WENR, September 2016: Europe

U.K.: Research Capacity in Question Post-Brexit

Brexit’s impact on the research capacity of Britain’s universities has caused many institutions to consider possible ways to reform partnerships within the E.U., amid a political climate that discourages movement between the U.K. and E.U. Some feel the U.K. should seek associated country status, though this might prove difficult, as the E.U. is likely to demand other conditions the new U.K. government will not approve of. Currently more options, like the U.K. government replacing lost funding, are being discussed.

Times Higher Education [1]
August 25

U.K.: International Student Visa Applications Decline

In the wake of the June vote to leave the European Union, the U.K. is seeing a drop in the number of visa applications among students from around the world. The Office for National Statistics found a two percent drop in the number of visa applications for non-E.U. students, a sharp decline in comparison to a .2 percent rise the year before. These changes are in part due to a tightening of restrictions on incoming students and workers  under the new administration. Despite the pleas of some universities, the new U.K. government has not been receptive to requests to remove international students from the national net migration target. The drop in visa applications likely foreshadows a drop in international enrollments.

Times Higher Education
August 25

Russia: New Regulations Allow Private Investors to Buy Access to Universities

New regulations, set to go into effect in early 2017, will allow investors and private businesses to make donations in return for placing students at Russian universities. Privately funded students will be exempt from traditional admission requirements such as sitting for the national entrance exam. The arrangement is a significant shift for a rigid higher education sector that has traditionally worked closely with the state to set quotas for student enrollment based on projected employment needs. Private donations can make up no more than 10 percent of a university’s budget.

University World News
August 26

Germany: Turkish Crackdown Has Ripple Effect on German Research

Turmoil in Turkey’s higher education sector is prompting concern from Germany, where cross-border institutional relationships focused on credit transfer, and exchanges of students, instructors, and researchers are common. The Turkish government suspended 5,000 personnel and shut down 15 universities and following a coup attempt in July; many Turkish students also had their travel rights revoked. The upheaval has also affected joint research programs, especially in Lower Saxony,  where many programs have been suspended after the closure of Turkish partner universities.

University World News
August 26

U.K.: Pilot of ‘Super Priority’ Student Visa Process Launched in China

Under a new pilot program U.K. Visas and Immigration will process visa applications for prospective students from China within 24 hours of application — for a stiff fee. The “super priority” visa pilot will last 10 weeks. Nationwide, the agency expects to process up to 800 applications each day; high traffic centers in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou will be staffed to manage 100 super-priority appointments a day.

The PIE News [2]
August 23

Germany: Proposed Burka Ban Would Apply to University Students

The influx of more than a million migrants, many fleeing conflict in Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria has led to tension and fear across Germany, especially in the wake of recent terror attacks. That’s the context in which Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called for a ban on full face veils in colleges, schools, courts, and other venues. The highly controversial measure has not been fully rejected by Prime Minister Angela Merkel, who has noted that wearing a burka would diminish significantly the possibility of full integration into German society.

The New York Times
August 19

U.K.: Cost-Benefit Ratio of For-Profit Higher Ed Tilted in the Wrong Direction in Six Countries

To help the British Parliament evaluate the potential consequences of major higher education reforms, the Centre for Global Higher Education issued a report on the private and for-profit higher education sectors in six countries: Australia, Chile, Germany, Japan, Poland, and the U.S. The report oiffers an unfavorable take on the sector, noting that although for-profits have, in all six countries, expanded access to both a greater number and wider range of tertiary students, the benefits, in terms of cost, quality, and long-term earning capacity, remain unclear at best.

Inside Higher Ed
August 16

U.K.: International Students’ Reaction to Brexit? Not Good

In case anyone was wondering: June’s E.U. referendum is likely to have a negative impact on international enrollments in the U.K. A recent survey of 1,014 potential international students found that 30 percent were “not likely” to come to the U.K. in the wake of the Brexit vote. Six per cent said they would definitely not come. Some 125,000 non-U.K. E.U. nationals are estimated to be enrolled at institutions across the U.K.

The Varsity [3]
August 5

Netherlands: 38 Percent of Grads Remain for at Least Five Years

A report by EP-Nuffic says that among graduates of the 2008/2009 cohort of international students, the five-year retention rate is 38 percent. Of that cohort, 71 percent work in the Netherlands – testament to the success of a national campaign focused on attracting skilled foreign workers. Enrollments of international students in the Netherlands have risen markedly in recent years, reaching almost 90,000 in 2014/15 – up significantly from 70,389 a year earlier. The Dutch 38 percent retention rate is higher than the global average of 25 percent noted by the OECD

The PIE News [4]
August 5

Ireland: Ireland Moves to Poach Research Talent from Britain in Wake of Brexit

In early August, the  Irish Research Council (IRC) published a double-page ad in the UK-based, Times Higher Education. The goal? To promote Ireland “as an open and innovative destination for research of all kinds.” The stakes are high: Ireland could attract a significant portion of the USD $1.33 billion in E.U. research grant funding that now flows to the U.K.’s prestigious research institutions. Post Brexit, Ireland will be in a unique position as the only E.U. English-language destination for E.U. researchers.

The Independent
August 4

U.K.: Dozens of Fake Transnational Universities Shuttered

Higher Education Degree Datacheck (HEDD), a U.K.-based credential verification service, has helped to shut down 32 fraudulent institutions, 25 of them overseas, in the past year. Law enforcement and trading standards agencies are in the midst of an additional 30 investigations based on HEDD information. Since 2011, 220 bogus U.K. universities have been identified; 80 percent are no longer active. Experts say proposed U.K. higher education reforms could amplify the problem.

The Guardian
August 2

Germany: International Enrollments on the Rise; Chinese Numbers Top 30,000

The number of international students in Germany now totals 321,569, making up 12 percent the country’s student body, according to the latest data from the German Centre for Research on Higher Education and Science Studies (DZHW) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The organizations also reported that, for the first time ever, India beat out  Russia as Germany’s second leading source of international students. Much of the growth was at the master’s level.

The PIE News
August 1