WENR, September 2018: Americas

Canada: Canada’s Affordability Policies Are Worth a Good Long Look

Canada’s high-tuition/high-aid system has a number of benefits that make the country stand-out – not just versus countries with more regressive assistance like the U.S., but versus countries with similar systems. In fact, the current amount of “non-loan” aid available to domestic students – in the form of grants, tax credits, and scholarships – is currently roughly equivalent to the annual amount of tuition universities are taking in. This system naturally has a positive effect on the amount of student debt that is carried. A notable weakness in the system is that it is hard to sustain long periods of high-aid, but the political will in Canada appears committed to affordable higher education for its citizens.

Inside Higher Ed
September 8

Latin America: Could Latin American universities do better in rankings?

University rankings have an enormous impact on prestige and recognition, naturally, but can also impact the ability of the university to attract and keep talented faculty, maintain appropriate enrollment, and ultimately fund necessary programs. Latin America has a shortage of universities showing in the international rankings, and in order to improve their position (under current modeling) would need to put much more emphasis on original research and consider adding more English-language coursework, among other potential remedies. In the end, though, it may be more useful for the rankings to be reconstructed using measurements that more accurately reflect the benefit brought to the students and the community.

University World News
September 7

Canada: Saudi students file for asylum in Canada as deadline to return home passes

At least 20 Saudi students have filed for political asylum with the Canadian government, rather than acquiesce to the Kingdom’s request that they leave Canada. Earlier this summer Saudi Arabia announced that all Saudi students would be recalled from Canada, in response to some Canadian officials’ remarks about about the jailing of Saudi activists. Around 8000 students were initially impacted, although around 1000 students in medical fields have been temporarily exempted from the action.

September 1

U.S.: As Students Head to Campus, Colleges Fear International Student Decline

The steady and strong growth of international enrollments over the past decade brought a welcome increase in revenues – revenues that were immediately earmarked into a variety of much needed programs and improvements. The current declines of 3% last year, and an estimated 7% this year are having the reverse effect on many campuses as programs are reduced or removed. The combined rollback of Saudi and Brazilian scholarships and rise of alternative international destinations like Australia and Canada are often cited as causes of the decline, as well as the current GOP administrations’ aggressive policies towards visas.

PEW Stateline
August 27

U.S.: America’s Education ‘Deserts’ Show Limits of Relaxing Regulations on Colleges

Most Americans choose a college within 15 miles of their home. This drastically limits the practical choice of higher education. The problem is even more stark for the 11 million Americans  who are more than an hour from “a public college that accepts at least 30 percent of applicants.” The DeVos proposals to repeal Obama-era regulations forcing for-profit universities to show their effect on the earning power of graduates, and replace them with a consumer grading mechanism through the College Scorecard website will not be of much help to those students who find their choice further restricted by geography.

New York Times
August 14

U.S.: Trump bump? Student numbers rise at U.S. women’s colleges

Many women’s colleges have been experiencing rising enrollment numbers since 2016. Colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, and Barnard College have been showing strong “yield gain” numbers, which indicate that more applicants are seeking out the colleges specifically. Many administrators are attributing the growth in part to the colleges’ commitments to social justice and equality in the current socio-political climate.

Times Higher Education
August 13

Posted in Americas, Regional News Summaries