A year after the British government essentially tripled tuitions, applications for university spots fell by nearly 9 percent in Britain and by 10 percent in England, Times Higher Education reported. Applications from students of traditional college age fell less sharply than did those from older students, and government officials played down the impact of the dip; “the proportion of English school-leavers applying to university is the second highest on record and people are still applying,” David Willetts, the universities and science minister, told the newspaper. But others said the decrease was the predictable result of the dramatic change in government policy.
Vienna Medical University is taking some criticism (particularly from men) for a policy that favors female applicants. The Associated Press reported that the university adjusts admissions test scores -- which determine admission -- based on the average scores for men and women. Since women score lower, on average, than do men, a score by a female applicant counts for more than the exact same score by a man. For instance, in the case of a man and woman both scoring 130, the woman's test grade would be 117.7 and the man's would be 114.8 because the average score for women on the exam is 97 and the average score for males is 102. Some women have joined men in questioning the policy, saying that they fear they will be seen as "quota women."
Students at Russia's Kazan University say that they were forced to sit for an exam for 23 hours, from 10 a.m. one day until 9 a.m. the next, without being permitted to leave for bathroom breaks, RIA Novosti reported. Like many Russian exams, the test was oral, and the students were forced to wait until the instructor -- who they said was drunk -- excused them. University officials have denied that the instructor was drunk.
In the United States, many lament that it takes students too long to graduate. In Germany, the School of Economics and Management in Essen is suing Marcel Pohl, for $3,772 that the institution lost in tuition revenue when he finished a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in 3 semesters, not the 11 that would have been expected, UPI reported. The university declined to comment. Pohl said, "When I got the lawsuit, I thought it couldn't be true. Performance is supposed to be worth something."
The World Bank has barred business transactions with two African subsidiaries of Oxford University Press, saying that these units engaged in corruption by providing inappropriate payments to government officials in Kenya and Tanzania, the BBC reported. Oxford University Press said that it is disciplining the employees involved.
A government committee in Israel on Wednesday blocked university status for the Ariel University Center, an Israeli academic institution located in the West Bank, Haaretz reported. The panel said that the center should maintain its current status, which is short of a full university, pending a full review in the next year. Many Israeli academics had expected university status to be awarded, and Ariel is strongly supported by Israelis who favor settlement in the West Bank. But Israeli academics -- professors and presidents alike -- strongly opposed university status. The presidents of existing universities argued that the country doesn't have enough money for its existing universities, and shouldn't create a new one. Many professors also said that making Ariel into a university would inject higher education into the debate about the future of Palestinian territories in a way that would be unhelpful for the peace process and for higher education.