led to “crowding out” or “crowding in” of home-grown talent, the researchers found no significant relationship between the changes in the numbers of domestic and non-European Union undergraduates between 2001-02 and 2011-12. But they did find a positive relationship when they looked at taught and research graduates through a sample of 144 institutions.

“For each additional overseas student attending a university, we see approximately one additional domestic student,” the researchers write. “This is evidence indicating that universities use the additional fees from international students to subsidize postgraduate places.”

The number of non-EU students studying full-time in the UK has quadrupled to 266,000 over the last 20 years, with their presence in the graduate sector multiplying more than five times over the same period. They now make up 48 percent of all students on master’s programs. More significantly, the paper says, fees from overseas students at all levels now amount to well over a tenth of the higher education sector’s entire income. They represent 39 percent of all fee revenue, despite only accounting for 15 percent of places.

Times Higher Education [14]
October 3, 2014

British Council Seeks World’s Best

According to the British Council, one in 10 current world leaders have studied in the UK and, relative to absolute enrollments, the UK is more likely to produce a world leader than is the United States. The British Council wants to ensure that the UK continues to attract these high-flying students, and recently launched a campaign designed to do so by recognizing outstanding graduates from China, India and the USA.

Research carried out by the organization [15] shows that when total students in each country are measured, UK universities produce one world leader per 50,000 graduates compared to the U.S. which produces one per 500,000.

As part of its campaign to strengthen alumni relations, the British Council has launched awards for alumni in each country recognizing achievements in three categories: the individual’s chosen professional field, entrepreneurialism and social impact. Finalist will become part of a new international alumni network giving them access to an events program and the opportunity to connect with fellow alumni. Finalists will be announced in 2015 and winners will be invited to the UK to connect with government and industry leaders in a sector of their choice.

The PIE News [16]
September 25, 2014

Colleges Lose International Recruiting Licenses, While Students are Sent Home in Visa Crackdown

Over 50 UK private colleges have had their licenses allowing them to recruit international students revoked and almost 100 students have been expelled from the country as part of an ongoing Home Office investigation into exam and visa fraud.

Of the 57 colleges whose Tier 4 licenses were suspended in June after the Home Office uncovered evidence that students had used fraudulent exam results to obtain a Tier 4 study visa, 46 have lost their licenses. Meanwhile, a further 11 institutions had their licenses suspended in September and October.

In June, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said that analysis from ETS [17] and UK test centers identified more than 29,000 invalid TOEIC results and 19,000 questionable results. The latest figures published by the Home Office confirm that more than 90 students have been removed from the country as a result of the investigation, and more than 300 removal notices have been served. The Home Office will shortly be issuing all affected students from the visits with a letter outlining their options and a 60-day curtailment letter.

The PIE News [18]
October 14, 2014

Scottish Government Wants to Set Own Immigration and Post-Study Work Regulations

The Scottish government has called for more devolution to allow for the reintroduction of post-study work visas, with the country’s education secretary warning that immigration restrictions were cutting off the “lifeblood” of universities.

The Scottish National Party’s submission to the Smith Commission – the panel that will draw up recommendations on which additional powers should be passed to Scotland – says that the reinstatement of visas that allowed graduates to work in the UK for two years after completing their studies would enable Scotland to “attract talented individuals from around the world.”

These visas were abolished by the UK government in 2012, and the SNP’s proposals to the commission argue that this was at least partly responsible for a reduction in the number of international students coming to Scotland. An initiative called Fresh Talent allowed graduates to stay in Scotland and to seek work for two years after graduation between 2005 and 2008, and Mr. Russell said that Quebec – which has separate immigration procedures from the rest of Canada – proved that such a system was workable.

Times Higher Education [19]
October 16, 2014