Two universities in Belgium join forces for English-language bachelor's program


Two Belgian universities join forces to offer unusual undergraduate program for internationally minded students.

U.K. Proposes Tiered Visa Plan for Foreign Students

The U.K. cabinet secretary in charge of immigration on Tuesday proposed a two-tiered system for international student visas, The Guardian reported. Amber Rudd raised the possibility of a visa system with differential rules depending on the quality of a student's university or program as part of a speech on reducing immigration levels.

“I’m passionately committed to making sure our world-leading institutions can attract the brightest and the best. But a student immigration system that treats every student and university as equal only punishes those we should want to help. So our consultation will ask what more can we do to support our best universities -- and those that stick to the rules -- to attract the best talent … while looking at tougher rules for students on lower-quality courses," Rudd said.

The co-chair of an all-party parliamentary group on international students and a member of the opposing Labour Party, Paul Blomfield, blasted Rudd’s proposals as “spectacularly ill informed” and “an act of madness.” Describing education as one of the U.K.'s “most successful export industries,” Blomfield said, “The only people cheering today’s announcement will be our competitors.”

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Plea to Save Academic Year in South Africa

The vice chancellor and principal of the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, on Monday issued an unusual plea for help to “save the 2016 academic year.”

Academic operations at the South African university are due to resume today for the first time since Sept. 20 as protests, some of which have turned violent, calling for free higher education have shut down campuses across the country.

Adam Habib, the vice chancellor, wrote in a message that the university would reopen for academic classes today with “a full security contingent” in place.

“I need every staff member and every student to help me take back our campus as the academic program opens tomorrow,” Habib wrote Monday. “It is not ideal to attend classes with police at the doors of learning, but I am left with no choice.”

“If we do not get this right tomorrow, we have no choice but to close the university, which will compromise the 2016 academic program and the lives of all 37,000 students. It means that all students will have to move out of residences before the end of the week,” Habib wrote. A poll conducted by the university last week found that 77 percent of students favor the resumption of classes.

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Helping international students deal with work authorization problems (essay)


Alfreda James describes the challenges of dealing with the questions and behaviors of a generation without a legal or welcoming home.

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A Gold Medal for Teaching, or a Silver?

English universities will be awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance in the new Teaching Excellence Framework, a government initiative to assess universities based on measures including student satisfaction, retention and graduate employment, Times Higher Education reported. Results from the Teaching Excellence Framework will eventually be used to determine the amount by which individual universities are permitted to raise their fees. Originally the plan was to sort institutions using the categories “meets expectations,” “excellent” and “outstanding,” but those category names have been scrapped in favor of the medal system.

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Study adds to concerns over lack of creativity at Chinese universities


New study finds that Chinese students at top-ranked institutions are less creative than those at less prestigious institutions.

Two Plead Guilty in 'Pay-to-Stay' Sham College Case

Two international-student recruiters pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit visa fraud in relation to their recruitment of foreign nationals to the University of Northern New Jersey, a sham “pay-to-stay” college created by the federal government as part of a sting operation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey said in a press release that Harpreet Sachdeva, 26, of Somerset, N.J., and Sanjeev Sukhija, 35, of North Brunswick, N.J., were employed by an international student recruiting agency called Right OPT, where they advised foreign nationals that they could, for a fee, enroll in UNNJ without having to attend classes as a way to fraudulently maintain their visa status in the U.S.

Sachdeva and Sukhija were also accused of conspiring to obtain fraudulent work authorizations for some of their clients, and, according to the press release, “admitted that their intention was to profit from the scheme by outsourcing these foreign individuals through Right OPT as information technology consultants with various businesses in the United States for commissions.”

“In total,” the release states, “Sachdeva, Sukhija and others fraudulently maintained and attempted to obtain approximately 45 student visas and/or work authorizations.”

Sachdeva and Sukhija are scheduled to be sentenced in January. The maximum penalty for conspiracy to commit visa fraud is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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U.S. report examines constraints on university programs in China

U.S. Government Accountability Office examines American universities’ policies and practices on academic and other freedoms for their educational programs in China.

International Educators Group Names New CEO

NAFSA: Association of International Educators on Monday announced as its new executive director and CEO Esther Brimmer, a foreign policy expert and academic.

Brimmer, who formerly worked at the U.S. Department of State, is currently a professor of practice of international affairs at George Washington University, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a senior adviser at the consulting firm McLarty Associates. She will assume her new leadership role at NAFSA on Jan. 1, succeeding Marlene M. Johnson, who is retiring after 18 years at NAFSA’s helm.

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Protests Continue at South African Universities

Some South African universities remain closed amid continuing protests over tuition rates, which have in some cases involved violence.

Among those universities that have closed, the University of Pretoria moved up its upcoming recess period and plans to reopen Oct. 10. In a statement Monday the university said protesters blockaded entrances and disrupted classes. A statement from Pretoria’s vice chancellor and principal, Cheryl de la Rey, also described “incidents of arson and other violent behavior.”

Other universities that have suspended classes or have moved up scheduled breaks include Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Rhodes University, Tshwane University of Technology and the Universities of Cape Town and Witwatersrand.

The latter institution, known as Wits, has suspended all university operations until further notice and plans to poll staff and students on whether to reopen on Monday “if the appropriate security measures are in place.”

"If the majority of students and staff support the reopening on Monday, 3 October 2016, the university will call upon government and the police to meet their obligations to protect the university’s property and to safeguard the lives of students and staff," the university's statement on the matter said.

Three petrol bombs were found on the Wits campus over the weekend. Eyewitness News reported Monday that a cleaning worker died after inhaling fumes from a fire extinguisher allegedly released last week by student protesters in a Wits residence hall. The university said in a statement expressing its sympathies that the worker had been "rushed to the Campus Health and Wellness Centre and then taken to hospital, where the worker was treated for a few days. The worker was discharged from hospital and then passed away."

The university said the cause of death has not been determined.

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