WENR, December 2016: Europe

Sweden and Germany: Most Affordable European Study Destinations

Sweden and Germany are Europe’s most affordable academic destinations, according to analysis by an international payment services company. The analysis takes into account tuition, currency exchange rates, and cost of living. Both Germany and Scandinavia offer free tuition and a high number of English language courses. There are also other grants available for E.U. citizens looking to study in Scandinavia to further bring down costs.

November 30

Wales: First to Offer Cost of Living Support to All Students

Wales will be the only country in Europe to provide cost-of-living assistance for all students enrolled in higher education. The program is being implemented based on recent recommendations of a commission led by the vice chancellor of the University of Aberdeen. The paper called for public subsidies to offset cost of living expenses rather than tuition. The new program addresses income-contingent loans, maintenance grants accessible to all students living in Wales, and further maintenance grants available to lower income students. All students, including part-time and postgraduate-level students, will be affected.

Times Higher Education
November 24

U.K.: Business Schools Report Brexit-Related No-Shows for New Academic Year

One in six business schools in the U.K. have reported seeing an increase in the number of students not showing up at the start of the academic year. Some schools saw increases as high as 20 percent, despite increases in application numbers last spring. Some university officials have speculated that students who applied for admission prior to the Brexit referendum may have opted out due to a perceived unwelcoming cultural and political climate.

Times Higher Education
November 17

Europe: Share of Students from Africa Declines

Europe is still the primary study destination for African students. However, analysis by Campus France indicates that, as a study destination, the region is quickly losing ground to other African countries and to institutions in the Middle East, where grants often cover African students’ costs. Campus France examined data as of 2013. At that time, African students made up about 10.5 percent of the worldwide international student body; Sub-Saharan Africa student mobility rate of 3.5 percent is twice as high as the world average. African student mobility to North America remained stable at 12.6 percent.

University World News
November 17

Scotland: Transnational Partnerships Viewed as Way to Limit Brexit Vote’s Potential to Damage Academia

To mitigate potential negative effects of the Brexit, some Scottish universities are seeking to establish international partnerships in countries like Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., and Canada. Transnational branch campuses in other European countries and the increased use of online courses may also help to strengthen the international standing of Scottish institutions, say observers. Scottish universities and officials are also looking for ways to mitigate the possible impact on research funding from the E.U., in the wake of anecdotal reports that U.K.  academics were being removed from funding bids for E.U. research projects and being asked to step down from the lead role in such bids.

Herald Scotland
November 16

Scotland: New Passport Plan Aimed at Retaining Free Movement with E.U.

Scottish officials are looking at a new plan designed by academics to maintain free movement between Scotland and the rest of the E.U. The plan involves tailored passports that would allow Scots to work in the rest of Europe, even if Britain manages to decouple itself from the European Union. Whether the proposed plan would be temporary (aimed at easing the shock that the Brexit could have on Scotland)  or permanent (intended to maintain free movement until Scotland can bring another referendum to rejoin the E.U.) remains unclear.

Greenock Telegraph
November 16

U.K.: Oxford University to Offer MOOC

Oxford University has announced that it will be offering its first “massive open online course” (MOOC). The course will be an economics course, delivered through the online platform edX, developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. MOOC courses are hailed by some for increasing both the accessibility and affordability of higher education, and met with skepticism by others, who are concerned with low completion rates and disengagement with students. The offering of the new Oxford University MOOC is seen as increasing the standing of the MOOC concept as a whole.

November 15

U.K.: Immigration Stance May Further Depress Indian Student Numbers

U.K. Prime Minister Teresa May has taken a hard line on foreign students seeking to remain in the U.K. to work. The stance threatens to further erode the share of globally mobile Indian students who enroll in the U.K.’s higher education sector.  Numbers are already depressed, having fallen from around 40,000 in 2010-11 to 18,320 in 2014-15. Emerging global education hubs closer to home, particularly in China and Malaysia, may absorb more students, especially given Indian students’ tendency to view higher education as a pathway to employment.

University World News
November 11

E.U.: Research Framework to Focus on Impact

The European Commissioner for research, science and innovation says the E.U.’s next framework program for European research funding needs to have an increased focus on impact, arguing that the commission has a responsibility to communicate and educate both the public and the finance ministers about the outcome of their work. Critics worry that determining future university funding through retrospective analysis of research impact can be expensive, difficult, and damaging to both universities and future research proposals, as impact can take a long time to materialize.

Times Higher Education
November 10

Ireland: Institutes of Technology Threatened by Dire Budget Deficits

Budget shortfalls and limited resources are threatening the futures of up to ten of Ireland’s fourteen institutes of technology. Concerns arose following a recent review of the sector by the Higher Education Authority (HEA). Institutes of technology have seen large budget deficits due to a combination of declining state grants and increasing student numbers, and are left with fewer mitigating tools than their university and college counterparts. The HEA has laid out an action plan aimed to address issues identified in the report and remedy the situation.

Irish Times
November 4


Posted in Europe, Regional News Summaries