WENR, March 2016: Europe

Austrian universities seek to streamline admissions for refugees

As masses of people cross the Austrian border seeking asylum in other European countries, the country has struggled to adapt. The government recently imposed a cap on refugee numbers, accepting just 80 a day. The move comes in defiance of the European Commission and international law. A number of Austrian universities, however, have taken a different tack, seeking to streamline admissions for non-degree-seeking refugees. The program does not address academic recognition nor credit transfers, but it may provide refugees with documents that help them qualify for future studies.

Inside Higher Ed [1]
February 28, 2016

Application window for Dutch residence permits extended

New rules enable graduates of Dutch or top international institutions to apply for residence permits within three years of graduation rather than one. Officials say that change will enable graduates to more readily find work in the Netherlands. Work rules have a major impact on international students’ interest in enrolling in any given country’s higher ed institutions.

The PIE News [2]
February 26, 2016

U.K. government scrutinizes universities’ use of agents

The U.K. government is reviewing universities’ use of overseas recruitment agents. Roughly one third of international students in the U.K. come to universities through agents. U.K. institutions spent more than $US 126 million (£89 million) on commission payments in 2013-14, according to reporting by the Times Higher Education. Fraud in the form of forged documents or qualifications is relatively common. The move comes amid concerns about a notable decline in non-EU university enrollments.

Times Higher Education [3]
February 25, 2016

Northern Europe’s higher ed sector hit by budget cuts

Long immune to the wave of budget cuts that have affected institutions around the globe, universities across Northern Europe are finally feeling the financial pinch. Danish universities will see budget reductions of two percent for each of the next four years. In Finland, where the economy is reeling from both Nokia’s failure and Russian political and economic turmoil, cuts to the higher education budget will total 13 percent by 2020.

Inside Higher Ed [4]
February 22, 2016

Southern German state offers refugees study and career guidance

The German state of Baden-Württemberg has launched a cross-sector initiative to provide study and vocational guidance for refugees. The state government, universities, industry, and the Federal Employment Agency say education and skills training are key to refugees’ long-term social integration. Baden-Württemberg received almost 40,000 refugees in November 2015; however many did not register, instead continuing on to other locations. The state registered 17,307 refugees in December. Germany as a whole is host to just over a million refugees. Syrians accounted for about half of the total number in November and December.

University World News [5]
February 19, 2016

Business students demand refund after being told to leave U.K.

International business students distraught by their pending expulsion from the U.K. are asking the London School of Business and Finance to cover all the expenses they incurred while in attendance. More than 10 percent of students accepted by the college had their visas refused – cause for automatic suspension of the institution’s license to teach non-EU students. At the end of March, some 350 non-EU students must leave the U.K. mid-semester, whether or not their visas were approved.

BBC [6]
February 19, 2016

New report: End of work visa program leads to loss of international students, millions of dollars

The Scottish economy has lost more than $US355m (£250m) from eradication of the U.K.’s two-year, post-study work visa in 2012. Loss of the Tier 1 visa program has led to an estimated loss of 5,400 international students over a three year period. In that same period, growth in international student numbers has hovered at two percent annually, down from six percent in the three years prior. Drops in the number of incoming students from India and Nigeria, two of Scotland’s key source markets, are especially costly.

The PIE NEWS [7]
February 11, 2016

Weak ruble could drive international interest in Russian higher ed

A sharp devaluation of the ruble against U.K. and U.S. currencies could lead to a spike in the number of international students bound for Russia, say the nation’s higher ed leaders. In 2015 the number of foreign students in Russian universities reached 212,000, a 20 percent increase over the 2014 population. The Russian Ministry of Education and Science predicts 30 to 35 percent growth in 2016. Significant increases have come from Asia-Pacific countries, in particular China and South Korea.

University World News [8]
February 10, 2016

Erasmus+ grants spark mobility within the E.U. higher ed sector

The European Union’s Erasmus+ program offered approximately 650,000 individual mobility grants in 2014, the program’s first year. Distributions equaled just over $US2.2 billion (EU $2 billion.) Sixty-nine percent of the funds supported some 400,000 higher education and vocational student exchanges. The program also supports the development of teaching and research on European integration. In 2016, $US14 billion (€13 million) will go toward projects to address social inclusion of migrants and other disadvantaged social groups.

Times Higher Education [9]
February 6, 2016

Budget cuts spur loss of 500 positions at the University of Copenhagen

The University of Copenhagen will cut more than seven percent of its total staff in response to recent government funding cuts. Some 500 teachers, researchers, administrators, and service staff are expected to lose their jobs. The university’s medical science and some language programs are also at risk. As an additional cost savings measure, the university also plans to lower Ph.D. admissions by 10 percent.

Inside Higher Ed [10]
February 5, 2016

With Brexit looming, rising E.U. presence at U.K. institutions is at risk

As the U.K. debates continued participation in the European Union, some U.K. institutions say E.U. enrollments are vital to their health. In some cases, active recruitment led to E.U. student increases as high as 40 percent. Supporters of increased U.K. enrollment say the U.K. derives financial , political and academic benefits from increased student mobility within the E.U., especially in an era of declining domestic enrollments. Critics charge that graduates who leave the U.K. often default on loan payments. British Prime Minister David Cameron recently set June 23rd as the date for the Brexit referendum.

Times Higher Education [11]
February 4, 2016

Map shows tertiary-level English language programs worldwide

A Dutch company has mapped 8,000 higher ed courses taught in English. Universities implement English language courses as a way to attract the five million students who comprise the international education market. The company which created the map, StudyPortals, found that more than three quarters of the 1,000 universities at the top of international rankings offer at least one or more degrees taught entirely in English. StudyPortals pulled the information from a database of information of 100,000 bachelor and masters’ degrees at over 2,100 universities.

BBC News [12]
February 3, 2016