Swiss universities -- with high quality and low tuition rates -- are enrolling larger proportions of foreign students, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation reported. In 1990, foreign enrollments made up 23 percent of the Swiss student body. Today that figure is 38 percent. While educators are proud of the quality of students being attracted, some officials question whether the country can afford to educate so many people from elsewhere.
The European University Association has released a new analysis of the state of global university rankings. Various evaluation systems continue to proliferate and existing ones refine their methodologies, the report says. But some things do not change. The study notes "biases and flaws" that favor elite universities. Further, the report says that most rankings -- which tend to focus on research - "still not able to do justice to research carried out in the area of arts, humanities and social sciences."
RMIT University, in Melbourne, is attracting criticism for its decision to reject all applications from Iranian and Syrian students because of government sanctions, The Courier-Mailreported. However, a spokesperson from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said there are no blanket bans that would prevent the admission of students from these countries.
North Korea has been warning foreigners to leave South Korea. But early indications are that American students and those leading American programs in South Korea are monitoring developments, but not changing their plans. WKYT News covered a group of students from Eastern Kentucky University who are in South Korea and who reported nervous families at home, but no problems more serious than that. And The Times Beacon Record reported on how officials at the State University of New York at Buffalo, which recently opened a campus in South Korea, say that everything is continuing there, despite the threats from the north. By not leaving the country, the American students and academics are following the advice of the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, which is not recommending changes in travel plans to South Korea.
Russia’s education and science minister is facing calls to resign, The Moscow Timesreported. Among other things, Dmitry Livanov has attracted controversy for seeking to shut down “ineffective universities” and decrease the number of state-funded placements, and for calling Russia’s Academy of Sciences futureless and unsustainable. One critic quoted by the paper said of Livanov that "he is not an education minister; he is a minister of the liquidation of education."
A new report from the Brookings Institution considers the geographic distribution of international students and their potential economic impact. While New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco host the largest numbers of international students, the report notes that smaller metro areas in the middle of the country have the largest numbers of international students relative to their undergraduate and graduate populations: leading the pack are Jonesboro, Arkansas (home to Arkansas State University), Florence, Alabama (home to the University of North Alabama), and Ames, Iowa (home to Iowa State University).
“If immigration policy changes to make it easier for foreign students to stay and work in the United States after graduation, these metro areas could experience the greatest impact in terms of access to a new labor pool from foreign students residing in their local economies,” the report, authored by Neil G. Ruiz, states.
The report also cites data regarding the disparity between the number of F-1 student visas granted, versus the number of approved H-1B skilled worker visas. While there were 668,513 F-1 visas approved in 2010, there were only 76,627 H-1B visas granted; of these, 26,502 went to foreign students.
London Metropolitan University’s license to sponsor visas for international students has been restored. Citing “systemic failures” in the university’s verification and monitoring of students’ English proficiency levels, visa status and course attendance, the UK Border Agency stripped London Met of its ability to host foreign students last August. This led to a court battle and concerns about the fate of the 2,600 foreign students then enrolled.
The UK Border Agency said in a statement that a series of inspections over six months revealed that London Met had improved its processes. The university will be subject to a probationary period during which it will be limited on the number of international students it can enroll.
“This is excellent news for our students and our University, which looks forward to welcoming students from around the world who want to study at one of London’s most diverse academic institutions,” London Met’s vice-chancellor, Malcolm Gillies, said in a statement. The university reported that it has already attracted nearly 5,000 applications from international students for fall 2013 and will begin “a four-month promotional tour across 17 countries.”
The European University Association released results of a survey on the internationalization of European universities in advance of its annual conference in Belgium. Respondents ranked “attracting students from abroad” as their top priority, followed by “internationalization of learning and teaching,” “providing our students with more opportunities to have a learning experience abroad,” and “strategic research partnerships.”
The survey also asked about universities’ interest in massive open online courses, or MOOCs, and found that only 58 percent of respondents had heard about MOOCs and 33 percent said they had been discussed at their institutions. When asked whether European universities should further develop MOOCs, 44 percent of respondents said yes, and another 48 percent had no clear opinion.
The survey garnered 180 responses from 175 higher education institutions in 38 countries.