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UK Tier 4 visa issuance up 7%, with promising growth in South Asia

The PIE News - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 08:02

In the year ending March 2018, the UK has granted 223,839 Tier 4 visas, UK Home Office statistics show. This is an increase of 7% over the previous year.

More than half of all study-related visas have been granted to students from three nationalities – China, India and the US – with Chinese visas at 88,675, taking up 40% of the total.

“Decreases from some countries, including Nigeria and Malaysia… are concerning”

The biggest risers since the year ending in March 2018 were China and India, with increases of 15% and 30% respectively.

Other countries also showed growth. For example, 4% more students from the US obtained a visa to study in the UK, while Pakistan shows an 18% increase in visa grants.

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Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia saw modest decreases – down 8% and 5% respectively – while Indonesian visa grants experienced a steeper decline at -28%.

Short-term study visas, which allow individuals to study in the UK for 6 months (or 11 if they are enrolled in an English language course), are not included in the Tier 4 stats but have also increased in the past year.

Although the numbers are lower, with 108,780 visas granted in the year to March 2018, the growth is even steeper in this area – indicating the popularity of ELT courses and the recovery English UK had boasted in May.

In total, 21% more short-term study visa were issued compared to the year to March 2017.

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The growth from Pakistan and India is in line with an upward trend across the whole region, the British Council noted in a statement.

The Council defines the latest Home Office figures “encouraging news” for the South Asia region, where an increase in visa grants is seen across all major markets, a sign of a revival in interest for UK education in the region.

Beyond India and Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka show signs of growth.

Bangladesh continues to send a large number of international students abroad as in-country higher education opportunities can’t meet the local demand, British Council regional marketing and communications manager South Asia Aatreyee Guha Thakurta explained in the release.

In Sri Lanka instead, TNE market continues to thrive, but there are signs that student international mobility is rising as well.

The figures need to be taken with a pinch of salt as the Tier 4 visas issued in the first quarter account for a small proportion of the annual total, the British Council warned, and changes in visa rules can affect the rate of growth through the year.

A spokesperson for UUKi told The PIE News that while it’s positive that numbers of HEI-sponsored Tier 4 applicants are rising – particularly from India – it does not always equate to enrolment increases.

“It is important to remember that these are just application figures and rises in the past have not always equated to increases in actual enrolments.

“There are also continued decreases from some countries, including Nigeria and Malaysia, and these are concerning,” the spokesperson added.

Additionally, the recently announced changes in UK student visa regulations, which will make it easier for students from certain countries to obtain student visas – but exclude India – could potentially impact on future figures.

The post UK Tier 4 visa issuance up 7%, with promising growth in South Asia appeared first on The PIE News.

Latin America searches for redemption on the football pitch

Economist, North America - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 07:48

THIS football World Cup is barely a week old, but already Latin America has stolen the limelight. There have been memorable performances on the pitch: Mexico’s humbling of Germany, Peru outplaying Denmark but contriving to lose, flashes of magic from Brazil and three goals for Diego Costa, Spain’s Brazilian-born striker. There have been shocks, too, such as Argentina’s draw with Iceland and a battling ten-man Colombia losing to Japan. But more than the players, it is the fans who have caught the eye.

Multitudes of Latin Americans have packed the stadiums in deepest Russia as if they were attending home games. According to FIFA, the organisers, five of the seven countries that (after Russia itself) snapped up most tickets in advance were Latin American. They were Brazil (73,000), Colombia (65,000), Mexico (60,000), Argentina (54,000) and Peru (44,000). Many of the fans from the United States (89,000), too, are Latinos who may support their countries of origin, and to them should be added Latino...

Chronicle of Higher Education: Not Just for Video Games: Virtual Reality Joins the Classroom

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One World by the Sea returns in 2018

The PIE News - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 05:56

The UK south coast’s international education association, the International Education Forum, is organising the second One World By The Sea festival in October to celebrate cultural diversity in the county of Dorset.

The free festival aims to celebrate the cultural diversity of Bournemouth and Poole’s local community and to showcase the area as one which welcomes international students. It will incorporate everything from music, food and dance, to film, fashion and education.

“The festival provides an opportunity to raise the profile of Bournemouth and Poole as an education destination”

Members of IEF include accredited language schools, an independent boarding school, Bournemouth University and Bournemouth University International College, among others.

The association is promising this year’s event will be bigger and better and is hoping to attract 10,000 people – up from 6,000 in 2017.

“We are extending our range of venues to include a One World: Many Voices music night in an area of Bournemouth where several language schools are based,” said Lauren Cooper, projects supervisor at Anglo-Continental, one of the organisers of the event.

“We’re also planning an afternoon of pop-up international entertainment and activities along Poole High Street.”

Cooper said that it is difficult to make a direct connection between the festival and student recruitment.

“The festival provides an opportunity to raise the profile of Bournemouth and Poole as an education destination which is welcoming to international students,” she explained.

“It also gives IEF members effective marketing collateral to illustrate this message.”

Working alongside the Council and local business groups, the importance of international students to the local economy will continue to be recognised and factored into high-level decision-making, Cooper added.

International students contribute close to £300 million per year to the area’s economy according to statistics provided by the IEF, and Bournemouth and the coastal town of Poole are the number one choices for international students outside of London.

One World By The Sea 2018 will run across various venues in Bournemouth and Poole between October 11-13.

Anyone who would like to support the Festival can find more information here

The post One World by the Sea returns in 2018 appeared first on The PIE News.

LJMU completes Shanghai summer school

The PIE News - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 05:11

Liverpool John Moores University hosted a two-week overseas summer school program with five universities in Shanghai, which has been called one of the largest outbound projects being undertaken by a UK university.

During the two week program, eighty-five students worked on projects in collaboration with Chinese students and showcased their learning outcome on the ‘Liverpool in Shanghai Day’ event.

“We wish to build a two-way relationship with students and academics”

“We hope this will be the first of many student opportunities in China.” spokesperson form LJMU says.

Five Shanghai universities participating in the project including University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, Changshu Institute of Technology, Shanghai University of Engineering Science, Shanghai Normal University and Jaixing University.

On top of regular classes with partner universities, each school worked on themed project including a joint fashion show, a short film production competition, and a Chinese medication program. The university report student’s feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“The best part of the trip for me was representing the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, by talking to people from different cultures and working towards a common goal of achieving a collaborative formula student car,” participant says.

LJMU says many of the students had never visit China before, but after experiencing Shanghai and learning more about Chinese culture, some are even considering living and working in China after graduation.

With various fully-funded summer school programs offered by LJMU, the HEI aims to engage 10% of undergraduates in an international experience during their studies. The sponsorship includes university funded summer schools to Lima and Sharjah, travel bursaries for students studying overseas in the US and a Go-Global fund which gives students a bursary of up to £1500 to undertake an overseas project.

It is expected that LJMU will run international summer schools in both Sharjah, UAE, and Lima, Peru this year, alongside dedicated business summer schools in New York and Zaragoza, Spain.

“We wish to build a two-way relationship with students and academics from these partners, letting our students not only experience a new academic environment, but a new culture too.” Sarah Beresford, Director of International Relations at LJMU says.

The post LJMU completes Shanghai summer school appeared first on The PIE News.

Nordic plan takes steps to automatic recognition

The PIE News - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 04:29

The Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education has launched an automatic qualification recognition service for holders of degrees issued from universities in Nordic countries who are seeking to study in Norway.

Holders of bachelor’s, master’s and PhD degrees issued from universities in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland will be able to download a standardised recognition statement to show their equivalent Norwegian qualification.

“Similar initiatives like the one from NOKUT can be expected to be seen in other Nordic countries”

The document will be available to the applicant immediately to use in university applications, simplifying the process, according to NOKUT director general Terje Mørland.

“For higher education institutions and employers, NOKUT’s automatic recognition of Nordic higher education will be an additional tool that can help simplify the evaluation of foreign degrees,” Mørland said.

For NOKUT director of foreign education Stig Arne Skjerven, working with Nordic countries is a natural first step towards the aim of automatic recognition across Europe.

“Nordic countries have cooperated closely for many years in education and research. [They] have longstanding agreements that give Nordic applicants access to schools and higher education on the same terms as domestic applicants,” he said.

“NOKUT aims to offer automatic recognition for more countries in the European Higher Education Area,” Skjerven added.

“Keeping in mind how highly this is prioritised in European educational cooperation, we believe that NOKUT’s automatic recognition may serve as a model for other countries.”

Education ministers from Nordic countries signed the Revised Reykjavik Declaration in 2016 and will appoint a Nordic expert group to report to the Nordic Council of Ministers on ways to achieve further automatic recognition, according to Skjerven.

“Similar initiatives like the one from NOKUT can be expected to be seen in other Nordic countries as a follow-up to the conclusions of this expert group,” he said.

In 2015, ministers of education from the European Higher Education Area’s 48 countries adopted a goal of automatic recognition of comparable qualifications by 2020.

NOKUT said it plans to introduce automatic recognition of comparable degrees from countries with similar Bologna-structures in the European Higher Education Area within the next year.

However, Skjerven highlighted that although several countries have initiatives under way, all EHEA Countries meeting the goal by 2020 is not realistic.

“The need to work on the issue of automatic recognition [has been] further stressed in both the Paris Communique of May 2018 and the European Commission’s Council Proposal on mutual automatic recognition in the European Education Area by 2025 of May 2018,” Skjerven stated.

He expects both initiatives to provide extra energy into the processes of establishing more automatic recognition in the EHEA in the next few years.

In 2016, NOKUT piloted a Qualifications Passport for Refugees.

The post Nordic plan takes steps to automatic recognition appeared first on The PIE News.

More college students attending summer classes thanks to yearlong Pell Grants

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 00:00

For many college students, summer is a time to pursue internships, work full-time or otherwise take a break from classes. Not so this year for many students at Louisiana community colleges.

The state’s system of two-year institutions has seen a 10 percent increase in enrollment over this time last summer and a 17 percent increase in credit hours pursued, said Monty Sullivan, president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. He attributes that jump to the first full summer of year-round Pell Grants since Congress restored the aid last year.

“That just doesn’t happen without some type of change in policy or resources that spurs it,” Sullivan said. “There’s no question in my mind that it is directly related back to the year-round Pell issue.”

With summer sessions just beginning on college campuses, many institutions are seeing an uptick in enrollment attributed in part to year-round Pell Grants. Because it's still early in the summer and many institutions have yet to determine their final numbers, there are no good estimates of how much attendance has increased across the country. But updates from a selection of colleges provide anecdotal evidence at least that the policy change is having a real impact at the campus level.

The total student head count at the Louisiana community college system is up to more than 18,000 for this summer, and those students are pursuing more than 104,200 credit hours.

Some individual campuses are seeing especially large increases. At Northshore Technical Community College, in the eastern part of Louisiana, credit hour enrollment is up 42 percent over all. And at Louisiana Delta Community College, in Monroe, students have enrolled in 45 percent more credit hours over last summer, Sullivan said.

Those colleges are seeing the early payoffs of a decision by Congress to restore year-round Pell Grants in a budget deal last year after eliminating the grant aid in 2011. Students attending summer classes previously could only use whatever grant aid they had not used in the fall and spring semesters. The change allowed Pell recipients access to the full grant amount for a typical semester.

Sullivan said the additional grant aid isn’t just making summer classes more accessible for students. It’s also helping them progress more quickly toward their degrees. The share of full-time students at the Louisiana two-year system has jumped from 52 percent last year to nearly 60 percent this summer.

“In my estimation, the biggest deterrent to completion is time,” Sullivan said. “What enrolling in the summer does is it narrows the amount of time to a credential.”

The bump in attendance for summer classes may also counteract, however slightly, a recent trend of declining enrollment at community colleges. (See related article, also published today, here.) A recent Inside Higher Ed survey of presidents of two-year institutions found that enrollment issues were a major concern among respondents; 57 percent said enrollment was down at their colleges over the past three years.

The summer Pell Grants first became available last year when classes were already under way on many campuses. Justin Draeger, president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said colleges last year had little guidance or time to process the new grant aid.

The rollout in the second year of summer Pell largely appears to have gone smoothly, he said. The long-term effects of the new policy will take time to sort out, though.

“It could mean more enrollment over the summer. It could mean less loan debt,” Draeger said. “There were two policy objectives here.”

The effect of year-round Pell was more muted in New York, where the City University of New York system projects a modest increase in summer enrollment. Frank Sobrino, a CUNY spokesman, said it’s still early to attribute that growth to any specific factors.

But early numbers from areas where state support is less generous, and where students rely more heavily on federal aid, show the policy change paying big dividends.

At Wallace State Community College, in Hanceville, Ala., the number of students receiving Pell Grants in the summer jumped 58 percent to 1,144 this year. The jump in total credit hours students are pursuing was even higher -- from about 5,900 in 2017 to more than 10,200 this summer.

College officials said that’s evidence that students aren’t just taking advantage of year-round Pell, they are also enrolling with greater intensity, meaning they are more likely to complete a degree or certificate faster.

At Valencia College, a two-year institution in Orlando, Fla., officials say they have offered Pell Grants to 9,074 students this summer compared to 6,414 in the previous year. Not all of those students will end up taking summer classes, but the policy change will give 2,500 more students the chance to continue course work this year, said Linda Beaty, a spokeswoman for Valencia.

The typical Valencia student is not enrolled full-time, so many would use the grant aid left over from the fall and spring semesters to pay for summer courses. If they didn’t have any Pell funds remaining, many would pay for summer tuition out of their own pockets.

“With this change, students can take classes year-round using Pell funds and move quickly toward graduation without worrying about running out of Pell funds,” Beaty said.

Restoring year-round Pell Grants was a critical step because it aligned financial aid policy with how students are actually attending college, said Kim Cook, executive director of the National College Access Network.

Work or family responsibilities often keep students from taking more than 12 credit hours in a given semester, she said, making graduation in four years unrealistic without summer classes. Enrolling in summer classes allows students to stay on track to earning 30 credits a year and finishing their degree earlier.

"That’s particularly important to us because we know the importance of being continuously enrolled and the impact that has on on-time completion," she said.

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Journal article that was withdrawn last year amid intense debate is republished by the National Association of Scholars

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 00:00

Eight months after it was withdrawn from Third World Quarterly amid threats to its author and the journal's editor and questions about why it was published in the first place, an article arguing in favor of colonialism has been published again.

The National Association of Scholars said this month that Bruce Gilley’s “The Case for Colonialism” deserves a permanent place in the scholarly record, and so it appears in the summer issue of its journal, Academic Questions

“The efforts to censor [Gilley’s] article and the attacks on him personally were outrageous,” Peter Wood, NAS’s president, said in his announcement. “Gilley published a well-reasoned and humane perspective on the political and economic challenges that face many Third World nations. Anyone who actually reads the article will see his thoughtful tone and good will.”

The latter part of Wood’s statement is debatable. Thousands of scholars called for the retraction of the Gilley’s piece when it was published in September, with many calling it poor scholarship, or clickbait. Critics generally said that Gilley’s pitch for modified colonialism for economically struggling nations who agreed to it completely ignored the historical ills and racism of the system.

Others criticized Third World Quarterly for ever letting the piece see the light of day, especially after members of the journal's editorial board said that guest editors declined to consider it as an article and that at least one reviewer had rejected it even as an opinion-style essay. The journal’s then editor, Shahid Qadir, defended his decision, saying that the piece was published not as a typical journal article but rather in the journal’s “Viewpoints” section.

The journal continued to push back against criticism, even after Gilley apologized for what harm the piece had caused and called for its withdrawal. Eventually, however, Third World Quarterly said it was scrubbing the piece from its website due to physical threats against Qadir.

‘How the Hate Mob Tried to Silence Me’

That was in October. In December, Gilley, an associate professor of political science at Portland State University, published an essay in Standpoint magazine called “How the Hate Mob Tried to Silence Me.” In it, he explained that he’d been inspired to challenge academe's anticolonial consensus by none other than the late Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, while reading his book There Was a Country.

“I was bowled over,” Gilley wrote of reading Achebe. “As I read further, Achebe kept coming back to the British period [in Nigeria] with fonder memories and greater praise. His ‘articulation of the unsayable,’ as a Malawian scholar put it, was astounding coming from a man with totemic status in anti-colonial ideology.” (Of course, many literary critics view Achebe's novels as fundamentally anticolonial.)

In 2016, Gilley published “Chinua Achebe on the Positive Legacies of Colonialism” in African Affairs. He “braced for a storm,” but it never came, said.

Not so with “The Case for Colonialism,” which Gilley said he wrote to explore how the benefits of colonialism might be revived without its obvious pitfalls.

With hate mail and harsh criticism coming from within academe and out, he said, he lost his “confidence,” apologized on his website and asked the journal to withdraw the piece.

“This was an act of self-censorship,” he wrote in Standpoint. “It is what grovelling teachers did in the [Chinese] Cultural Revolution, hurriedly writing obsequious letters of contrition and hoping to survive.”

“Fortunately,” however, he continued, Taylor & Francis, the journal’s publisher, is party to Britain’s Committee on Publication Ethics that prevents retraction for political reasons. “I was grateful when they saved me from self-censoring,” Gilley added. “As a scholar of China, my teaching of the Cultural Revolution will never be the same. Taking my family out of Portland and over the Cascade Mountains for a holiday in central Oregon, I felt like Captain von Trapp leading his family out of fascist Austria into Switzerland.”

Flipping that analogy, Gilley also wrote, “Predictably, the critics decided that I was a racist and white supremacist. This has become something of a compliment, as it was a compliment for a moderate liberal to be labeled a ‘commie’ by a fanatic of the right during the Cold War.”

In today’s coded language, he added, “a white supremacist is someone who believes that what [V.S.] Naipaul called the ‘universal civilization currently led by the West’ is the cornerstone of global human flourishing. Count me in. Also count in hundreds of public intellectuals in the Third World who have long espoused a closer integration with the West as the best pathway to modernity.”

Gilley said the closed-minded response to his piece was embodied by Vijay Prashad, a professor of international studies at Trinity College, who, among others, resigned from Third World Quarterly’s editorial board over the incident. Gilley noted that weeks before his essay appeared, Prashad argued in Third World Quarterly that the term "imperialism" ought to be revived to describe the West's interactions with the Third World. (It should be noted that many scholars object to the term "Third World" and prefer other terms, such as the Global South).

“In a strange way, then, ‘The Case for Colonialism’ has unintentionally became a case for the recolonization of the West by its own liberal traditions,” Gilley said. “The pluralism, free inquiry and reasoned debate on which Western civilization is built face fanaticisms from both the left and right. The non-totalitarian center is shrinking. A very dark place indeed.”

Taking a Stand for Colonialism?

Gilley referred requests for comment about the republication of the piece to his earlier essay about the experience. Prashad,  did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The National Association of Scholars describes itself as an organization that upholds the "standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth and promotes virtuous citizenship." But it isn't apolitical. It is suspicious of what it has called the "New Left's" influence on academe, including in service learning initiatives that, in its view, are replacing "traditional" civics. Does it risk further politicization in publishing Gilley's piece?

Wood, association president, said via email Wednesday that by referring to Gilley’s arguments as “humane,” he meant “compassionately concerned with human welfare. Gilley's article offers a humane perspective in that he focuses on ‘the grave human toll of a century of anti-colonial regimes and policies’ and ‘reaffirming the primacy of human lives.’”

Much of the piece deals with the "failure of many postcolonial regimes to secure peace, build political legitimacy, establish the rule of law as opposed to endemic corruption, or provide for the general welfare of the people," he added.

Wood said he suspected that much of the original uproar came from those “incensed” by any defense of Western colonialism, who “did not read the actual article or pause to consider Gilley's points" -- including that any new colonialism would have to be "'participatory and consensual' on the part of the governed.”

Asked his whether NAS was taking a stand in favor of colonialism, Wood said no. 

“We are taking a stand in favor of intellectual freedom and scholarly inquiry,” he said. “Colonialism is a legitimate subject for academic inquiry. Moreover, that field of inquiry should be open to a wide variety of scholarly views. Those expressed by [Gilley] are well within the compass of legitimate academic debate.”

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Community college enrollment rates expected to keep falling

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 00:00

Community colleges are used to declining enrollments when the economy is strong and unemployment is low. But some researchers are warning colleges that future declines are only expected to get worse amid cuts in state funding and more pressure on institutions to produce measurable outcomes.

"They absolutely need to be worried right now," said Christina Hubbard, director of strategic research at EAB, an educational research and technology services company. "We're in an OK spot until 2025 and then a cliff is going to happen. We're already struggling financially, and with the federal government pulling back so much funding from higher education, and when you add the changes happening in enrollment, we have a major problem coming very fast." (News elsewhere on Inside Higher Ed today about enrollment increases at some institutions due to the reinstatement of year-round Pell Grants is a modest counterweight to the larger trends described in this article.)

Two-year colleges have been coping with declining enrollments since around 2010, when the Great Recession ended and the national unemployment rate began falling from about 10 percent to around 5 percent today.

But when researchers project demographic information to 2025, the declines become sharper.

For instance, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education projects the number of high school graduates to remain flat from now until 2023, with a slight increase, followed by a dramatic decrease, after 2025 from about 3.5 million graduates per year to about three million.

EAB's analysis of these projections shows that the population of high school students has been declining in some regions since 2013. For instance, New England will see a 10 percent decrease in high school graduates from 2013 to 2023. The Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Pacific Coast regions are all showing declines. Numbers of graduates in southern states remain flat. States such as Texas, Utah and Idaho will see increases in high school graduates as those states see population growth from people moving into those areas.

There are essentially two trends community colleges should consider, said Larisa Hussak, a senior analyst with the Community College Executive Forum at EAB. The first is the trend of adult learners aged 25 and older enrolling in college, which is a largely countercyclical trend.

"When the economy is really good, they leave higher education and go back to the work force," she said of adult students, adding that EAB's projections show adult education will continue declining.

Hussak said the second trend concerns projections showing that the population of traditional-age college students -- 18- to 22-year-olds -- will be much smaller beginning in 2025 because birth rates were lower during the recession.

The impact on two-year colleges will be felt once those students are in their 20s, she said. More than half of community college students are 22 years old or older. As a result, many colleges won't initially see the decline in students born during the recession because they typically don't enroll in college until their midtwenties.

Many experts and educators who've weathered the ups and downs of community college enrollments in the past have been adjusting and learning not just how to manage current declines but how to prepare and protect their institutions from future declines.

"There is an advantage the community college sector has and it's that we probably are the most resilient of the higher education sectors," said Sandra Kurtinitis, president of the Community College of Baltimore County.

In 2009, during the recession, the Community College of Baltimore County saw enrollment peak at about 72,000 students. Today enrollment is closer to 62,000.

"We've been focused on managing enrollment to budget, so we have launched a whole series of economic stabilization initiatives," Kurtinitis said. "What works for us is if we stay in the 60,000 to 65,000 range."

In the last five years, the college has made a series of changes that have saved about $43 million. For instance, carports on the campus use solar energy, food service has been contracted out and last year the college partnered with Barnes & Noble to manage its bookstores. Kurtinitis said a new proposal to be announced this week will bring in a vendor to take over the college's childcare centers, which could save up to $300,000 a year.

"You approach the challenge of enrollment decline as something you can benefit from and use that for engaged, thoughtful discussions collegewide," she said. "We control our own future here. We aren't going to sit under a mushroom and pretend that five years from now when the economic cycle changes, we'll solve our enrollment problems."

It's More Than Population

It's not just the number of students that will have an impact on colleges -- community colleges are also facing additional pressure from state and federal legislators to improve graduation and completion rates and increase the number of students transferring to four-year institutions.

"We don't have the enrollment to support program generation," Hubbard said, adding that despite lower enrollment the colleges will be expected to deliver the same level or more in liberal arts and work-force training, but with less money.

Kurtinitis points to a change made by the Maryland Legislature two years ago that granted free community college tuition and fees to young people living in unique circumstances such as foster care, or who are the children of deceased public servants.

"I would love to have someone at the Legislature say, 'We'll reimburse you,'" she said. "But no, they don't say that. They care about the same people we care about. We wish we could get reimbursed … We'll do it at our expense and we'll absorb that as part of our mission."

But there are also legislative policy issues that have affected enrollment, Kurtinitis said. She points to a 2012 policy change in the Pell Grant program that lowered the required income threshold for the federal financial aid program and decreased the number of low-income students that automatically qualified.

Meanwhile, Hubbard said, the students who will be entering college in coming years are expected to be less academically prepared and at risk of dropping out or not earning degrees.

Students from underserved and minority communities are enrolling at higher rates. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, the percentage of first-time community college students who identified as Hispanic increased from 13 percent in 2001 to 26 percent in 2016. The population of black first-time students during that same time period has remained flat, while the percentage of white first-time students has declined from 61 percent to about 44 percent.

One other significant growth area for community colleges is enrollment by students under 18 years old. The Community College Research Center at Columbia University's Teachers College estimates that the number of students aged 17 or younger enrolled in community college courses increased from 163,000 in 1995 to 745,000 in 2015.

"We see a lot of enrollment being filled by high school dual enrollment," said Kent Phillippe, associate vice president of research and student success at the American Association of Community Colleges. "More and more it's the core part of enrollment, and there are potential issues involved with that."

Funding for high school students at community colleges varies by state, county and even local municipalities. And many colleges get no funding support for those students, Phillippe said.

Hubbard said that the problem wouldn't be as pronounced if community colleges were serving dual-enrollment students who were matriculating into their colleges, but most dual-enrollment students go on to four-year universities instead of community colleges.

CCRC estimates anywhere from 30 to 47 percent of former dual-enrollment students first enrolled at a community college after high school.

So, if getting new students will become increasingly challenging for colleges, Hubbard and Phillippe said, retaining and focusing on the students who have already chosen to go to college should be the focus.

"We're losing students who have already applied to our colleges," Hubbard said. "We're losing over 50 percent of our students in the matriculation process."

EAB found that out of 100 students who apply to a two-year college, 56 are lost during onboarding, 23 drop out and just five are still enrolled after six years. Only nine of the 100 complete an associate degree and seven complete a bachelor's degree. Onboarding begins from the moment a student completes an application to when they take placement tests, apply for financial aid, complete orientation and register for classes.

"It's a lot easier to engage folks who are already enrolled," Hussak said.

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New scrutiny on donor influence in Australian higher education

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 00:00

Most university donors expect to have some influence on how their gift is spent -- but when does this cross the line into interference with academic autonomy? And are there some topics that are so controversial that they are in effect off-limits for philanthropic support?

Higher education fund-raisers in Australia are asking these questions afresh after the Australian National University ended negotiations to offer liberal arts degrees subsidized by the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, which was criticized by the National Tertiary Education Union for pursuing a “divisive cultural and political agenda.”

The center “seeks to pursue a narrow, radically conservative program to demonstrate and promulgate the alleged superiority of Western culture and civilization,” NTEU branch president Matthew King had warned ANU vice chancellor Brian Schmidt.

Revelations that the University of Sydney was in talks with Ramsay provoked a similar response from scores of its academics, who denounced the proposal as “European supremacism writ large.”

Nick Reimer, a senior lecturer in Sydney’s English department, accused the center of giving “disproportionate prominence” to the “straight white upper-class men at the top of the social order.”

Simon Haines, chief executive of the Ramsay Centre, told Times Higher Education that, in hindsight, he was “naïve” not to anticipate “active hostility” toward its plans to bankroll the new degrees. The Sydney-based center, which is funded from the estate of the late health magnate Paul Ramsay, wants to funnel well over 10 million Australian dollars (about $7.4 million) a year into humanities study. On offer is support for up to 36 academic posts, 90 five-year undergraduate scholarships and 25 graduate scholarships.

“I had hoped we could avoid this kind of ideological warfare, but obviously we can’t,” Haines said.

Since it withdrew its participation, ANU has in turn faced accusations that it was rejecting its Western roots by pandering to left-wing activism.

Haines said that the center was not a cheer squad for mainstream culture.

“Western civilization is full of people who’ve been strongly critical of it,” he said. “Socrates was put to death for corrupting the youth by making them think philosophically about things the state wanted them to take for granted.”

But the fact that this is not the first case of its kind in Australia raises questions for universities about what they should accept funding for. In 2015, plans for a policy center headed by Danish climate contrarian Bjørn Lomborg and funded by the federal government were scuttled when the University of Western Australia reneged on an agreement to host it.

Paul Johnson, who was then UWA’s vice chancellor, said that staff and student outcry had made the center “untenable,” even though he supported its rationale and was happy to associate his university with Lomborg.

The two proposals were championed by the former prime minister Tony Abbott, widely considered an arch-conservative. But Haines disputed descriptions of his center as a right-wing think tank.

An “indicative curriculum,” which was posted on Ramsay’s website, suggests that the degree’s students would scrutinize the works of luminaries from Homer, Sappho and Dante to Karl Marx, George Eliot and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, as well as great artworks and buildings from the Parthenon to Chartres Cathedral.

Schmidt said that ANU’s decision had nothing to do with the merits of such a study focus. He said the negotiations had been abandoned because Ramsay’s desire to influence curriculum and academic recruitment risked setting a precedent “that would completely undermine the integrity of the university.”

ANU declined to elaborate on how its autonomy would have been compromised. A university document explaining the proposal, which ANU has since removed from its website, acknowledges risks to academic independence but says that they would have been addressed through a “comprehensive legal agreement.”

Curriculum recommendations would have been made by a committee with equal numbers of academics from Ramsay and ANU, but “considered through the normal ANU academic processes.” And while Ramsay would have had nominees on the committee who oversaw hiring decisions, ANU would have nominated the majority and an ANU academic would have chaired it. Recruitment would have been conducted “in accordance with the normal hiring processes.”

Joanna Motion, a partner at London-based fund-raising consultants More Partnership, said that it was inevitable that donors would have a degree of influence. A philanthropist supporting underprivileged students, for example, would have an implicit effect on admissions.

She said that an institution wondering where to draw the line should be guided by its statement of values. “If it puts academic freedom front and center, that has to be reflected in the decisions it takes,” Motion said.

“Clearly some things are off-limits, but philanthropy is extraordinarily important to universities -- they should not find lots of excuses to avoid it.”

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New presidents or provosts: Beebe Heartland Ridgewater Superior Tennessee USI Utah State Utah Valley UTSA

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 00:00
  • Keith Cornille, executive vice president/chief student services officer at Madison Area Technical College, in Wisconsin, has been named president of Heartland Community College, in Illinois.
  • Kimberly Andrews Espy, senior vice president for research at the University of Arizona, has been selected as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
  • Francis D. Galey, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming, has been chosen as executive vice president and provost at Utah State University.
  • Craig Johnson, executive director of the University Center-South Dakota Public Universities & Research Center, has been named president of Ridgewater College, in Minnesota.
  • David Manderscheid, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and vice provost for arts and sciences at Ohio State University, has been appointed provost and senior vice chancellor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
  • Jennifer Methvin, president of Crowder College, in Missouri, has been named chancellor of Arkansas State University-Beebe.
  • Ronald S. Rochon, provost at the University of Southern Indiana, has been selected as president there.
  • Molly Smith, provost and vice president for academic affairs and professor of English at Saint Martin’s University, in Washington, has been chosen as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
  • Astrid S. Tuminez, regional director for corporate, external and legal affairs in Southeast Asia for Microsoft, has been appointed president of Utah Valley University.
Editorial Tags: College administrationNew presidentsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Disable left side advertisement?: Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Magazine treatment: Trending: College: Arkansas State University-BeebeUniversity of Southern IndianaUniversity of Tennessee-KnoxvilleUniversity of Texas at San AntonioUniversity of Wisconsin-SuperiorUtah State UniversityUtah Valley University

Chronicle of Higher Education: Ohio State Shuts Down Office That Helped Sexual-Assault Victims

An external review found that the university’s Sexual Civility and Empowerment unit didn’t adequately support victims or properly document allegations of misconduct.

Colombia’s new president will struggle to heal his country’s divisions

Economist, North America - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 13:51

WHEN Colombia’s news channels declared Iván Duque the winner of the presidential election on June 17th, 45 minutes after polls closed, many Colombians were relieved. “I was terrified of Gustavo Petro,”—Mr Duque’s left-wing rival—said a woman waiting for the winner to give his acceptance speech at a convention centre in Bogotá. When Mr Duque came on stage he sought to overcome the campaign’s bitterness. He would “turn the page of polarisation”, he promised.

Mr Duque’s victory, with 54% of the vote, was comfortable. The job that awaits him, starting on August 7th, will be arduous. He campaigned as a sceptic of the peace agreement with the FARC, a guerrilla group that ended its 52-year war against the state in 2016. He must now work out how to revise the accord without pushing some former guerrillas into taking up arms. Mr Duque will have to control corruption, which fuelled the anger that gave Mr Petro 8m votes, more than any other left-wing candidate in Colombia’s history....

U.S. Department of Education Blog | Ed.gov: Betsy’s Blog – Combating the Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis has produced broken families, shattered lives and indescribable tragedy throughout the United States.

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Chronicle of Higher Education: Michigan State U. Abuse Survivors Wanted to Keep Politics Out of It. That’s Over Now.

Previously unreleased emails affirm that John Engler’s team at the university, where the former governor is interim president, brought a deeply political focus to the Nassar abuse crisis.

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Universities UK renews call for “urgent clarity” on EU students’ fee status

The PIE News - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 05:44

Universities UK has renewed its call for urgent clarity about the fee status of EU students starting courses in the UK during the Brexit transition period (2019-20), warning that the country could see a drop in EU students otherwise.

In 2017, guarantees were given for EU students starting courses in 2018-19 and covered the duration of the course, even if they finish after the UK’s exit from the European Union.

“It is unacceptable for EU students to be applying without knowing what they will be charged”

UUK said it welcomed the progress made on the phase one of the transition agreements, which brought clarity on EU citizens’ rights and on the UK’s participation in the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ until December 2020.

However, according to the latest UUK statement, universities are already receiving enquiries from EU students about courses starting next year, but most EU students and universities are “still in the dark” about the fee status and financial support for EU students.

While the Scottish government has provided such clarity for EU students starting courses next year, universities in other parts of the UK are still waiting for official confirmation, the statement read.

UUK said it has been calling for confirmation on fees since the beginning of 2018, adding there is now an urgent need for clarity across all parts of the UK.

Chief executive Alistair Jarvis said students and universities need to know whether EU students starting a course in 2019-20 will continue to be eligible for home fee status or financial support, and whether this will apply for the duration of their course.

“Students from across the EU, who bring great economic and academic value, are already enquiring about 2019 study, but face uncertainty on the expected financial costs of doing so,” he said in a statement.

“We know from research that the majority of international students start their research about studying abroad more than 12 months in advance of actual enrolment.

“While the Scottish government confirmed this in February, there is now an urgent need for clarification to be provided across all parts of the UK. It is critical that action is taken to prevent a drop in EU applications next year.”

“It is critical that action is taken to prevent a drop in EU applications next year”

In response to UUK’s renewed call, Joanna Burton, policy adviser at the Russell Group told The PIE News that clarity cannot come soon enough for the thousands of EU students currently considering whether or not to apply to UK universities.

Burton said that Russell Group universities receive more than 120,000 applications from EU students each year, with some 22,000 EU students enrolled on courses at Russell Group universities in 2017-18.

“The decision to study abroad is a significant commitment which takes time and planning, and applications for 2019/20 open in just three months,” she warned.

A recent policy briefing by the Centre for Global Higher Education suggested that the distribution of EU students in the UK is likely to become more uneven post-Brexit, with EU students in England noted as “particularly vulnerable”.

Senior research associate at CGHE Ludovic Highman told The PIE the signal being sent to EU students is: “they can pay, we will let them know as late as possible, and definitely after they have applied – because Brexit means Brexit”.

“It is unacceptable for prospective EU students to be applying for courses without knowing what fee levels they will be charged when the spectrum is so wide,” he added.

Highman said it should also not be the case that UK universities only cater for EU students from privileged backgrounds that can afford to pay upfront fees with no access to the UK loans system.

“If we want a special relationship with the EU, it is time to put money where our mouths are and show how much we really are willing to put towards that relationship, instead of just paying lip service to the ideal.”

Currently, there are 134,835 students from other EU countries in the UK.

The post Universities UK renews call for “urgent clarity” on EU students’ fee status appeared first on The PIE News.

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