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Judy C. Miner, Chancellor of Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Elected ACE Board Chair

American Council on Education - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 03:00
ACE's membership also elected Barbara R. Snyder, president of Case Western Reserve University, as vice chair; and R. Barbara Gitenstein, president of The College of New Jersey, secretary.

US: international students top 1.18 million

The PIE News - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 02:57

There has been an 18% rise in the number of Nepalese students studying in the US over the last year, growing at a rate that far outstripped the overall 2% growth in international student numbers, which reached 1.18 million in May 2017.

More than three-quarters (77%) of the 1,184,735 international students in the US on an F-1 (academic), M-1 (vocational) or J-1 (exchange visitor) visa came from Asia, SEVIS statistics show.

“We are encouraged to see growth in international students from countries such as Nepal”

Close to a third – 362,368 – came from China, while 206,698 came from India, up 7% on the previous year.

South Korea and Saudi Arabia followed some way behind with 71,204 and 55,806 students respectively. However, both markets saw a decrease in students coming to the US in 2017.

An 18% plummet in Saudi students follows a crash in oil prices and drastic cuts to the outbound King Abdullah Scholarship Program, which have dramatically curbed outbound mobility.

Meanwhile, the number of South Korean students dropped by 7%, following a worldwide trend that has taken shape in the last few years as fewer Korean students have opted to study abroad.

There was better news in Vietnam, the fifth largest source of students, where numbers climbed 6% to reach 30,279.

Taiwan, Canada, Japan, Brazil and Mexico completed the top 10 sending countries.

But the most notable shift came from Nepal, which accounted for the most rapidly growing cohort of international students.

Nearly 15,000 Nepalese students were studying in the US in May 2017 – up 18% compared to the year before.

The sharp rise is in no small part driven by ongoing political turmoil in the country pushing students to look overseas, coupled with the after-effects of a devastating earthquake in April 2015 that killed nearly 9,000 people, according to Rajika Bhandari, IIE‘s deputy vice president, research and evaluation.

“The fact of the matter is that the earthquake about two years ago completely decimated the higher education infrastructure in Nepal,” Bhandari told The PIE News.

“And the US has a fairly large Nepalese diaspora, so students who have been displaced and were looking to go outside to study might be attracted to the US,” she added.

More than 3,000 students from Nepal were studying in Texas in May 2017, and Texas State University is one of a number of institutions that has seen an spike in interest from the country. Applications from Nepalese students to study at Texas State grew 92% between fall 2015 and fall 2016.

84% of Indian students in the US were studying STEM subjects

“We are encouraged to see growth in international students from countries such as Nepal, as we always welcome the diverse perspectives these students bring to our campus community,” commented Ryan Buck, assistant vice president for international affairs.

“These trends are positive for students, universities, and employers in Texas and around the world.”

California, New York and Texas retained their traditional positions as the top three destinations for international students, with just over a third of the total (35%) heading to one of the three states.

California alone claimed nearly a sixth of the US’s international students: 200,809 in total.

One in ten students attended one of just 10 education institutions: New York University, University of Southern California, Northeastern University, Columbia University, Arizona State University, University of Illinois, Purdue University, Pennsylvania State University, City University of New York and Indiana University.

But in contrast, 76% of schools hosting international students have 50 or fewer enrolled.

More than half of the US’s international students – nearly 514,000 – were enrolled on STEM degrees.

Of these STEM students, more than a third (39%) were enrolled on engineering courses.

The dominance of STEM shows no signs of waning, with the number of degree-level STEM students up 8% on last year: four times the overall growth rate.

India accounted for the largest number of STEM students – an unsurprising statistic, given that 84% of Indian students in the US were studying STEM subjects.

 

The post US: international students top 1.18 million appeared first on The PIE News.

Surveys document declines in international student yield rates

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

Survey results released Thursday offer a first look at yield rates of prospective international students -- that is, the percentage who accept an offer of admission for the fall -- and suggest that universities may see different patterns depending on where in the U.S. they’re located.

The yield rate for international undergraduates declined modestly from 26 to 24 percent from fall 2016 to fall 2017, a dip that’s on par with a decline in the domestic student yield rate from 30 to 28 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education in conjunction with four other higher education groups. However, the overall two-percentage-point drop masks significant variations in yield rates across regions -- with the biggest declines in yield rates reported by institutions in Southern states -- and colleges in general are reporting high levels of concern among some groups of prospective international students about their safety and ability to obtain a visa.

Meanwhile, 46 percent of graduate school deans reported declines in yield rates of two percentage points or more at the master’s level, and 31 percent reported such declines at the doctoral level, according to a separate survey from the Council of Graduate Schools. The CGS survey did not ask about absolute yield rates, but asked instead about relative declines and gains compared to the fall 2016 admission cycle.

The context for these two surveys is the widespread concern that large numbers of prospective international students might stay away from the U.S. due to perceptions of a less welcoming climate toward immigrants and international visitors and difficulties obtaining a visa under what President Trump has described as more “extreme vetting” processes. Higher education professionals have also expressed concern about the unwelcoming message sent by Trump's partially blocked travel ban barring entry for nationals of six Muslim-majority nations (a legal challenge to the ban will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in October) and there is continuing uncertainty about what changes, if any, the Trump administration will propose for the H-1B visa program, which many international students use as a pathway to work in the U.S. (Trump directed a review of the H-1B visa program in April, though it's worth noting that one possible change floated by the administration -- adjusting the lottery to give an advantage to master's degree holders -- could potentially benefit international students).

A survey released this spring showed that nearly four in 10 colleges reported declines in the number of international student applications they received from fall 2016 to fall 2017.

“We need to be mindful of where the survey’s coming from,” said Rajika Bhandari, the head of research, policy and practice at IIE. “Over the past six or seven months, there’s been so much anxiety and speculation in U.S. higher education about whether international students will continue to come to the U.S. in large numbers.”

“The fact that our findings show that in fact there’s just a two-percentage-point drop in admissions yield compared to last year to me is a pretty big finding in that it shows us that the situation is not as dire as everybody had predicted,” Bhandari said. “In terms of what does that mean for institutions, it could go either way. What we did hear from institutions is that many of them were continuing to receive acceptances of admissions offers from international students and that the process wouldn't be completed for a while. It could mean that when we look at international enrollments, numbers might be up by a small amount or they might decline by a small amount. It’s too small of a difference to predict a definitive trend this fall.”

“That being said, we are seeing quite a diversity in terms of the impact that the developments over the past six months have had on institutions,” she continued. “Even though it might be just a two-percentage-point drop in undergraduate yield on average, it affects different institutions differently, and it affects different types of students.”

Undergraduate Yield

The IIE-led survey, which is based on responses from 112 institutions that together account for about 16 percent of all undergraduate international student enrollment, found variations across geographic regions. Institutions in the South saw the biggest decreases in admissions offers to international students (down 13 percent) and in yield (which fell by five percentage points, from 35 to 30 percent).

Of the four states that host the most international students -- California, New York, Texas and Massachusetts -- institutions in California saw a two-percentage-point increase in international student yield rates, while yield rates in Massachusetts and New York were flat. Texas, however, reported an 18 percent decline in international admission offers and a drop in the yield rate from 44 to 35 percent. (Even with the decline, the yield rates of Texas institutions are higher than the national average, however.)

Asked whether this might be a blue-state/red-state situation, Bhandari said, “It’s possible. We know international students are very savvy consumers of information and that they look at all of these things very carefully when they make their decisions. We know that in Texas, possibly because of the gun-carry law, there may be more of a concern on the part of prospective students about their personal safety. If one were to correlate this further, our findings do show that Indian students are more concerned about their personal safety in the U.S. than students from some other regions, and we know that Texas has always attracted a very large number of Indian students.”

Eighty percent of university officials who responded to the survey reported concerns among admitted Indian students about physical safety, and 31 percent cited concerns about admitted Indian students feeling unwelcome in the U.S. (see figure at left). The shooting of two Indian engineers, one of whom died, in a bar in Kansas in February in what is believed to have been a racially motivated attack has been extensively covered in the press in India.

Institutions reported that students from China, by contrast, were most concerned about postgraduation employment opportunities. China and India together account for close to half of all international students in the U.S. The universities that responded to the survey reported that their admissions offers to Indian students increased by 12 percent, while yield declined from 27 to 23 percent. For Chinese students, institutions reported an 8 percent increase in admissions offers and a decline in yield from 25 to 23 percent.

“With large applicant pools in past years and minimal concerns raised by Chinese students over safety or visa processing, stability within the [East] Asian student market appears to persist, barring any possible changes to immigration policy that impact employment opportunity, since that issue is of most concern to Asian students according to the survey,” the report on the survey results states. “Although application totals appearing [sic] to largely remain stable, yield rates and a concern about personal safety suggest the possibility that Indian students may not continue to grow as the second-largest international group in U.S. higher education. Their concerns may lead some Indian students to accept admissions offers from other leading host countries, especially from those that issue student visas more quickly.”

“The Middle East student population may be the most concerning,” the report continues. “Middle Eastern and North African students accounted for 12 percent of international undergraduates in 2015-16, but a decrease in applications coupled with substantial and valid concerns from students and admissions professionals suggests possible declines in the number of students traveling to the United States from the Middle East and North Africa for their education.”

Institutions reported high levels of concern among Middle Eastern prospective students about their ability to obtain visas and about feeling unwelcome in the U.S. The report does not provide a breakdown of yield rates for students from the Middle East, saying that due "to small response rates about admissions offers and deposits from students from the Middle East, it is not possible to identify potential patterns in yield among students from this region."

The IIE-led survey also looked at differences in international student yield rates by institution type. The yield rate for doctoral-level institutions declined modestly from 26 to 24 percent, while master's-level colleges and universities reported a bigger drop, from 26 percent to 19 percent. The yield rate for baccalaureate colleges fell from 27 to 24 percent.

Graduate Yield

The fact that 46 percent of graduate deans reported declines in yield rates for prospective international master's students is a data point that's likely to be especially concerning to universities, given that master’s and certificate-level students accounted for 78 percent of first-time international graduate students at U.S. universities in fall 2016, according to Council of Graduate Schools data.

In its separate survey of graduate school deans, the council found that the percentage reporting declines in international student yield rates for doctoral programs was lower, at 31 percent, but there were variations across types of institutions, with deans at the less research-intensive universities (R-2 and R-3 institutions) more likely to report declines in yield than the more well-known, most research-intensive (R-1) universities. Forty-two percent of graduate deans at R-2 and R-3 institutions reported declines in yield for international doctoral students, compared to only 27 percent of deans at R-1 institutions.

Fifty-two percent of deans -- and 60 percent at R-1 institutions -- reported declines in admission yield for students from the Middle East and North Africa region, while 42 percent reported declines in yield from Asia. The survey, which is based on 176 institutional responses, representing a 38 percent response rate, does not include a country-by-country breakdown.

In an article on the CGS website, Hironao Okahana, the group's assistant vice president for research and policy analysis, wrote that “the decline in admission yields suggests that fewer students are willing to take up opportunities to pursue graduate education in the United States, even when acceptance into a degree program is offered to them. Prospective international graduate students appear more likely, in particular, to turn down those opportunities at the master’s level, as well as at R-2 and R-3 institutions. While the survey cannot pinpoint particular factors that might be shaping such shifts, the uncertainty with prospects of postgraduate school employment under optional practical training and/or H-1B visa programs, as well as opportunities to pursue graduate education in other English-speaking countries, may in part explain some of [the] declines graduate deans are observing.”

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Delay by DeVos means reprieve for poor-performing programs

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

When Betsy DeVos announced the delay of key provisions of the gainful-employment rule last week, she said the Obama-era regulation would limit the kinds of education students could pursue.

And a notice of the delay in the Federal Register went farther, citing a recent court order partially blocking enforcement of the rule for cosmetology programs.

Like other steps DeVos has taken on higher ed regulation, though, the response goes far beyond the remedy sought in a legal challenge to student protections. The delay gives all nondegree programs subject to the rule more time to file alternative earnings appeals -- which allow programs to address graduates' underreported income from tips or self-employment -- originally due June 30. And it puts off for another year certain disclosure requirements about program performance.

Although DeVos announced last month that she would undertake a rewrite of gainful employment via a negotiated rule-making process, the rule remains on the books. And 800 programs are currently failing the ratings under the rule, which went into effect last year.

The for-profit sector has argued in court and elsewhere that the rule unfairly penalizes smaller programs providing training students wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. But the list of programs deemed failing or placed on a probationary status includes some operated by large, private equity-owned institutions.

A quarter of the programs appealing failing gainful-employment ratings are operated by four large for-profit college chains -- Vatterott College, Virginia College, Academy of Art University and Centura College.

Those programs include fields like cosmetology and barbering, which the for-profit sector has argued sees workers’ real wages underrepresented in gainful-employment data collected by the federal government. But most are for nontipped professions, including culinary arts, criminal justice or medical assistant positions. And critics of for-profit colleges say that these kinds of data are precisely what prospective students need to see.

Graduates of Vatterott College’s associate degree for a pharmacy technician, for example, had the equivalent of 29 percent of $15,498 in annual earnings go to student loan payments.

Among the other programs appealing failing gainful-employment ratings:

  • Graduates of Virginia College’s associate degree in computer systems networking and telecommunications pay more than 13 percent of typical annual earnings of $26,037 to student loans.
  • Graduates of the associate degree program for legal assistants and paralegals at Centura College have more than a quarter of a typical annual salary of $10,617 go toward student loan payments.
  • For the master’s in illustration program at Academy of Art University, 21.6 percent of a typical $22,793 annual salary goes toward student loan payments.

The ratings for all of those programs are under appeal.

Out of the failing programs, 289 are under appeal. Another 247 programs are appealing a “zone” rating equivalent to probation. (See gainful-employment data here.)

Before the department delayed parts of the rule, some institutions responded to gainful-employment data by closing programs or shrinking enrollment. In a widely touted example, Harvard University suspended admissions for a graduate program in theater after failing the standards. And the Art Institutes chain, among the institutions with the most failing programs, has been closing programs since 2015, the most recent year measured in the ratings.

The rule was crafted to put a spotlight on programs producing graduates with extremely high ratios of debt to income -- and to eventually remove access to federal aid if they don’t improve.

In a lawsuit filed this year challenging the rule, an association of cosmetology schools argued those programs were unfairly penalized for because the government data don’t reflect graduates’ real income. Although a court order in that case partially blocked enforcement of the rule, the current gainful-employment rule has been upheld multiple times by the courts, despite indications otherwise in a statement from DeVos last week.

DeVos said in response to the court order last month that she would extend earnings appeals for all programs. She also said she would delay for a year disclosure requirements for the nondegree programs subject to gainful employment.

That means that in its promotional materials, Vatterott won’t have to make prospective students aware of the typical debt load for pharmacy tech graduates, or the paltry average salary.

“What we’re accomplishing here by delaying the effectiveness of the rule is making it harder for students to make good choices,” said David Bergeron, a fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former Department of Education official.

Bergeron added that it was hard to understand why the department would suspend those disclosure requirements as well as more punitive aspects of the rule.

“It comes down to the question of whether you think it’s important that students have this information when they’re making a decision on whether or when to enroll,” said Pauline Abernathy, executive vice president of the Institute for College Access and Success. “Through a negotiated rule-making and public comments process, the conclusion was yes, this is important material for students to have.”

Representatives of the for-profit sector have argued that gainful-employment standards should apply to all higher ed programs, not just the nondegree career programs concentrated at proprietary institutions. Others have argued that providing more data and transparency to students was worthwhile but that the department shouldn’t have attached such serious penalties to the ratings when the value of data used was heavily contested.

Trace Urdan, an independent industry analyst, said investors in the sector prefer to have as much information as possible about the performance of vocational programs. And while large for-profit chains have likely taken steps to bring programs into compliance with the rule, smaller proprietary institutions with fewer resources will be slower to respond, he said.

Urdan said for those programs, a requirement that they disclose failing outcomes to prospective students could have a real financial impact.

“Those schools are more directly affected at this stage of the game,” he said.

The department next week will hold the first public hearings as part of an administrative process to rewrite the rule. But a longer-term fix for the program will only come through legislative action, Urdan said.

The DeVos announcement came as private equity firm TA Associates, the parent company of Vatterott, is attempting to sell the chain of for-profit colleges. Late last month, Vatterott filed for receivership as it seeks a buyer. A spokeswoman for TA Associates did not return a request for comment.

“They were definitely helped,” Urdan said. “But it doesn’t solve their problems.”

Proponents of stronger regulation in the for-profit sector worry that while the department attempts an overhaul of gainful employment via negotiated rule making, DeVos will also slow walk enforcement of the rule already on the books.

Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities, said it’s no surprise that the administration would slow enforcement of the rule as it prepares to draft an alternative. If the for-profit association had its way, there wouldn’t be further data collection for gainful employment while the rule is rewritten.

“In fairness, she found a middle ground here,” he said of DeVos.

Gunderson said he plans at hearings next week to state the group’s support of a gainful-employment rule that takes into account the concerns of the sector. But he argued that the rule has already achieved many of the objectives of proponents before it fully went into effect.

“Those who advocated for GE should declare victory and go home,” he said. “The reality is the really worst examples that drove them to advocate for the gainful-employment rule -- those programs no longer exist.”

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Questions on funding and disclosure surround article advocating more economic analysis at the FCC

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

“Net neutrality” is an innocuous term for a concept that’s invoked heated debate both inside and outside academe. The idea that service providers must treat all internet data the same -- regardless of who’s using what content, or how -- has fierce proponents and critics, with the former championing the free exchange of ideas and the latter, the free market.

With the Trump administration planning to do away with Obama-era net neutrality rules endorsed by consumer groups (and many academics) and loathed by telecom companies, such discussions have reached a new pitch. The site of the latest academic flare-up is the International Journal of Communication, where an article with implications for net neutrality first appeared without a disclosure of funding from an industry group.

The authors of the paper say it was an accidental oversight that was quickly fixed. Their critics argue transparency is everything when it comes to research that’s already been cited by key policy makers.

“Academics depend on and are committed to the free circulation of knowledge, which net neutrality guarantees,” said Jeff Pooley, an associate professor of media and communication at Muhlenberg College who helped bring the lack of disclosure to light. He also co-authored a journal feature on it, which included a general critique of what he called the original paper’s “flimsy” arguments.

The Curious Absence of Economic Analysis at the Federal Communications Commission: An Agency in Search of a Mission” was published this spring in the International Journal of Communication by Gerald R. Faulhaber, a professor emeritus of business economics and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and Hal J. Singer and Augustus H. Urschel of the consulting group Economists Incorporated. The paper argues that the Federal Communications Commission has, over time, moved away from using economic analysis in its decision making. It’s especially critical of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order expanding net neutrality rules and classifying broadband internet as a public utility, and argues that a congressional mandate is the most direct way to “reinject” economic analysis into the body. While other federal agencies and departments perform rigorous cost-benefit analyses, the paper says, the FCC relies on “populism” as its guiding principle.

The article is adapted from a longer white paper previously submitted to the FCC by CALinnovates, a Silicon Valley-based tech advocacy group with ties to AT&T. It has argued against turning the internet into a utility on the grounds that it stifles innovation. CALinnovates funded the paper, but a disclosure did not appear with the journal article upon its initial publication.

Pooley and his collaborator, Dwayne Winseck, a professor of journalism and communication at Carleton University in Canada, noticed the oversight and alerted the authors and the journal. A basic footnote thanking CALinnovates for funding was added within two weeks, followed by a lengthier one noting that the paper was previously submitted to the FCC and appears on the website of CALinnovates.

Simple Mistake?

Faulhaber said this week that the fault was his: when he submitted the article to the journal, he stripped it of all identifying features for the blind peer-review process and simply forgot to put the funding footnote back in prior to publication. Both he and Singer, reached via telephone, denied that CALinnovates had any influence on their conclusions; moreover, they said, they’ve each documented their respective critiques of net neutrality in previous publications.

Singer also said that peer reviewers and others who did an internet search on the article would have immediately discovered the connection to CALinnovates, via the original white paper.

Faulhaber said of Pooley and Winseck, “They seem to be more interested in taking CALinnovates to task and using our paper as a vehicle.”

Pooley said he didn’t imagine the case was one of deliberate oversight, but that it mattered nonetheless, since it’s unlikely -- in his view -- that any funding disclosure would have been added without intervention. He and Winseck published a feature in the journal explaining their finding and pointing to a broader problem with business interests using academic research for “information laundering.” Their note also counters the original paper’s claim that economic analysis is not central to FCC decisions.

An “industry front group funded research that got published in a leading academic journal,” Pooley and Winseck wrote, noting that Ajit Pai, Trump’s appointed chairman to the FCC, has cited the CALinnovates-funded paper with no mention of CALinnovates itself. Pai also recently announced that the FCC will create an Office of Economics and Data.

“The paper’s core claim that the FCC has ‘abandon[ed] the dismal science,’ moreover, does not hold water,” they said. “We show that the record was stuffed full with the contributions of economists -- including those of the authors. The agency has been working in earnest to bolster, not sideline, economic analysis -- a conclusion in line with other researchers’ findings.”

Not Just Another Academic Disagreement

It might have been a fairly typical academic dispute, but Pooley said CALinnovates sent a series of emails to the journal and its home institution, the University of Southern California, describing his pending response as an “attack.” In the emails, lawyers for CALinnovates also alleged that Winseck failed to disclose his own ties to Google and Mozilla, which fund OpenMedia, a Canadian pro-net neutrality advocacy group with which he is affiliated.

“Please share the timeline for publication. Please identify all sources of Winseck and Pooley's funding,” a lawyer for CALinnovates wrote to the journal in one letter. “Should the required disclosures fail to have been made, we ask that the IJoC refuse to publish the paper. Should IJoC choose to move forward with publication regardless of the baseless attacks and lack of disclosures, we request that all nonacademic commentary regarding CALinnovates at-large be removed from the paper prior to publication.”

Another letter reads, “The IJoC’s Code of Ethics calls for the publication process to be ‘objective and fair.’ If the [note] is published in its entirety, we believe the IJoC will have fallen short of its stated ethics code.” (The authors refute that the affiliation amounts to anything of substance and say their paper was in no way financed by Google or Mozilla.)

A spokesperson for CALinnovates said Thursday that it "did express serious concerns with the initial paper it saw because it contained factual inaccuracies.”

Arlene Luck, managing editor of the journal, said via email that it received "pressure, including a letter from a libel attorney to the USC general counsel, regarding allegations of libelous statements in the reply." But Winseck and Pooley provided documentation for all of the challenged points, she said. In the end, one "small detail" was changed, as "although it conformed with a statement on the CALinnovates website, it seemed incorrect. Otherwise, the Winseck/Pooley reply was published without changes, other than those recommended by our peer reviewer and through standard copyediting."

The journal allowed both CALinnovates and the authors of the original article to publish responses to Pooley and Winseck.

The title of the CALinnovates piece, written by Mike Montgomery, executive director, kind of says it all: “Wrong, Unsupported and Irrelevant.” But here’s a bit more: “CALinnovates has long advocated for a third-way approach to solving this decade-long battle royale. From the beginning, CALinnovates has supported the principles of net neutrality. We believe net neutrality forms the foundation of free expression, competition, investment and economic prosperity online. But we have serious concerns about the foundation on which net neutrality currently teeters as well as the ongoing uncertainty of the regulation based on the whims of who is the FCC chairman at the time.”

Faulhaber, Singer and Urschel, meanwhile, wrote that a “brief hiccup prevented readers from seeing [the funding] disclaimer for a short period after its initial posting. To our knowledge, CALinnovates has not advocated an increased role for economics or the use of cost-benefit analysis at the FCC. Nevertheless, the repliers choose to devote much of the reply (six pages in total) to positions that CALinnovates has taken in past and current proceedings, none of which were even discussed in our article.”

High Stakes

Singer said he disapproved of “ad hominem attacks” included in Pooley and Winseck’s article, but Pooley said there’s nothing personal about the exchange. Rather, he said, it’s about shining a light on the net neutrality debate and rollback proposal (which includes a cost-benefit analysis at the FCC) before a public comment period ends July 17.

“I probably wouldn’t have devoted two months of my life to researching and [writing] this response if this had not been so pressing,” Pooley said, “or had the stakes not been so high.”

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Mizzou's new method to try to limit student debt

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

At the University of Missouri at Columbia, students can whip out their college ID and use it exactly like a credit card, to charge food, clothes, toiletries, even an Xbox -- anything available for purchase on campus -- to pay off later.

Not so next month, when the university will limit what can be bought through this method to just textbooks and other academic materials in the university store, a move meant to stymie students' debt and preserve their academic standing.

Mizzou has encountered this problem: students sometimes don't pay their account balances, which eventually means they can't enroll in classes, said Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies.

Of the roughly 1,800 students who dropped out from the spring to the next fall semester, about 34 percent have a financial hold on their account, Spain said. A little less than half of those holds can be attributed to buying nonacademic items, he said -- and not paying.

The university store functions like any Target or Walmart -- students can buy food, Mizzou-branded clothes, makeup and electronics there, Spain said. While the university won’t re-evaluate stocking some of the most glamorous options, which he said would remain as part of the normal operations of the store, the institution is attempting to review students’ financial access to them. Students can still buy these items with typical credit cards or cash -- and students aren't always responsible with their credit cards.

The university card caps charges at about $1,200 per semester.

Students at Mizzou can still use their student IDs to pay for products elsewhere on campus, outside the store, like at the recreation center, or even for campus spa services -- massages, facials and waxes.

Many student expenses fall outside what Mizzou is now limiting, said David Helene, who founded a company called Edquity, which offers digital tools for college budget planning. Helene said the administration’s choice to change student spending is one of “good faith” but it’s unclear it will produce desired results, particularly for poorer families.

Though imprudent spending choices may lead to dropouts, experts say that more often low-income students, especially, struggle to pay for college at all, research indicates. A report from the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, part of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, shows that more than 70 percent of 19,000 undergraduate students interviewed in 2014 were at least sometimes worried they couldn’t afford college.

“For low- and moderate-income students in particular, it’s unclear students aren’t simply spending money on things like bills, health-care expenses and the like that are essential to either their own or their families' welfare,” Helene wrote in an email. “As it strikes me that this was a safe and reliable form of financing for students -- one that also helped with cash flow, which for students can be extremely irregular and difficult to manage -- it’s possible students may subsequently resort to student loans or other credit products to try to fill this void.”

Spain acknowledged that students can pay in other ways but said that those options wouldn’t jeopardize a student’s standing at the university. He said in the worst-case scenario, the university would have to pursue the outstanding charges through a collection agency, which would also affect a student’s credit rating. The university would also withhold students’ transcripts, which would prevent them from transferring, Spain said.

“We’re going to be looking deeper at our processes and policies and trying to further advance student success by improving their financial relationship with the institution,” he said.

In his experience, Helene said, most students prefer a debit or preloaded credit card, especially after the federal Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure -- or CARD -- Act of 2009, which offered new protections against credit card fraud and unfair fees and payment structures.

Paul Golden, a spokesman with the nonprofit National Endowment for Financial Education, said that many felt the CARD legislation solved all the issues -- but it’s still up to the consumer to take ownership and read the fine print of credit card agreements.

Students are still adjusting to this, Golden said. They are particularly vulnerable because often they have a new degree of financial freedom, he said. His organization has been following 2,000 college students in a decade-long longitudinal study and found that often they formed poor spending habits early on in college.

“It seems to be a good idea … it gets people mindful and thoughtful about their spending decisions and what’s going on,” Golden said of the Mizzou changes.

Some students, however, have criticized the shift, claiming the administration didn’t consult them.

One member of the university’s student senate, Jacob Addington, posted to Twitter, saying that students deserved “to have a voice” because it’s a massive change to the way they purchase items.

This set off a digital debate, with another person replying that while some policies deserve student input, this was not one of them.

Spain said that in the past 18 months the university has conducted focus groups with students about wider financial issues than just the charge card. He said he could not identify how many sessions the university has held, because the employee running them left Mizzou.

Another student, Tim Davis, wrote on Twitter that some students couldn’t afford food without the charge option.

“Not all parents pay for their child's education, and when I have no money at the moment to buy food, I am glad that student charge exists,” his tweet reads.

Spain said that much of the student criticism stemmed from them feeling that charging purchases to their ID was most convenient.

In a poll that the student senate conducted on Twitter, 80 percent of the nearly 500 who responded said they disagreed with the decision.

Editorial Tags: Student lifeImage Caption: The University of Missouri's store Is this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

Colleges award tenure

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

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Polina Anikeeva, materials science and engineering
  • Cullen Buie, mechanical engineering
  • Mircea Dincă, chemistry
  • Liang Fu, physics
  • Jeff Gore, physics
  • John Hart, mechanical engineering
  • Jeremiah Johnson, chemistry
  • Nuno Loureiro, nuclear science and engineering
  • Timothy Lu, electrical engineering and computer science
  • Bradley Olsen, chemical engineering
  • Brad Pentelute, chemistry
  • Katharina Ribbeck, biological engineering
  • Yuriy Roman, chemical engineering
  • Jesse Thaler, physics
  • Jessika Trancik, energy studies
  • Matthew Vander Heiden, biology
  • Ryan Williams, electrical engineering and computer science
  • Xuanhe Zhao, mechanical engineering

Wesleyan University

  • Anthony Ryan Hatch, science in society
  • Basak Kus, sociology
  • Courtney Weiss Smith, English

Winthrop University

  • Kristen Abernathy, mathematics
  • Leslie Bickford, English
  • Nathaniel Frederick, mass communication
  • Douglas Presley, music
  • Scott Shinabargar, world languages
  • Pamela Wash, education
Editorial Tags: Tenure listIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: 

One in four humanities academics have not published

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 23:48
There are pockets of excellence but no groups or institutions reached the highest levels of international performance and more than one in four research staff have not published, according to the ...

One Activist Has Hundreds of Colleges Under the Gun to Fix Their Websites

A Michigan woman says it takes her only half an hour to alert the Education Department that a college appears to be violating disability-rights laws.

A Wave of Disability-Lawsuit Threats Against Colleges May Have Receded

A Pittsburgh law firm appears to have walked away after telling dozens of colleges it might sue them over their online courses’ inaccessibility.

Government rushes closure of Kashmir universities

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 15:33
Thousands of students in Indian administered Kashmir were surprised as the government announced a 10-day summer vacation for schools, colleges and universities starting 6 July.

The vacation, u ...

Assessing the Travel Ban: What New Data on Overseas Recruitment Does — and Doesn’t — Tell Us

The Chronicle of Higher Education (Global) - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 12:29
Here are three takeaways from the latest studies on whether President Trump’s policies and rhetoric have affected student interest from abroad.

Surveys split on outlook for international enrolment

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 10:29
The results of two surveys give conflicting messages about the willingness of international students to enrol in courses in United States universities that had awarded them places - also known as ...

Hotcourses: student searches for US, UK and Australia drop

The PIE News - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:19

Australia has joined the UK and US in experiencing a fall in interest as a study destination, according to new study search data from Hotcourses, while interest in Canada has spiked over the past year.

Based on data from over 11 million students, the report, which looks at how global demand for education has shifted over the past year, illustrates that the top three study destinations have been losing their global share of study searches among students.

The global share of searches for the UK on the Hotcourses platform has fallen by 2.4% to 25.6% in the year following the EU referendum in June 2016, compared to the year before.

Meanwhile in the same time period, the share of interest in the US has fallen by 3.8% to 31.9%.

The report looks at searches to seven top study destinations: the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Ireland.

“For the UK it did start to recover from November onwards, ie when Trump was elected”

The results reflect original assumptions that interest in studying in the UK and the US would shift to other destinations post-Brexit and post-Trump.

For example, the decrease in interest for the UK is more defined when honing in on data from European students. Searches for universities in the UK fell 6.2% to 30.7% of all searches in the last 12 months.

And unsurprisingly, a similar picture is painted for the US, which had second biggest share of searches to having the third, accounting for 18.6% of all searches for the seven destination countries. Ireland’s share, meanwhile, increased by 9.5%, taking the second biggest share.

The drop in US study searches from students in all countries was particularly prominent in the immediate aftermath of the presidential election. “There was an absolute speeding up when the travel ban was announced among Middle Eastern students as you might expect,” observed Simon Emmett, chief executive of Hotcourses Group.

“For the UK there was a bigger decline in the period from June to November but it did start to recover from November onwards, ie when Trump was elected.”

Australia is the third major destination country out of the seven that has also seen a fall in its share of global searches – by 1%.

Though small, Australia’s shrinking global share of searches is more accentuated among some of the markets highlighted in the report, including from Poland – with a share decrease of 6.6%.

Emmet said the drop in share of students looking at Australia was surprising considering visa data is showing an uptick in the number of international students.

“Their visa data doesn’t mirror enrolments however, and it’s also possible that these students started their research journeys much earlier and weren’t captured in the data,” he said.

Australia is also facing tough competition from other destinations including Canada, Germany and Ireland, said Emmett.

“Australia is getting a smaller slice from a bigger cake”

“Its overall share has decreased, but overall numbers are up, so it’s getting a smaller slice from a bigger cake,” he commented.

While the top three destinations have seen their overall searches fall, the biggest increase was seen for students looking at Canada – its share increased by 5.7% to 10.6%.

Looking at individual source markets, Canada’s share of searches increased across all of them, most notably from non-European countries.

In India, searches about Canada grew by double digits, 14.9%, making it the most popular destination country of the seven among Indian students, and accounting for just under a quarter (22.6%) of all searches from these students.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, it is possible that trends will stabilise, according to Emmett.

“It’s possible that applications may end up flat or even increase,” he said. “There is more competition globally, but there also is a bigger pool of students to recruit from, which is promising.”

The post Hotcourses: student searches for US, UK and Australia drop appeared first on The PIE News.

Archaeologists discover a gruesome tower of skulls in Mexico City

Economist, North America - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 07:50

Montezuma’s grim harvest

THE Aztecs were not gracious victors. Their prisoners of war were frequently used for human sacrifice, as part of spectacles in which their hearts would be ripped from their bodies by priests, to be offered, still beating, to the gods. Their heads fared no better, usually ending up in a kind of skull wall, called a tzompantli in Nahuatl, the Aztec language. In its typical form it consisted of a platform, with posts connected by crossbeams onto which skulls would be threaded. Tzompantlis were generally placed in front of temples, so that friend and foe alike would be awed by the state’s power.

In 2015 archaeologists identified the Huey (Great) Tzompantli, a particularly impressive version. It stood near the main temple of Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital on whose remains Hernán Cortés founded Mexico City after the Spanish conquest in 1521. As the digging season wrapped up last month,...

The Brazilian army is turning into a de facto police force

Economist, North America - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 07:50

FEW places illustrate the modern role of the Brazilian army better than Tabatinga, a city of 62,000 on the shared border point between Brazil, Colombia and Peru. The frontier, protected by Amazon rainforest, has not budged since the Portuguese built a now-ruined fort there in the 1700s. But Júlio Nagy, a local commander, has his sights trained on unconventional threats. In February and March his troops intercepted 3.7 tonnes of cannabis. Last year they destroyed an airstrip built by illegal gold miners. Inside a small army-run zoo—home to toucans, a jaguar and even a manatee—garish macaws rescued from animal traffickers squawk intermittently.

...

Turmoil in British Columbia could endanger a Canadian climate pact

Economist, North America - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 07:50

CANADA is a country of balancing acts. It treasures its reputation as an upstanding global citizen while pumping heavy oil from its tar sands. Its relatively weak federal government must strike compromises among provinces with varying ideologies, cultures and languages. Both of those tasks may have become harder after the fall of the Liberal Party’s government in British Columbia (BC) on June 29th.

Among the signature policies of Justin Trudeau, the Liberal prime minister, is an effort to meet Canada’s commitments under the Paris accord by requiring its provinces to impose a price on carbon. In exchange for the assent of provincial premiers, he approved three big energy projects, including a pipeline that would ship oil from Alberta to BC’s Pacific coast. By tripling exports to overseas markets, this would reduce Canada’s economic dependence on the United States.

BC pioneered the trade-off Mr Trudeau would later trumpet. Since 2001 it has been ruled by the...

Colombia’s future involves fewer terrorists and more ecotourists

Economist, North America - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 07:50

THE dirt road that links the small town of Vista Hermosa in the department of Meta, in south-eastern Colombia, to the village of Santo Domingo is a slow and bone-breaking drive. But its tedium is relieved by magical bird life. Hoatzins, a kind of tropical pheasant, flap noisily between copses; kingfishers flash like jewels above the streams that gurgle down from the Sierra de la Macarena, an imposing outcrop of the Andes. Hawks hover above while parrots flit noisily by.

Colombia is to birds what Ascot is to hats; the number and variety are extraordinary, and many are photogenic. It has over 1,900 different species, more than any other country. At least 270 are endemic or near-endemic. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, an isolated, snowcapped massif rising sheer out of the Caribbean, is a particularly rich aviary. It is home to some 15 species, including a pygmy owl, a mountain tanager and a foliage gleaner, which are found nowhere else.

Few outsiders have enjoyed this...

Renew lobbying efforts, says #WeAreInternational

The PIE News - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 06:04

The creators of the UK’s #WeAreInternational campaign have urged the higher education sector to refresh its commitment to change the government’s policy around international student visas.

Keith Burnett, vice chancellor at the University of Sheffield, where the campaign started, took stock of its successes so far, which include being adopted by 160 UK universities and organisations, and reaching 120,000 views of its video. He then called for a doubling down of its mission.

“We are here to remind a room much bigger than this that they matter. That they mean something to us”

“It means an awful lot to our students and staff to know people in this place are actually working so seriously for it… I think that we do have to make a final push though,” said Burnett at an event at the Houses of Parliament attended by higher education and business leaders as well as international students.

“We keep making the arguments about the economy, important arguments about soft power… but also it is very important from the point of view of the university and the academic community to emphasise the importance of talent and flow of ideas.”

Also speaking at the event, Abdi Aziz-Suleiman, a refugee from Somalia, former University of Sheffield Students’ Union president (2012-13) and #WeAreInternational co-founder, said the sector needs to react to new realities.

“We are here to remind a room much bigger than this that they matter. That they mean something to us.”

Hobsons’ recent International Student Survey also showed the campaign’s positive influence on the UK’s reputation among prospective international students. But while it may have stalled further negative policies, campaign supporters say they have not seen the changes they want to see: specifically a shift in the government’s stance on post-study work rights or moves to take international students out of net migration figures.

“We’ve won the argument, we’ve yet to win the policy change,” Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield, told delegates.

The university showed its second campaign video, which showcases business owners and residents of Sheffield speaking about the benefits of the 10% inward investment international students bring to the community.

“It’s not that big of an economy [in Sheffield and south Yorkshire] and for people at the centre of that economy, losing international students is a big change,” Burnett told The PIE News.

“The local communities are really scared that the visas will impact the business they’ve built for international students.”

The project’s first film showed international students on campus speaking about their experiences of studying in the UK. It was viewed at least 120,000 times and downloaded by partners for their own use. The university has also created a free media kit for any organisation to use.

In addition to being supported by higher education organisations and bodies in the UK, the campaign and hashtag have won the support of UK embassies and consulates from countries including Algeria, Brazil, Finland, Ghana, Slovenia and Venezuela.

The post Renew lobbying efforts, says #WeAreInternational appeared first on The PIE News.

Tuition fee regime is no longer progressive, says IFS

University World News Global Edition - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 00:38
Universities in England are receiving 25% more funding per student per degree than they did before funding reforms in 2012.

But the current combination of high fees and large student maintenan ...

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