WENR, March 2018: Europe
U.K.: Universities Face Dire Financial Situations
A recent report sponsored by the Guardian has found that several UK universities are struggling financially and could be on the verge of collapse. The dire financial situations come as a result of possible decreases in tuition fees, rising staff and pension expenses, and uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU. International students are an important source of revenue for UK universities, but Theresa May’s rhetoric in regards to visa policy leaves many potential international students wary of coming to the UK. The exit from the EU could also cause the loss of prestigious academics from outside the UK, which would significantly hinder the research budgets of UK institutions in the years to come.
U.K.: Higher Education Minister States U.K.’s Desire to Remain in EU Research Schemes
Higher education minister Sam Gyimah has indicated the U.K.’s desire to participate in EU research funding schemes, but also that the country will not do so “at any price.” The Wellcome Trust recently said the U.K. should be prepared to increase their contribution to remain a part of EU framework programs. The U.K. received an estimated 8.8 billion euros of research funding from the EU between 2007 and 2013, and contributed an estimated 5.4 billion euros.
Times Higher Education
Netherlands: Record High Number of Foreign Students in Dutch Technical Degrees
The number of foreign students pursuing engineering and technical degrees in the Netherlands has increased nearly 320 percent over the last 12 years, and is now at a record high. Some in the Dutch higher education sector worry that there is an over-representation of foreign students and fear that the accompanying proliferation of English taught courses may put local students at a disadvantage. Delft University of Technology has announced that they will no longer be accepting students from outside the European Economic Area into their computer science and engineering course due to the large number of applications they have received, a move the Dutch education ministry has previously stated would be illegal.
Ireland: Government Removes Visa Requirements on UAE Students
Ireland has lifted visa requirements on students from the United Arab Emirates, with aims to increase trade and business cooperation between the two countries. The strengthening of Ireland’s ties with the Middle East leaves many wondering what may follow. Two Irish universities recently visited Iran, and met with various representatives to get a better understanding of both the recruitment process and needs of the region. Ireland may further lift visa requirements in the region to tap into the large markets of potential international students in countries like Iran.
U.K.: Downtrend in Applications to U.K. Universities Continues
Applications to U.K. universities are down .9 percent from the same point in the admissions cycle last year, continuing an overall downtrend that has persisted over the last two years. The drop is driven by a decline in applications from within the U.K.; applications from other EU nations and outside the EU have risen 3.4 and 11.1 percent respectively. The drop in application numbers will likely foster competition among universities, who will be scrambling to reach recruitment targets.
Times Higher Education
Norway: Are Increases in Visa Fees a Back Door Tuition Hike?
The Norwegian government has countered claims that they are raising tuition fees through the back door by raising visa fees for international students, stating that the price level of the visa is under the authority of the minister of justice. Minister of Research and Higher Education Iselin Nybø says the government wishes to strengthen international collaboration through their existing programs, however, the number of international students coming from outside the European Economic Area has declined over the last two years, a change that coincides with the government’s shift in higher education strategy. Members of the Labour party have criticized Nybø’s statement, and claim that increasing visa fees is at odds with the goal of furthering internationalization in the region.
University World News
Sweden: Government Sets Out New Higher Education Internationalization Strategy
The Swedish government has laid out a new strategy for the internationalization of their higher education institutions. The strategy includes plans to foster further collaboration among Nordic higher education institutions, as well as help the region become more internationally competitive. The strategy also aims to increase the number of Swedish students studying abroad, increase higher education access to refugees and recent immigrants, and examine the use of English at Swedish Universities.
Times Higher Education
Greece: U.S. Program Provides Scholarships to Refugees in Greece
A U.S. program in Greece called Education Unites: From Campus to Campus is giving scholarships to refugees. Students can attend class at one of three U.S-affiliated partner institutions in Athens and Thessaloniki. Though only around ten percent of students in the program are taking courses that earn college credit, many others are enrolled in preparatory English courses, which prepare refugees for further education if they wish to pursue it.