Thousands of students and professors across India are protesting after the president of the student union at Jawaharlal Nehru University, in Delhi, was arrested Friday on sedition charges, The Guardian reported. Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested following accusations that “anti-Indian” slogans were used at a campus demonstration marking the anniversary of the execution of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri man convicted for his involvement in a deadly 2001 attack on India’s parliament. Kumar has denied making anti-Indian statements.
One of the few institutions to practice need-blind admissions for applicants from abroad will begin considering the financial need of prospective international undergraduates in admissions decisions.
Under its current policy, Cornell University does not consider need in assessing applications from international students -- but because it has a limited budget for international student aid ($11.5 million out of a total $235 million aid budget last year) it also does not offer aid to every international student with demonstrated need. Under a new need-aware admission policy for international students, to begin with the fall 2017 admission cycle, Cornell intends to provide all admitted students, including all admitted international students, with aid packages meeting 100 percent of their demonstrated need.
Barbara Knuth, the senior vice provost and dean of the graduate school, said the total budget for international student financial aid will remain stable.
“This is not at all meant as a budget-cutting move,” she said. “The intention of it is to give us more ability to actively manage enrollment, because there are clearly differences in yield,” the percentage of admitted students who choose to come to Cornell. “International students who were admitted and are offered financial aid yield at about a 90 percent rate. International admitted students who do not apply for aid yield at a rate of about 65 percent, but international students who apply for aid but are not offered aid yield at about 30 percent. It makes it a lot harder to manage for the geographic and global diversity that we’re trying to achieve in the international student population because the yield is comparatively low for that group," Knuth said.
“The other purpose of this of course is to avoid those very difficult situations where international students who are admitted who have demonstrated financial need but are not awarded any aid may in fact run into challenges meeting their educational expenses,” she continued. “We have had difficult situations like that. It’s very hard financially and psychologically on the student as well as the family.”
Cornell is still need blind for U.S. citizen and permanent resident applicants. Knuth said the change in policy will bring Cornell in line with peer institutions in the Ivy League that are also need aware for international applicants, including Brown and Columbia Universities, Dartmouth College, and the University of Pennsylvania. (Dartmouth announced a change from need-blind to need-aware admissions for international students last fall.) The wealthiest three Ivies -- Harvard, Princeton and Yale Universities-- are need blind and committed to meeting full demonstrated need for all international students.
Juliana Batista, the president of Cornell's Student Assembly, said she worries about the loss of opportunity for international students under a need-aware admissions policy. “Moving into a need-aware policy really disregards some of the exceptional students that have come to Cornell in the past,” she said. Batista, who stressed that she was not speaking on behalf of the whole assembly, said that some international students who don’t receive aid from Cornell might apply for private scholarships after admission or find a way to pay for college with the help of a relative or by leveraging a financial asset of some kind.
“Essentially, you are not allowing those students the opportunity to find a way to finance their education,” she said.
In addition to becoming need aware for international students, Cornell also announced that beginning in fall 2016 it would treat undergraduate students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status the same as U.S. citizens and permanent residents for admission and financial aid purposes. That means that they will be eligible for need-blind admission and will no longer have to compete with international students for the limited pool of financial aid funds available to them. Because DACA students are not eligible for federal and state grants and loans, Cornell intends to provide institutional aid in their place. (Note:This paragraph has been corrected to reflect that it was Cornell University that announced a change in policy for DACA applicants. The original article misstated the name of the institution.)
A new directive from China’s Ministry of Education calls for stepping up “patriotic education” efforts – including for students studying at universities abroad, The New York Timesreported.
“Assemble the broad numbers of students abroad as a positive patriotic energy,” says the directive, which was publicized by the state news outlet Xinhua on Tuesday. “Build a multidimensional contact network linking home and abroad -- the motherland, embassies and consulates, overseas student groups, and the broad number of students abroad -- so that they fully feel that the motherland cares.”
Dortmund Technical University, in Germany, has closed its prayer room after disputes over the actions of Muslim students in the room, the Associated Press reported. Some Muslim students required Muslim women in the room to wear veils and to be seated separately from men during services. Such practices violate university rules on gender equity.
The University of Copenhagen announced that it is cutting more than 500 teaching, research, service and administrative jobs -- 7 percent of its total staff -- in response to government cuts to its budget. The university also said it would be reducing its Ph.D. student intake by 10 percent and is evaluating the financial viability of some of its medical science and small language programs.
Copenhagen announced last month that it would halt the intake of new students in 13 small language and area studies programs -- including Eskimology, Finnish and Turkish -- and close some of them (which ones to be determined) for good.
A senior Egyptian prosecutor said the body of a University of Cambridge student who disappeared in Cairo has been found with signs of torture, the BBC reported. Giulio Regeni, 28, was a Ph.D. student in the politics and international studies department at Cambridge and a visiting scholar at the American University in Cairo. His research was on trade unions and labor rights, a sensitive subject in Egypt.
Regeni, an Italian national, was last seen on the night of Jan. 25, when he left home to meet a friend in central Cairo. His body was found beside a road on Wednesday. The cause of death has not yet been determined; his body had bruises, knife wounds and cigarette burns.
The Saudi government approved more restrictive eligibility rules for its foreign university scholarship program on Monday, Reuters and the Saudi Gazette reported. Details of the new rules are vague, but they would appear to make the scholarship program more academically elite. The Saudi government is facing a budget deficit due to low oil prices and is looking for ways to reduce state spending.
Saudi Arabia's foreign university scholarship program, started in 2005, has led to big increases in the number of Saudi students at U.S. universities. Nearly 60,000 Saudi students were enrolled at American colleges in 2014-15, making Saudi Arabia the fourth-largest country of origin for international students in the U.S.
A new alliance between Arizona State University, King’s College London and the University of New South Wales will focus on cross-border research on issues related to health, social justice, sustainability and innovation. At a launch event in London next week, the universities plan to announce the inaugural group of more than 60 “PLuS Alliance” fellows, who will come from across the three institutions and who will receive stipends to cover travel and other costs. A pool of money will be available for research projects. The universities plan to announce the first joint research initiatives, on sustainability, at next week’s event.