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University tuition across Europe: to fee or not to fee?

The PIE News - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 03:46

If you’ve been reading about Finland’s planned introduction of tuition fees for international students later this year, you could be excused for having a sense of déjà vu. From August 1, non-EU undergraduate and master’s students will pay at least €1,500 per year to study in Finland.

However, the introduction of fees is some years and several dizzying u-turns in the making. It’s also not actually the first time international students will pay for their studies in Finland.

Some English-taught master’s programs did charge an average of €8,000 in a pilot project that ran from 2010-2014, but proposals to roll out the scheme further were rejected. The argument behind the rollout was that if international students leave after graduation, they leave the taxpayer out of pocket.

“In order to even maintain the economic power that we have now, we will need to massively recruit foreign talent”

The MP making the argument, Arto Satonen, warned that foreign graduates of Finnish universities would go on to work in the UK, US and Australia, “so with Finnish taxpayers’ money we are actually educating workers for the Anglo Saxon countries’ economies.”

His claim was, however, contradicted by research from the Centre for International Mobility that showed 44% of foreign students who graduated in 2009 were still employed in Finland five years later.

Another study by Danish think tank DEA shows that subsidising foreign students in these numbers makes economic sense. It found international students who completed a subsidised degree between 1996 and 2008 contributed a net 165.5m Danish krone (US$23.8m) over that period, with 40% still in the country a year after graduation.

But the idea that foreigners are a drain on the state is pervasive, and political winds are often directed by public perception.

Universities must therefore work to highlight the benefits international students bring, explains Jón Atli Benediktsson, rector and president at the University of Iceland.

Students in Iceland don’t pay tuition fees regardless of where they’re from (though they do pay a registration fee of €100-€250), and universities “make an effort to present, both to policy makers and the public, the importance of attracting international students to Iceland and strengthening our international collaborations, for example, to create opportunities for Icelandic students abroad”, he explains.

“We believe that free higher education is a cornerstone of a vibrant democracy”

In Germany, the public by and large support efforts to educate students from further afield because they understand the economic case for it, notes Jérôme Rickmann, director of international talent acquisition & project development at EBC Hochschule.

“The main argument is that we are, demographically speaking, a shrinking society, so in order to even maintain the economic power that we have now, we will need to massively recruit foreign talent,” he explains.

Of course, the arguments in support of free education are not solely economic. In Norway, for example, “We believe that free higher education is a cornerstone of a vibrant democracy – and that international students are essential because of the perspectives they bring to the campus and to their peers,” asserts University of Oslo rector Ole Petter Ottersen.

Pricing out students from poorer backgrounds goes against the egalitarian thinking that is integral to Norway’s national identity, adds Kathrine Pekot, senior executive officer at the University of Stavanger’s international office: “Norwegians do not believe that education is a privilege accessible only for the wealthy… regardless of what passport they may hold.”

This egalitarian thinking is also a defence against what some might call the ‘slippery slope’ of fee charging – the fear that fees for international students are the cracked door that will open up to fees for domestic students too. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.

In EU countries, students from within the bloc can’t legally be offered a worse deal than their domestic classmates, but differentiation between these two groups and non-EU students is the norm. In some, like Scotland and Austria, EU students pay no tuition fees. Scotland’s former first minister, Alex Salmond, famously once said “rocks would melt in the sun” before he would let universities charge domestic and EU students tuition.

“Universities now have a much more professional approach to international education”

While the obvious fear for universities is that introducing fees may trigger a mass exodus of international students, those with experience say it also brings opportunity. “It has contributed significantly to creating an awareness amongst Danish universities of the global market for education,” says Morten Overgaard, head of international affairs at Technical University of Denmark. “Universities now have a much more professional approach to international education than they had before.”

While there are certainly lessons for Finland to learn from its Nordic cousins, parallel tectonic shifts in the landscape of international education must also be acknowledged. Students worldwide are now more internationally mobile and universities have made internationalisation a much bigger part of their agenda.

Because of this, Finland is in some ways in a better position to accommodate the new fee structure than Sweden. Many universities have already begun to think about international strategies, and the long-drawn-out debate means they’ve seen it coming. They are certainly aiming to be more prepared.

“Quite early on in the process, our senior management agreed to a substantial increase to our marketing budget. New materials have been created and our digital marketing approach was intensified,” explains Markus Laitinen, head of international affairs at the University of Helsinki.

Nevertheless, international recruitment in Finland is a much more low-key affair than it is in many study destinations, partly because there isn’t the same financial incentive for aggressive recruitment that there is in destinations like the UK, where higher education funding is supplemented by fee income.

And these benefits only materialise if tuition fee revenue goes straight to universities – which it won’t in the southwest German state of Baden-Württemberg. From this year, non-EU students will pay €1,500 a semester, but most of that will go to the state to fill a €48m funding gap.

Unlike private institutions, which can already charge fees, public universities are “highly underfinanced and have little to no commercial drive (often for legal reasons)”, observes Rickmann at EBC Hochschule, a private institution that charges around €4,000 a semester. “The possibility to build an actual business model could open a totally new dynamic in terms of internationalisation,” he argues.

However, a challenge lies in making students aware that paying to study in a small town may still be cheaper than studying in a fee-free but more expensive city. This tendency to notice the proverbial €0 sign before looking at other expenses can lead to disappointment.

“Many students withdraw their enrolment after the reality of the costs of living hits them”

Pekot at the University of Stavanger explains, “Some students are naively under the impression that they will not need much funding to sustain themselves in one of the most expensive countries in the world.” International students in Norway can’t access the state loan fund, and must provide proof of financing to the tune of around €12,000.

“Many students withdraw their enrolment after the reality of the costs of living hits them,” Pekot says. Those inclined to think that this miscalculation indicates a lack of forethought are likely to fall into the camp that believes tuition fees will help to filter out non-serious applicants.

Whether or not pricing out students is a fair way of selecting applicants is a contentious topic, and fees have clearly impacted international student demographics. Jonkoping University, for example, has seen a big increase in students from India and China in recent years, but, “Many students from specific developing countries in mainly Africa disappeared because they couldn’t afford it,” says Bengtsson.

While this is certainly a negative, universities have also seen some of the positive filtering effect predicted by the government. Bengtsson says: “I believe that before the fees, some students just tried to escape from their home countries and didn’t have any real interest to study.”

This argument will no doubt be front of mind in the remaining handful of tuition-free nations as they look to see how things play out in Finland and Baden-Württemberg. Whether they will lead to a domino effect elsewhere in Europe remains to be seen. In the meantime, universities’ goal is simple, says Laitinen. “We are, of course, looking at attracting the best possible students.”

  • This is an abridged version of an article that originally appeared in The PIE Review edition 14.

The post University tuition across Europe: to fee or not to fee? appeared first on The PIE News.

ACE Names 33 Emerging Higher Education Leaders to ACE Fellows Program

American Council on Education - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 03:00
ACE has selected 33 emerging college and university leaders for the 2016-17 Class of the ACE Fellows Program, the longest running leadership development program in the United States.

After full day of meetings on Title IX, DeVos says improvements needed

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 00:00

WASHINGTON -- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos didn’t announce plans to rescind guidance from the Obama administration Thursday after a full day of closed-door meetings about Title IX policy. But she hinted that changes are coming.

In a 15-minute meeting with reporters, DeVos said there are substantive legal questions to be addressed regarding evidentiary standards for findings of sexual assault or harassment on campus, due process, and public input on policy.

“There are some things that are working. There are many things that are not working well,” she said in the Q&A session. “We need to get this right.”

DeVos met with reporters Thursday after back-to-back-to-back meetings with victims’ advocacy groups, organizations concerned with the rights of the accused, and campus representatives. The involvement of "men’s rights" organizations in that second of the three meetings led to serious backlash days before the Title IX summit even began. And it fueled skepticism among advocates for survivors of sexual assault that the Department of Education under DeVos won’t be committed to enforcing Title IX protections.

Comments from Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson to The New York Times yesterday (which she later walked back) added to the backlash.

Jackson told the Times that 90 percent of campus assault allegations "fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.’” She apologized afterward, saying the remarks were "flippant" and that she believes all assault allegations should be taken seriously.

Laura Dunn, the founder and executive director of SurvJustice, a victims' advocacy group that took part in meetings Thursday, said in a statement that the group was "deeply troubled that [Jackson's] apology does not admit how rare false reports are or admit how widespread the issue of campus sexual violence actually is based on research."

Dunn called on Jackson to acknowledge research indicating the rarity of false reports of assault and to pledge to not promote a narrative of false rape accusations.

DeVos declined to discuss her thoughts on Jackson’s comments but said that current Title IX policy has not worked “in too many ways” and that the department needs to get it right. She made it clear that she would seek to do that partly by listening to a broad range of voices, including many who she says have not been consulted by the department extensively before.

That apparently includes some voices that many advocates consider fringe groups and bullies of sexual assault survivors. Among those groups criticized by advocates were the National Coalition for Men and Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE). DeVos didn’t address the criticism of those groups’ track records by advocates or discuss whether their involvement in talks would hurt her credibility on Title IX issues. But she said listening to all parties and “all sides of the issue” is an important part of the process.

“I’m really committed to listening and getting as much input as possible -- as we possibly can,” she said.

A department spokeswoman added that the groups were present because they were the organizations the accused students had found help from and that their involvement shouldn't necessarily be seen as an endorsement by DeVos.

Although many were frustrated with the role of those groups, advocates still took the opportunity to meet with DeVos Thursday and to help survivors of assault and harassment share their stories with the secretary. Neena Chaudhry, director of education and senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, said the meeting included powerful stories from survivors of assault. But participants also urged DeVos to meet with other survivors across the country, as officials from the Obama administration did.

“We all collectively urged her to really go around the country and do a national listening tour, to hear from survivors in different regions of the country, at different types of schools,” Chaudhry said.

Advocates also urged DeVos not to change current Title IX guidance. Some of the biggest questions about department policies on campus sexual assault going forward involve whether DeVos will rescind 2011 guidance from the Obama administration or change the standard of evidence used in assault cases. In that guidance, Obama officials pushed campus administrators to more strongly enforce protections and provided clarifications on how they should do so.

The guidance also made clear that the standard for finding sexual harassment or assault took place on campus should be a “preponderance of evidence” -- meaning that it is more likely than not that a crime occurred. Advocates are concerned that DeVos may raise the standard of proof for victims to demonstrate that they suffered abuse on campus. Many feared that after President Trump's election, the administration would allow colleges to return to whatever standard they found appropriate.

Jackson, meanwhile, has made clear that a top concern for her is how students -- most of them male -- are treated when they are accused of assault.

She also received a warm response from attorneys for colleges and universities last month when she told a gathering in Chicago that the previous administration had fallen into a pattern of overreach and had often set out to punish or embarrass institutions.

Before that, one of several documents leaked from her office to media outlets fueled questions from advocates of transgender equality about whether her office would push for standard enforcement of protections across regional offices. The department itself has said that memo was issued to remind field investigators that they should find every way in current law and regulation to help students resolve their complaints.

DeVos earlier this year withdrew 2016 guidance from the Obama administration making clear that students should have access to bathroom and changing facilities matching their gender identity. Asked by reporters about her thinking on whether sex discrimination under Title IX applies to gender identity, DeVos simply said all students deserve protection.

“All students means all students,” she said.

DeVos said her department “is not going to make laws.” Instead, she said it’s time for Congress to weigh in on the issue. There is very little chance, however, that the current Congress will amend civil rights laws to provide more protection for transgender students.

Reactions to Discussions

Terry Hartle, senior vice president for government and public affairs at the American Council on Education, said the discussion between DeVos and campus leaders, which he attended, focused on how colleges could do a better job preventing sexual assault and then investigating and responding to it when occurs. And the discussions dealt with how the Office for Civil Rights at the department could help campuses do a better job.

Hartle said there was broad agreement that the 2011 Dear Colleague letter from the Obama administration was unclear or ambiguous in some ways that often leave campus leaders unsure if they are in compliance with guidelines from the department.

“There was no disagreement of a clear, unambiguous responsibility to provide a safe campus. And that includes safety against sexual assault,” he said. “What campuses have are a lot of uncertainties and questions about what’s required under the guidance and what’s not required and how much flexibility they have to develop or tailor the process to meet the needs of the different case that might arise.”

But Hartle said there was “absolutely, positively no discussion” of rescinding the 2011 guidance among the campus representatives in the room.

Chris Perry, a spokesman for SAVE, said students accused of assault had a “powerful and impactful” talk with DeVos. While some students in that session were accompanied by representatives from SAVE, others were joined by the National Coalition for Men and Families Advocating for Campus Equality.

“What we would like her to take from it is the current manner in which these cases are being handled,” Perry said. “There’s just a real lack of consistency. Unfortunately some of these college have been overwhelmed with their responsibilities.”

While SAVE and the coalition have come in for criticism from victims' advocates, Perry said he wasn’t sure where that criticism of his group originated. He denied, for instance, that SAVE has ever encouraged blaming or harassing victims of sexual assault -- a charge made by some advocates.

“We’re certainly not making any effort to roll back protections for victims,” Perry said. “Everybody wants to be treated respectfully, to be treated fairly, and that’s the ultimate goal.”

Advocates Dissatisfied

As one group of survivors and advocates met with DeVos Thursday morning, other organizations pushing for strong Title IX protections held a rally outside the department’s headquarters. Dozens gathered for much of the morning to hear stories from assault survivors, as well as comments from elected officials including Representative Jackie Speier, a California Democrat, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat.

And they made clear they were dissatisfied both with Jackson’s comments and with the involvement of groups they said had questionable track records in the policy process.

“These groups have latched on to this fair-process narrative in order to effectively discredit survivors,” said Alyssa Peterson, a policy and advocacy coordinator at Know Your IX. “Unfortunately, that line was picked up by the official responsible for enforcing Title IX.”

Peterson was raped as a sophomore at Georgetown University in 2011. She said she experienced depression and struggled with classes afterward without knowing what resources were available to her. But after the Obama administration’s 2011 guidance was issued, campus organizers pushed for reforms on campus. They were able to get a crisis counseling hotline staffed over weekends for students, Peterson said. And more outreach was added to make students aware of resources like the D.C. Rape Crisis Center.

She said it’s important that those federal guidelines remain in place so that campuses know they have the ability -- and the responsibility -- under the law to provide those resources to students. And Know Your IX wants DeVos to commit to more meetings to hear the stories of assault survivors. The group plans next week to send a request to DeVos for meetings with additional students who experienced assault.

“If she doesn’t accept that request, we will know her commitment to meeting with survivors is not real,” Peterson said.

Editorial Tags: Trump administrationSexual assaultImage Caption: Representative Jackie Speier speaks at a rally outside the Education Department.Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

American Bar Association receives pushback on tenure proposal

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 00:00

The American Bar Association is mulling changes -- critics say a watering down -- to its requirements on full-time faculty members at law schools. The American Association University Professors has come out against the changes, which it says will decrease the number of tenured faculty members in legal education and increase the use of adjuncts.

The rules as they currently stand require that full-time faculty members teach more than half of the total credit hours offered by a given law school in a year. Law schools can alternatively satisfy the rule by having full-time faculty teach more than two-thirds of contact hours in a year. Stemming from the ABA’s accreditation committee, the association is considering canceling those rules.

While the move could be a cost-saving measure for law schools that take advantage of the new standards, the AAUP has come out against the effects of the regulation loosening, citing its potential effects on the number of full-time faculty employed at law schools.

“In many law schools, this will result in a significant increase in the percentage of part-time faculty, all or almost all of whom are in non-tenure-track positions,” the AAUP wrote in its comments to the ABA this week.

While the economic outlook for lawyers employed in adjunct positions might be rosier than those who teach composition to undergraduates, the AAUP warned of the impact decreasing the number of tenure-track positions could have on the effectiveness of law schools in their educational missions.

“This will likely be accompanied by a decrease in the percentage of full-time tenure-track appointments, and may negatively impact the diversity of the faculty and the research and teaching of innovative or controversial subjects,” its statement read.

However, Kyle McEntee, executive director and co-founder of Law School Transparency, a nonprofit group that advocates for reforming policies related to student debt, accreditation and postgraduation job prospects, said he supports the move, which he hopes will lead to lower costs for students and more flexibility for law school administrations. The current rules, he said, value professors over students.

“One of the primary issues facing legal education is the sustained lack of interest from applicants,” he said. “And a big part of that is costs, and for any school that is interested in competing on costs, this might allow them to do so more effectively.”

According to the ABA, in 2013, the average student debt from attending law school was $127,000 for those attending private institutions and $88,000 for those attending public institutions.

And with law school adjuncts, McEntee said, their situation isn’t quite like adjuncts at undergraduate institutions.

“I think one line of concern people usually have is that adjunct faculty are exploited. But that’s not exactly a problem you have in law school,” he said. “More often than not, they’re professionals giving back. And as long as they’re teaching effectively, and schools are accountable for their teaching outcomes, then schools should be able to determine what its teaching faculty looks like.”

The actual changing of the rule is still in motion. Committee meetings and hearings are taking place this weekend, and the process would take until at least February to reach a point where it could be adopted. Given that the Council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which is responsible for the proposed rule change, is the independent arm of the ABA for accreditation purposes, and the outcome is still undecided, an ABA spokesman declined to comment.

Michael Olivas, a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, said the changes posed a risk to the mission and effectiveness of law schools. Olivas has previously served as the general counsel for AAUP and is still involved on some of its committees. He’s also previously served on the ABA council currently overseeing the potential rule change, and voted against similar proposals in the past.

“Students need to be exposed to full-time traditional faculty and full-time contingent faculty,” Olivas said, adding that he thinks there’s already enough flexibility in how law schools can count faculty. “There’s a lot more to being a faculty member [than just teaching]: being available, producing scholarship, doing the kind of necessary service to the profession and the institution. These kinds of things matter.”

Additionally, the recruiting, hiring, development and turnover of adjunct faculty often isn’t considered when looking at potential cost cuts, he said. Olivas doesn’t think Houston would take the opportunity to hire more adjuncts in lieu of full-time faculty, even if the rule is changed. He is worried, though, that lower-ranked schools might do so in an attempt to cut costs, taking “the path of least resistance.”

“These are things that don’t show up in the political economy of hiring,” he said. “When you have full-time faculty, you don’t have to keep retraining them.”

While the rule proposal comes from advocates who want to fight increasing costs at law schools, Olivas said he’s worried about the impact it could have beyond financial issues. “This would undermine the system of tenure because it would confer it on a smaller number of people,” he said. “It will weaken academic freedom.”

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Speakers explore latest developments in public-private partnerships

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 00:00

WASHINGTON -- Public-private partnership models are continuing to proliferate as cash-strapped colleges and universities seek to replace or update aging and outdated infrastructure amid tight finances.

That proliferation is on display in many of the large development projects institutions announce, like the ambitious billion-dollar-plus campus expansion plan the University of California, Merced, unveiled last year that uses a public-private partnership to build and operate new facilities. And it was evident at the Society for College and University Planning’s annual conference in Washington this week, where several sessions focused on public-private partnerships, which are often called P3s.

Speakers pushed back against the idea that P3s are solely a way for colleges and universities to build when they have no debt capacity and little public financing available. Projects need to be viable on their own, and institution leaders should not expect P3s to be a source of facilities with no long-term financial impacts, speakers said.

“They kind of always start with the premise or this notion of ‘let’s keep it off our balance sheet,’” said Jeff Turner, executive vice president at the program management firm Brailsford & Dunlavey. “But when you dig a little deeper, that’s a little bit of a fallacy.”

Turner spoke at a session Wednesday examining the different models and best practices for P3s. It was one of several sessions addressing the P3 model, who is using it, how it is being used and how it is developing.

P3 models can be difficult to quantify because they take many different forms. Generally speaking in higher education, they have colleges and universities tapping private companies to finance, design, build operate and maintain facilities. The private companies don’t necessarily provide all of those services in each instance -- the services provided vary by situation. The exact legal structures of the deals vary as well.

Colleges and universities will often pay for the up-front services through decades-long contracts under which the private partners operate and maintain the new facilities or draw revenue that they generate.

The model stands in contrast to a traditional setup in which a college or university is responsible for financing a project up front or through bonds, hiring an architect and builder and operating a facility once it is finished.

P3s are probably best known in the United States as mechanisms for building dormitories. But the model has been migrating to other types of facilities in the last decade or so. Some say the migration has been driven by colleges and universities running into funding constraints from cash-strapped state governments and students who are balking at paying higher tuition and fees. But others see it as a way for institutions to pull off new types of development projects and tap private-sector financing without being saddled by operational headaches in the future.

One example of that is a Hyatt Place hotel planned for California State University, Northridge. The university has signed a letter of intent and is moving toward further agreements with a developer for the $52 million project, which is expected to be completed in 2019.

The hotel is planned to have about 150 rooms with a conference center and restaurant, said Colin Donahue, vice president of administration and finance at Cal State Northridge. Donahue spoke at the Wednesday session.

Cal State Northridge could have built the hotel on its own, Donahue said. But it had to look at long-term risks.

“One of the things I was really concerned about is the risk to our general fund,” Donahue said. “We’re not hotel operators. We’re good at a lot of things, but we’re not going to be nearly as efficient. We don’t understand that market. And so it was better for us to get into risk sharing by understanding the market.”

The hotel Cal State Northridge plans will have a 65-year ground lease. If all goes well, the developer will likely sell it in five years -- a standard move in the hotel industry, Donahue said. But that requires consideration as the university structures the deal. So does having a private operator on campus for 65 years.

Institutions need to approach the deals by planning for things that could go wrong, said Deborah Wylie, higher education studio leader at the architecture firm Harley Ellis Devereaux, who also spoke Wednesday.

“Keep in mind your relationship with your developer is 30, 60, 90 years,” she said. “Anybody been married for that long?”

Donahue said Cal State Northridge has brought in real estate advisory firms and outside lawyers focused on real estate for P3s. Lawyers with experience in real estate say P3s are the types of deals they’ve done their whole lives, he said. But universities don’t necessarily have experience in such deals.

The complexity of the deals means they aren’t necessarily cheaper over all than if a college or university built a facility using a traditional model. They aren’t necessarily built faster, either. But developers can be better at controlling costs during and after the construction process, Turner said. Deals that include long-term operating agreements can mean private companies hire employees to staff buildings, a cheaper proposition than hiring state employees who receive more generous benefits.

Developers tend to invest more in buildings over their lifetimes than do universities, Donahue said. The private sector is in the habit of building cash reserves and updating buildings on a 10-year cycle. Universities can be tempted to defer maintenance as they address other budget priorities.

Some interesting developments at the system in California could ease P3 development.

The University of California has prequalified eight firms for student housing, Wylie said. UC campuses can tap into that list and avoid having to do separate requests for qualifications.

Cal State, meanwhile, is attempting to pool shared experiences from P3s across its campuses and make its processes more consistent, Donahue said.

“What we’re trying to do now is pull together our shared experiences and develop some agreement templates and take some of the best practices that we’ve seen, look at things like the way you would analyze a project through the negotiations as the terms change,” he said. “We want to be known in the development community as a system that has our act together and is attractive to work with.”

Turner is seeing more and more bundling of multiple facilities into large P3 projects, he said. He warned against being overly ambitious with such projects. Donahue said he believes opportunity exists in smaller P3s.

The Wednesday presentation came a day after another notable session in which Nic de Salaberry, the director of planning and development at Ryerson University in Toronto, shared an analysis of P3s. He used a SCUP fellowship to study P3s and their application in higher education.

He found that P3s are creating options for long-term planning at universities and that the model is adaptable. But de Salaberry also found the model is better suited for some projects than it is for others.

“I’m an optimist -- I like to think that as more P3 projects are built for higher learning, there will be more lessons shared and more scrutiny of results,” he said. “However, I’m also a realist, and because the money has to come from somewhere, there is only so much that a P3 solution can do to address long-term questions of how our campuses will be renewed.”

P3s often mean less risk for colleges and universities seeking to build. But they also mean less control over the projects. As a result, de Salaberry believes the model is better suited for non-core university functions like student housing than it is for core functions like classrooms and laboratories, over which institutions likely want more control.

While P3s can open new sources of funding for colleges and universities, they can also influence the way institutions develop. One example de Salaberry gave was a design-build-finance P3 used to build a 365,000-square-foot aquatics center and gym for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. The project, which cost 205 million Canadian dollars -- or about $160 million -- was led by a public agency. It took the specifications from the University of Toronto at Scarborough and the city of Toronto, which were slated as its long-term users.

Projects that received funds for the Pan Am games were bumped ahead of other projects their home institutions might have viewed with a higher priority, de Salaberry said.

“You might just see that as funding priorities, and it is,” he said. “But it’s also a result of the P3 model that they could even have that bumping up take place.”

Looking forward, de Salaberry wondered how P3 models and the facilities they create will stand the test of time. He wonders how the facilities will age -- whether buildings with multiyear private maintenance agreements will be maintained better than those that are owned and maintained by higher education institutions.

UC Merced will be an interesting test case for that.

“Half their campus is less than 10 years old and it was built in a conventional way,” de Salaberry said. “The other half will have that long-term operating contract. It will be fascinating to go to Merced in 20 years and see whether there is a difference on one side of the campus versus the other.”

He suspects colleges and universities in urban areas will be able to attract more interest from developers and stronger sets of bids than those in rural areas. And he pointed out that some information on P3 performance may be hard to come by -- institutions often don’t always like to talk about projects that fail to live up to expectations.

“For me, the biggest takeaway is that P3s are not like some magic bullet,” de Salaberry said. “They’re not solving all the problems of universities, but they are showing us what universities think is most important to them.”

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Dev Bootcamp, which Kaplan bought three years ago, is closing

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 00:00

Dev Bootcamp, a coding boot camp that Kaplan acquired three years ago for an undisclosed sum, this week announced that it will shut down this December.

Kaplan wasn't the only for-profit education company to either purchase or make substantial investments in coding and skills boot camps, with similar moves by Capella Education, Apollo Education Group and Strayer Education.

Industry analysts at the time said the acquisitions could lessen the for-profits' reliance on federal financial aid while also reaccelerating their growth. Some critics, however, worried about them being a new front in the dispute over for-profit higher education.

The closure of Dev Bootcamp likely will raise doubts about the overall viability of an industry many have seen as a promising new form of postsecondary education and job training. Some of the larger coding and skills boot camps, such as General Assembly and Galvanize, are relatively well established and appear to be growing. But an industry expert predicted other consolidations or closures will follow.

"We've been forecasting a consolidation wave within the boot-camp industry; there are simply too many schools for everyone to be profitable," Rick O'Donnell, the founder and CEO of Skills Fund, a private lender that works on quality control with 55 boot camp providers, said in a written statement. "Consolidation in growing industries happens all the time -- from retail banks to airlines to gas stations to auto manufacturing to ERP software firms -- industries with increasing customers and revenue often go through a consolidation phase on the path to profitability and sustainability."

Dev Bootcamp was an early player in the industry, although it received less attention in recent years.

The five-year-old company is one of the first of the coding skills-training providers to seek and gain approval by a state agency. Its campus locations are spread across the country in six cities with big IT job markets. Tuition for Dev Bootcamp's 18-week software development program ranges from $12,700 to $13,950.

The curriculum is split evenly between remote, part-time training and an immersive in-person session, according to Course Report, which tracks the sector. In addition to becoming proficient with commonly used software, the site said, students "learn how to approach challenges like developers, how to optimize their learning and then apply those techniques to pick up new skills or languages required in the field."

In announcing its closure this December, after teaching-out a last cohort of students, Dev Bootcamp said its financial outlook has been a challenge from the beginning.

"Since launching in 2012, we’ve been striving to find a viable business model that would enable us to further our vision of high-quality, immersive coding training that is broadly accessible to a diverse population, while also covering the critical day-to-day costs of running our campuses," the company said in a written statement. "Ultimately, we have been unable to find a sustainable model that doesn’t compromise on one of those fronts."

On Twitter (below), the company credited Kaplan with buying it time to try to find a way to long-term profitability. Dev Bootcamp said it has trained more than 3,000 students.

Kaplan's university chain recently began seeking to enter into an unprecedented partnership with Purdue University. If the deal is approved by the two universities' accreditors and federal and state regulators, Kaplan would no longer issue federal aid-eligible credentials.

1. Thanks for your thoughts, Darrell. The fact of the matter is, Kaplan made a huge investment in us by acquiring an unprofitable business.

— Dev Bootcamp (@devbootcamp) July 13, 2017 For-Profit Higher EdEditorial Tags: Career/Tech EducationFor-profit collegesImage Caption: Students at a Dev Bootcamp locationIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Israeli universities expand partnerships in Asia

Inside Higher Ed - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 00:00

Nestled between Europe, Asia and Africa, in a country reputed to be home to one of the world’s leading science and technology hubs, Israel’s universities should be well placed for collaboration with their international neighbors.

But amid long-standing pressure in some Western countries for an academic boycott of the country, Asia is fast emerging as the preferred location for Israeli researchers’ global partnerships.

The first Israeli university in China was set up by Technion Israel Institute of Technology in December 2015 and will welcome its first students this summer. Technion President Peretz Lavie has said that the campus in Guangdong Province will combine the “innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel and the unbelievable scale and resources of China.”

Paul Feigin, vice president for strategic projects at Technion, told Times Higher Education that another reason for establishing a new campus in China is that “Israeli universities and Israel [as a whole] are very highly regarded in Asia.”

“We don’t have the same issues [that we do elsewhere]. The history with Europe and so on -- that’s difficult,” he said. “With our Arab neighboring countries, there’s very little collaboration. We do some, mainly in Jordan. But it’s very hard because of the political situation.”

While he acknowledged that attempts in Britain and the U.S. for an academic boycott of Israel have “not been effective” in science and technology -- Technion’s focus -- “there are examples of resistance to collaborations in arts and social sciences,” he said.

The number of partnerships between Israel and Asia is likely to increase. Earlier this year, Israel introduced a legislative amendment that prohibits visas or residency permits to those who have boycotted the country, or who work for organizations that have done so.

Feigin said that the majority of the first cohort of about 250 engineering undergraduates at Technion’s Chinese university will come from Guangdong. All teaching and research will be in English.

He hopes that the partnership will foster collaboration between academics and students in the two countries and enable Technion to secure research funding from China “to complement and supplement resources from Israel.”

Meanwhile, an industrial park planned for the campus, which has colleges in engineering, science and life science, is designed to help Israeli companies crack key markets in China.

Feigin said that Technion is also “paying a lot of attention” to how it can encourage students at the Chinese campus to become entrepreneurial -- noting that Israeli and Asian attitudes to innovation are “very different.”

“Israelis are prepared to try something, and if it fails, it’s not the end of the world -- they’ll try again. Whereas in Asian culture, failure is often very damaging,” he said. “We have a lot of Chinese delegations coming to us to find out the secret of our success in Israel and Technion [in terms] of our graduates.”

But while Technion’s main campus encourages entrepreneurial activity through extracurricular activities, Feigin believes that the main way that science and technology universities can prepare students for the future is by ensuring that they have a clear grasp of “basic science.”

“It’s important that the students understand the basics, not just how to use an application or a device, but to understand what’s behind it -- the physical, chemical and biological processes,” he said. “Because then they have an opportunity to do something new and different.”

GlobalEditorial Tags: ChinaIsraelTimes Higher EdIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

How a BYU Campus Is Reshaping Online Education — and the Mormon Faith

PathwayConnect, a yearlong program created by Brigham Young University-Idaho, has graduated nearly 24,000 students by cutting marketing costs, stacking credentials, and mixing online classes with real-world meetups. What can other colleges learn from the endeavor?

UA scores victory in Temporary Worker changes

The PIE News - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 09:40

The Australian government will make key amendments to its upcoming Temporary Skill Shortage visa, addressing concerns raised by peak body Universities Australia.

The changes will see university lecturers, faculty head and chief executives, including vice-chancellors, restored to the medium and long-term skills list, while study undertaken during a PhD will account for work experience.

The confirmation sees the Australian government acting on a prior commitment to take a “broad view” of what constitutes work experience after Universities Australia raised concerns the proposed two years’ minimum occupational experience requirement could lock out recent international PhD recipients from academic positions.

“This is very good news – the government has listened to these key concerns and acted on them,” UA chief executive Belinda Robinson said in a statement.

“Domestic students benefit in many ways from the internationalisation of Australian education”

“The global community of university lecturers and researchers is a highly mobile one. Australia needs policy settings that allow us to remain competitive, and ensure we are able to snap up the best global talent to work alongside our brilliant home-grown researchers.”

Robinson said the changes would also alleviate the concerns of the estimated 3,000 researchers and university staff who are on the current 457 visa.

Monash University vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner also welcomed the announcement, saying the amendments would help Australia attract academic talent to the benefit of both international and domestic students.

“Domestic students benefit in many ways from the internationalisation of Australian education. They benefit from the insights and the understanding and experience [of foreign teachers] and the contacts they build with fellow students from across the world,” she told The PIE News.

“Frankly, our graduates, whether they come to us from overseas or they come to us from within Australia, expect that the education be at the highest level.”

Gardner added that while those with a PhD “fuel the next generation of our academic workforce”, the business community would also benefit from the changed interpretation of work experience.

“We want those PhDs to infuse future innovation, whether it’s starting up their own companies in Australia, or working in industry in an established organisation,” she said.

“If they don’t have their PhD understood to be work experience… we’ll be losing a whole lot of immensely talented people to other places in the world who will be very happy to accept them.”

While some academic positions were restored, university tutor remains absent from both lists.

The new Temporary Skill Shortage visa will come into effect in March 2018.

The post UA scores victory in Temporary Worker changes appeared first on The PIE News.

What the unjailing of Leopoldo López means for Venezuela

Economist, North America - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 08:21

ON JULY 5th, independence day, a pro-government mob armed with sticks, metal poles and pistols charged into Venezuela’s golden-domed national assembly building and beat up parliamentarians. Some of the victims, dazed and bloodied, staggered around the legislature’s gardens. Two went to hospital; with fractured skulls, it was feared. The thugs were responding to a summons by Tareck el Aissami, the country’s vice-president. The assembly, under opposition control since elections in December 2015, had been hijacked by an “oligarchy”, he declared; “patriots” should defend it. The national guard, responsible for the legislature’s security, made little effort to stop them.

Three days later, Venezuela’s thuggish regime showed its nicer face. In the dead of night Leopoldo López, the country’s most prominent political prisoner, was transferred from the Ramo Verde military prison to his house, where he will remain confined. The supreme court, which obeys the government, ordered the transfer on...

Cash rewards soar for research published overseas

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 08:14
Cash rewards to Chinese scientists whose research features in overseas journals have risen dramatically in recent years - reaching over US$160,000 for papers appearing in the most prestigious West ...

Sharp fall in university applications from UK and EU

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 07:33
The number of people who have applied to United Kingdom higher education undergraduate courses for 2017 is down 4% on last year. This includes a 4% drop in applications from the UK and a 5% drop i ...

Research could suffer as internet controls tightened

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 06:09
Chinese internet restrictions, known as the 'great firewall of China', have often been an issue for Chinese academics who find their access to overseas research restricted. They have become more c ...

UK: slight rise in int’l university applicants outweighed by EU drop

The PIE News - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 05:33

A 2% rise in international applicants for full-time undergraduate study in the UK over the last year was not enough to offset a 5% fall in applicants from the EU, according to the latest figures from the UK’s university application system.

The data released by UCAS shows that the overall number of applicants for undergraduate study has fallen by 4%, with England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each showing individual declines.

The number of EU applicants totalled 49,250 for this year’s application cycle – a fall of 2,600 from last year’s – for entry into university in September.

“There is no doubt that the government’s approach to Brexit is damaging and is creating huge uncertainties”

EU applicants accounted for 7.6% of total applicants to UK universities.

France once again displayed the largest number of EU applicants (5,110), followed by Italy with 4,420, and Ireland with 4,360. However, all top three source countries showed a decrease.

Stakeholders have attributed much of the decline in EU applicants to the rhetoric surrounding Brexit, and the uncertainty that it brings.

“The EU market has been an area of consistent growth in recent years and the 5% fall in applications will create additional concerns,” said Pam Tatlow, chief executive of university association MillionPlus.

“There is no doubt that the government’s approach to Brexit is damaging and is creating huge uncertainties, both for EU students and UK universities.”

While this round of UCAS data measures just applications, Sarah Stevens, head of policy at the Russell Group, pointed out that it is unclear as of yet how these figures will translate into offers from institutions and acceptances.

“However, if students are being put off by the uncertainties of Brexit, this would be a concern,” she said.

Meanwhile, the number of applicants from beyond the EU rose by 1,530 to 70,830, accounting for just over one in ten UCAS applicants.

China remained overwhelmingly the top country for applicants, up 940 to 13,390.

Hong Kong followed with 5,960, despite a small dip of 140 applicants, while the third largest source of applications, India, grew by 510 to 4,790.

 

Maddalaine Ansell, chief executive of Universities Alliance, said that while the small rise in the number of international students is welcome, it doesn’t make up for the drop in EU applicants.

“This reinforces the need for the most open arrangement possible as Britain leaves the EU so that those with the talent from overseas can continue to come here to study without facing barriers,” she said.

A total of 649,700 prospective students submitted their applications to university via UCAS in the 2017 cycle, which closed on June 30, a fall of 4% on the year before.

The overall drop was matched by a 4% decline in applicants from the UK, which Shakira Martin, president of the National Union of Students, said evidence the government “urgently needs to review the education funding system”.

“Some have claimed that rising fees and the lack of proper financial support for students have not deterred people from attending university,” she said. “Clearly, this is completely untrue.”

The post UK: slight rise in int’l university applicants outweighed by EU drop appeared first on The PIE News.

Government cuts 40% of state-funded university places

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 05:00
The Russian government is pushing on with plans to cut 40% of state-funded places in domestic universities in 2018 and to cut teaching jobs at state universities.

These plans were first announ ...

The conviction of Lula and the future of Brazil’s political purge

Economist, North America - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 03:35

ALMOST three-and-a-half years after it began as a seemingly routine probe into money-laundering, Operation Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) has reached a critical stage. On July 12th Sérgio Moro, a federal judge, sentenced Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former president, to almost ten years in prison, ruling that he was given an apartment worth 2.2m reais ($690,000) by a construction firm that had received padded contracts for work on an oil refinery. Congress this week began debating whether to allow a trial of the current (centre-right) president, Michel Temer, who is charged with benefiting from a bribe of $150,000, which he denies.

With the political establishment mortally threatened, calls for the corruption probes to be reined in have mounted. Lula’s lawyers say he is the innocent victim of “a politically motivated investigation”. He will remain free while he appeals, but the sentencing makes it harder for him to run for president again in 2018. It will also intensify debate as to whether...

International students may have to renew visas yearly

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 03:19
A change to foreign student visa policies being discussed at the United States Department of Homeland Security would require international students to reapply annually for permission to stay in th ...

Strong punishment for misuse of the title 'Professor'

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 02:13
The Ministry of Education and Research is proposing new legislation to punish unauthorised use of the title of professor. In a letter outlining proposed new regulations, the ministry said that tho ...

Involvement of groups that have focused on false rape claims at department summit criticized

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 00:00

The Department of Education will host a closed-door summit on sexual assault today, featuring giving sexual assault victims, due process advocates and campus leaders the chance to speak directly to Secretary Betsy DeVos.

But the department and DeVos are coming under fire for the involvement of groups considered "men's rights" organizations that have been accused of victim blaming and promoting harassment of sexual assault survivors who have come forward. While there has been an ongoing debate for years about proper protections for due process in the context of stronger enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, some of those groups are deemed by critics to be "men's rights organizations," promoting a harmful narrative about false rape claims. 

Adding to those concerns from advocates was a quote from the acting assistant secretary of civil rights to The New York Times Wednesday saying that 90 percent of campus assault allegations stemmed from both parties being drunk or having regrets over a consensual sexual encounter. Even as DeVos meets with a handful of sexual assault victims today, dissatisfied advocates are planning a rally outside the Department of Education Thursday because they don't believe the voices of assault survivors are getting the time or weight they deserve.

The secretary will meet with interested parties on Title IX today in three 90-minute blocks -- the first spent with assault victims and Title IX advocates; the second with students the department says have been falsely accused and advocates for due process; and then a session with the institutional representatives. But it's the groups invited to take part in the second session that are drawing intense scrutiny, among them the National Coalition for Men and Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE).

Advocates say both groups are known for lobbying against protections and for blaming women for assaults. They say Coalition for Men chapters have published names, photos and personal information of survivors of sexual assault, encouraging the harassment of women who report sexual violence. The group's president, Harry Crouch, in a 2014 interview with Pacific Standard magazine cited the domestic violence case of former NFL player Ray Rice as an instance of women initiating domestic assault -- what he termed the "men's violence industry."

The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified SAVE as part of a sphere of websites and forums "dedicated to savaging feminists in particular and women, very typically American women, in general."

Neither group responded to requests for comment.

DeVos spokesman Liz Hill said the purpose of the summit is for the secretary to speak directly with students who have gone through the Title IX process.

"Each student in attendance is bringing with them someone who has represented them through their individual ordeal -- whether they be a survivor of sexual assault or someone who has been falsely accused and disciplined under Title IX," Hill said. "Advocacy groups representing students from both panels will be invited to share their expertise and their experience representing their individual clients through the Title IX process."

But Laura Dunn, executive director and founder of SurvJustice, said she sees a distinction between due process advocates and men's rights organizations. SAVE in particular promotes a misleading focus on false rape claims, she said. And Dunn said both organizations have contributed to a framing about sexual violence as being an issue of "men versus women." 

"I think groups like that are dangerous," she said. 

Dunn said it doesn't hurt for the secretary to hear from a range of groups and individuals -- SurvJustice is participating in the first session today. And Dunn cited the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Families Advocating for Campus Equality, who in her experience have made respectable arguments about federal and campus-based policy. (Those groups have generally argued that many campus judicial systems fail to provide adequate due process to those accused.) But she said she is concerned about the disproportionate influence of certain "fringe" groups on the policy process at the department. 

While FIRE isn't involved in the summit, Families Advocating for Campus Equality will be part of the second session focused on disciplined students. The third session will include higher ed groups such as the American Council on Education, the National Association of College and University Attorneys, and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities organizations, as well as campus leaders and general counsels.

Neena Chaudhry, director of education and senior counsel at National Women's Law Center, which is also participating in the summit, said it's in the interest of all groups working on Title IX issues to have fair processes. The department should be working on helping campuses get that process right, she said. But the groups it has involved in its discussion of due process have "pretty extreme" track records of blaming victims, Chaudhry said.

"It raises a lot of eyebrows about where the department might be headed," she said. 

Chris Perry, a spokesman for SAVE, said the group doesn't advocate for doing away with Title IX protections and is "disappointed at these types of misrepresentations" from the group's critics. He said the group believes current sexual assault policies are shortchanging both victims of assault and accused students. 

"There should not be "sides" in this push for justice, and it would be our wish that everyone come together to produce the best possible outcome for this failing situation," he said. 

Statement That Stunned Many

The Department of Education's leadership on civil rights has been clear in its thinking that male students accused of sexual assault on campus have suffered unfair consequences and had their due process rights trampled on. In an interview with The New York Times, Candice Jackson, the acting assistant secretary for civil rights and the organizer of today's summit, described receiving hundreds of letters from students accused of sexual assault and their family members. 

Jackson told the Times that the investigative process has not been “fairly balanced between the accusing victim and the accused student." And she said 90 percent of sexual assault accusations "fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk,’ ‘we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.'"

No evidence was provided to back up Jackson's assertions, which she apologized for after they were published. Jackson, a survivor of sexual assault herself, said he remarks were "flippant" and that all sexual assault must be taken seriously.

But the damage was done, with advocates and women's groups who were already troubled by the groups included in meetings with DeVos today. 

Sejal Singh, a policy coordinator with Know Your IX, said Jackson's claim was divorced from reality and that the meetings with the Coalition for Men and SAVE are a "slap in the face" to assault survivors. 

"It’s disturbing that Secretary DeVos and Acting Assistant Secretary Jackson have spent far more time listening to naked misogynists and university lobbyists than they have spent listening to survivors and students, or learning the facts," she said. 

Editorial Tags: Trump administrationSexual assaultIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

House bill would shield indirect research costs, increase NIH and college prep programs

Inside Higher Ed - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 00:00

The Trump administration's first budget proposal was greeted coolly by Republican lawmakers (amid deep consternation from advocates for higher education) when it was released in May. Many members of Congress avoided direct criticism but suggested they would not go along with major cuts in popular programs, including a plan to slash the rates at which the government reimburses universities for their own spending on research overhead.

Wednesday President Trump's party offered a more direct rebuke, as the appropriations panel in the House of Representatives released a 2018 spending bill that rejects most of the administration's proposed changes.

Although the legislation is just the first step in what is likely to be a long (and potentially contentious) process of setting federal spending for the fiscal year that begins in October, the mark laid down by the Republicans who control the House clearly suggests that the draconian cuts the administration envisioned will not come to pass.

The legislation, which a subcommittee is scheduled to consider Thursday, would lower overall spending on the education, labor and health programs covered by the bill. But protecting most major programs important to higher education, it would:

  • Specifically bar the National Institutes of Health from changing how it reimburses research institutions for their indirect costs.
  • Increase spending on the NIH by $1.1 billion, instead of the nearly 20 percent cut suggested in the administration's budget.
  • Keep the maximum Pell Grant at $5,920, but take $3.3 billion of the program's $8.5 billion surplus to further the panel's goal of cutting government spending.
  • Sustain level funding for the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Program and the Federal Work-Study Program. The Trump budget proposed eliminating the former and gutting the latter.
  • Lift (rather than decrease) spending on both the TRIO and GEAR UP programs that help first-generation students prepare for college. The TRIO program would receive a total of $1.01 billion, up $60 million from 2017, and GEAR UP would receive a $10 million boost, to $350 million. The White House had proposed $808 million and $219 million, respectively.
  • Fund the Corporation for National and Community Service at $1 billion, the same as in 2017, which would presumably sustain the AmeriCorps national service program, which the administration's budget would have killed.

"For a third consecutive year, it allocates a significant funding increase of $1.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, which will benefit a wide range of biomedical programs," Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican who heads the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies, said in a news release about the bill.

"In rejecting the proposal to dramatically slash federal funding for facilities and administrative expenses, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies made it clear that it recognizes these are actual research costs universities incur," Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, said in a prepared statement.

Advocates for students criticized the proposed rescission of the Pell program's surplus, which they noted would come on top of $1.3 billion redirected for the 2017 fiscal year. "This $3.3 billion cut is the equivalent of the average Pell Grant award for nearly 900,000 students -- more than the number of Pell Grant recipients attending college in Texas, Pennsylvania and Iowa combined," Jessica Thompson, policy and research director at the Institute for College Access and Success, said in a statement.

Editorial Tags: BudgetResearchImage Caption: Tom Cole, chairman of the House panelIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

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