U of Copenhagen to Cut Staff by 7 Percent

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.

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Missing Cambridge Ph.D. Student Found Dead in Egypt

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.

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English universities increase their recruiting of European Union students

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English universities are making a big push -- controversial to some -- for students from European Union countries.

New Rules for Saudi Scholarship Program Approved

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.

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Arizona State, King's College, U of New South Wales Form Alliance

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.

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College of William & Mary Student Sick With Zika Virus

The College of William & Mary announced that one of its students "apparently" contracted the Zika virus while traveling in Central America during winter break. According to the university’s announcement, the student is expected to recover fully and there is no known health risk for others on campus.

The World Health Organization on Monday declared a public health emergency related to the spread of the Zika virus. Though the mosquito-borne virus usually causes mild symptoms, public health officials are concerned about a suspected causal link between infection during pregnancy and microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.

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Study abroad alumni have better career outcomes, study finds

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Study abroad alumni have better career outcomes, according to two studies assessing the impact of Europe’s Erasmus exchange program.

Rhodes Statue to Remain at Oxford's Oriel College

The University of Oxford has decided not to take down a statue of Cecil Rhodes at its Oriel College despite alumni threats to withdraw millions in donations, the college announced. The statue, like a plaque about Rhodes elsewhere on the campus, has been caught up in the debate that has swept campuses in Britain, the U.S. and elsewhere about honoring historical figures whose pasts included racist or other detrimental acts or statements.

Rhodes, the British imperialist whose bequest endowed the Rhodes Scholarships, has been at the center of the debate in Britain. In December, Oriel College officials said they had begun the process of removing the plaque honoring Rhodes and would review the status of the statue, describing the plaque's wording praising Rhodes as "inconsistent with our principles."

But in the announcement Thursday, Oriel officials said the "listening exercise" the college had undertaken in December had elicited an "enormous amount of input," overwhelmingly in favor of leaving the statue in place. "The college believes the recent debate has underlined that the continuing presence of these historical artifacts is an important reminder of the complexity of history and of the legacies of colonialism still felt today. By adding context, we can help draw attention to this history, do justice to the complexity of the debate and be true to our educational mission."

British newspaper reports indicated that Oxford and Oriel have received threats to withdraw millions of dollars in gifts if the statue was removed, though the college's statement dismissed the idea that financial considerations were a factor.

Rhodes Must Fall, the student group leading the opposition, said in a statement on Facebook that the college's decision "breached the undertakings it gave to all students in its December statement. In December, Oriel said that the plaque's display was 'inconsistent with' the college's 'principles.' It seems that Oriel no longer believes this to be the case. This recent move is outrageous, dishonest and cynical. This is not over."

'Divert Unprepared University Students,' Report Says

A report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development found that about one in 10 university students in England have low basic skills in literacy or numeracy and suggests that many of these students should be diverted from university to shorter-term, professionally oriented programs.

“Those with low basic skills should not normally enter three-year undergraduate programs, which are both costly and unsuited to the educational needs of those involved, while graduates with poor basic skills undermine the currency of an English university degree,” the report recommends. “These potential entrants should be diverted into more suitable provision that meets their needs.”

“Such students need postsecondary alternatives that will address their needs and tackle basic skills. Such alternatives need further development in England,” the report said. “Resources diverted from university provision should be redeployed … to support this.”

An article in The Guardian includes varying perspectives on the OECD report, including critical takes from representatives of the United Kingdom's university sector.

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For-Profit College Execs Sentenced on Financial Aid, Visa Fraud Charges

Three senior for-profit college executives were sentenced Tuesday on charges related to student financial aid and student visa fraud, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced.

Suresh Hiranandaney, Lalit Chabria and Anita Chabria were all executives at either Micropower Career Institute (MCI), a for-profit with five campuses in New Jersey and New York, or the Institute for Health Education (IHE), a New Jersey-based for-profit institution. They were charged with defrauding the U.S. Department of Education of $1 million in grants awarded to domestic students. “As part of this fraud,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release, “they falsified and manipulated documents to hide MCI’s failure to timely return financial aid money received by MCI for domestic students who had dropped out of MCI.”

The three executives were also charged with making more than $7 million in profits from a visa fraud scheme in which they collected tuition from international students who were not attending classes as required under the terms of their student visas. “Hiranandaney, Lalit Chabria, Anita Chabria and others fraudulently portrayed MCI and IHE to immigration authorities as legitimate institutes of higher learning where foreign students carried full course loads,” the news release states. “In reality, the majority of foreign students at MCI and IHE did not attend the required number of classes.”

Hiranandaney, MCI’s president, was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, as was Lalit Chabria, MCI’s chief executive officer and IHE’s president. Anita Chabria, MCI’s vice president and director of a MCI campus in Mineola, N.Y., was sentenced to six months of home confinement. U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken also ordered the three executives to pay $1 million in restitution for the financial aid fraud and forfeit $7,440,000 for the student visa fraud. Two other defendants in the case are scheduled to be sentenced later this year.

One of the two institutions, the Institute for Health Education, is still certified by the U.S. government to enroll international students.

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