British university criticized for requiring professors to apply to keep jobs


Open letter calls plan and its timing “bizarrely thoughtless and ignorant.”

Southern New Hampshire expands refugee education initiative

Southern New Hampshire University announces first phase of initiative to expand higher education access to refugees.

International education program axed in House appropriations bill

House appropriations bill eliminates funding for small but critical program supporting international research and travel by doctoral students.

Iran Jails Princeton Ph.D. Student as Spy

A Chinese-American graduate student enrolled at Princeton University has reportedly been sentenced by an Iranian court to 10 years in prison for espionage, The Washington Post reported, citing the Iranian judiciary’s official news agency, Mizan.

Xiyue Wang, age 37, is a fourth-year doctoral student in history at Princeton who, according to a statement from the university, "was arrested in Iran last summer, while there doing scholarly research on the administrative and cultural history of the late Qajar dynasty in connection with his Ph.D. dissertation.”

“We were very distressed by the charges brought against him in connection with his scholarly activities, and by his subsequent conviction and sentence. His family and the university are distressed at his continued imprisonment and are hopeful that he will be released after his case is heard by the appellate authorities in Tehran,” Daniel Day, Princeton's vice president of communications, said in the statement quoted by the Post.

The official news report from Mizan said that Wang was sentenced as part of an “infiltration project” that involved gathering “confidential articles” to send to the U.S. Department of State and Western universities. As the Post describes it, the Mizan report includes a photo from the Princeton website and uses, as evidence of espionage, a published quote from Wang in an annual report for the British Institute of Persian Studies in which he described help he had received from the institute in accessing Iranian archives and libraries.

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Deal Keeps Open McDaniel's Hungary Campus

The Maryland state and Hungarian governments signed an agreement Friday that will allow McDaniel College’s campus in Budapest to stay open after the April passage of a new Hungarian law on foreign branch campuses, The Baltimore Sun reported. Passage of the law has been widely seen as an attack by Hungary’s right-wing government on Central European University, an American-accredited institution that was founded by financier George Soros. The law among other things requires an agreement between the governments of Hungary and that of the home state or nation for any foreign branch campus and stipulates that foreign universities must have campuses in their home countries, which McDaniel does and CEU does not.

Hungary continues to negotiate about the status of two different universities with the states of Massachusetts and New York, the latter being where CEU is chartered. The Sun reported that the Maryland Higher Education Commission did not provide a copy of the agreement Friday.

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Colleges are now using discounting to attract some international students

Some discounting is now needed both to keep numbers and quality high, say admissions experts.

Israeli universities expand partnerships in Asia


Opening of Israeli university in China reflects closer ties in countries not interested in boycott movement.

DHS Head Won’t Commit to Defending DACA

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told Democrats of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he could not commit to the Trump administration defending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provides protection against deportation and two-year renewable work permits for certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, CNN reported. Kelly told lawmakers that while he personally supports the DACA program, legal experts have told him it’s unlikely to survive a court challenge.

Ten Republican state attorneys general said last month that they would sue to end DACA if the Trump administration does not phase it out. They argue that the program, which President Obama created under his executive authority, is unlawful in that it “unilaterally confers eligibility for work authorization and lawful presence without any statutory authorization from Congress.”

President Trump pledged to eliminate DACA as a candidate but has since softened his tone, saying he wants to deal with DACA "with heart," without committing to keeping the program in place. A wide swath of college leaders have called for the continuation of the program, stressing its benefit to current and former students who through DACA are able to pursue professional careers and contribute to their communities and the economy.

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After Brexit, King's College London Considers German Campus

King’s College London is considering opening a campus in Germany in what could be the first such European campus to be established by a British university after the U.K.’s vote to exit the European Union, the BBC and Times Higher Education reported.

King’s College is looking to build on an existing collaboration with Technische Universität Dresden known as Transcampus. Stefan Bornstein, the dean of Transcampus, which has 10 joint professorships and several joint Ph.D. programs, is quoted by Times Higher saying that an “offshore King’s College Europe institution in Dresden” is “in the process.” Such an institution, he said, would enable King’s to have a presence in Europe and continue to access European research funding after Brexit, while TU Dresden could expand its ties in London.

In a statement, King's College said it valued its partnership with TU Dresden and will "continue to work together in various fields on research and exchange and discuss potential further collaborations."

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Proposal Would Require International Students to Reapply for Permission to Stay

The Department of Homeland Security is discussing a proposal to require international students to reapply for permission to stay in the United States every year, a proposal that, if enacted, would create new costs and paperwork burdens and could dissuade international students from coming to the U.S., The Washington Post reported.

The Washington Post article quotes two anonymous senior officials with knowledge of the proposal, which is being put forward on national security grounds. It notes that the plan is preliminary, would require regulatory changes that would take at least 18 months to put in place and could require the agreement of the Department of State, which issues visas abroad, whereas the Department of Homeland Security monitors students once they're in the U.S.

The Post says that some senior officials are concerned that student visas, which allow students to transfer from one program to another and to switch degree levels, are too open-ended, and are also considering changes that would require students to reapply for permission to be in the United States after a specific end date associated with their program. An estimated 2.8 percent of students and exchange visitors overstay their visas, double the national average for visitors.

Reached by Inside Higher Ed, a DHS spokesman, David Lapan, said the department did not have anything to add beyond his comment in the Post story. The Post reported that Lapan declined to comment on the specific discussions but confirmed the international student program is among the immigration programs under review.

“DHS is exploring a variety of measures that would ensure that our immigration programs -- including programs for international students studying in the United States -- operate in a manner that promotes the national interest, enhances national security and public safety, and ensures the integrity of our immigration system,” Lapan is quoted as saying.

More than one million international students study in the U.S., contributing an estimated $32.8 billion to the U.S. economy, according to an analysis from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Colleges have grown increasingly reliant on the tuition revenue they bring.

Jill Welch, NAFSA's deputy executive director for public policy, criticized the proposal in a statement to Inside Higher Ed. “While we have yet to see the details of a draft DHS proposal, the news reported by The Washington Post suggesting a potential move to require students to reapply for permission to stay in the United States each year would have grave consequences for our national security, foreign policy and economic interests, as well as America’s scientific and innovative strength,” she said. “As reported, this appears to be a duplicative and unnecessary process that would undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on our nation’s competitiveness.”

Welch continued, “Generations of foreign policy leaders agree that international students are an asset to our nation, not a threat. They benefit our communities and our campuses and remain the only actively monitored foreign population in the United States. We urge the Department of Homeland Security to consult carefully with stakeholders like NAFSA who have worked for decades to protect our security and increase our economic prosperity before making any rash decisions that can have potentially irreversible consequences.”

Currently institutions that host international students are required to monitor and report on their enrollment through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.

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