Texas Tech Suspends Study Abroad in Belgium

Texas Tech University has canceled its summer and fall study abroad programs in Belgium in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks that targeted the main airport and a subway station in Brussels, USA Today and KCBD-TV reported. Four Texas Tech students were in Brussels at the time of the attacks; all have been reported safe.

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Norway Adopted U.S. Research Model, and Lost

In 2003, Norway ended the "professor's privilege," in which faculty members at universities retained full financial rights to new business ventures and intellectual property they created in their university roles. In its place, Norway adopted a system similar to the United States, and now universities earn about two-thirds of such financial gains, and professors only one-third. A study released Wednesday by the National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed the results and found that Norway appears to have lost. The rates of patents and the creation of new businesses by professors dropped 50 percent under the new system. The study, available here, was by Hans K. Kvide of the University of Bergen and Benjamin F. Jones of Northwestern University.

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Belgian University Student Killed in Subway Bombing

A student at the Université Saint-Louis-Bruxelles was among the dozens killed by Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Belgium, the university announced. Leopold Hecht was killed in the bombing of the Maelbeek subway station. According to USA Today, 20-year-old Hecht was studying for a law degree.

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Universities Account for Students in Belgium

U.S. universities scrambled to confirm the safety of students studying in Belgium in the wake of terrorist bombing attacks that killed dozens on Tuesday at the main airport and a subway station in Brussels. Among the universities that reported that their students were safe and accounted for were Goucher College and Loyola University Maryland, both in Baltimore; the University of Maryland at College Park; the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the University of Missouri at Columbia; and the University of Oregon, all according to local media accounts. Three Quinnipiac University students who were at the Brussels airport at the time of the explosions are shaken up but safe, NBC Connecticut reported.

Boston University has no students in Brussels but announced that it is advising its students elsewhere in Europe to avoid travel to the city.

Among Belgian universities, Vrije Universiteit Brussel has canceled classes and events through the end of the week and has instructed staff to work from home. The University of Leuven has closed its Brussels campuses through at least today but is continuing classes at its other locations as planned. The Université libre de Bruxelles is opening today with increased security precautions.

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Growth in Middle Eastern Students at Idaho State Causes Tensions

The growth in the number of students from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia at Idaho State University has caused unease on campus and in the community, The New York Times reported. The nearly 1,200 Middle Eastern students account for about 10 percent of Idaho State’s total enrollment.

Some professors report high rates of cheating among students from the Middle East and fault the university for admitting students who are poorly prepared. At the same time, one student quoted by the newspaper objected to what he described as the treatment of all Middle Eastern students as cheaters based on the actions of some.

Students from the Middle East reported facing discrimination on campus and in the politically conservative, predominantly Mormon city of Pocatello. Professors and officials acknowledged cases of discrimination, while suggesting that some of the students’ behaviors -- including what law enforcement officials describe as inappropriate overtures toward women and a disregard for or lack of knowledge of traffic laws -- have contributed to tensions.

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U.S. Seeks to Expand Educational Ties With Cuba

The White House made a series of announcements on Monday related to expanding U.S.-Cuba educational exchanges timed with President Obama's visit to the island. These include a new $1 million commitment from "the Cuban American community" to the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund, a public-private partnership that seeks to expand student exchange throughout the Western Hemisphere. Cuba has also been added to the list of participating countries for two U.S. Department of State-funded exchange programs: the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship program, which brings midcareer professionals to the U.S. for nondegree study and professional experiences, and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program, which funds study abroad for American undergraduates with financial need.

Monday’s announcements -- a full list of which can be found here -- are the latest in a series of steps the Obama administration has taken since 2011 to open up and promote educational travel to Cuba.

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Bus Carrying Exchange Students Crashes in Spain, Killing 13

A bus carrying international exchange students crashed Sunday in Spain, killing at least 13 passengers and injuring 34, the Associated Press reported. Most of the passengers were studying at two Barcelona universities through the Erasmus exchange program. Passengers from around 20 countries were on board the bus, which was en route to Barcelona from Valencia, where the students had attended a fireworks festival.

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Trinity College Dublin's letters about rankings raise eyebrows


Trinity College Dublin sent letters seeking favorable reviews. QS, a major player in rankings, says the university's actions are "in breach" and could warrant suspension from the process.

New Report Looks at Study Abroad vs. On-Campus Mortality Rates

American college students are less likely to die on study abroad programs than on their home campuses, according to a new analysis of insurance claims published by the Forum on Education Abroad. The analysis compares data from two major insurance providers, which together insured nearly half of all students studying abroad in 2014, with findings from a 2013 study on mortality at 157 college campuses.

The comparison found that students on U.S. campuses were more than twice as likely to die as students studying abroad. The two study abroad insurance providers reported a combined four deaths out of a total 146,898 insured students in 2014. Two of these deaths were accidental and two were related to pre-existing medical conditions.

“While year-to-year variations may alter the results to some extent, the sensitivity analysis performed above should provide some measure of comfort in concluding that, at the very least, study abroad does not carry a greater risk of death than does study on U.S. university campuses,” the forum’s report concludes.

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Three Scholars Jailed, One Deported in Turkey

Three Turkish academics who held a press conference affirming their support for a January petition opposing a military campaign against Kurdish separatists have been jailed for allegedly “making terrorist propaganda.” A British computer scientist who came to the police station in a show of support for the three scholars has also been detained and deported after 25 years living in Turkey, according to reports from Nature News and the Associated Press.

The three Turkish academics being held in jail are Kivanc Ersoy, a mathematician at Mimar Sinan University, Muzaffer Kaya, a political scientist from Nisantasi University, and Esra Mungan, a psychologist at Bogazici University. The British national who was deported after being found to have invitations to Kurdish New Year celebrations in his bag is Chris Stephenson, a computer science lecturer at Istanbul's Bilgi University.

The jailings and deportation are the latest actions taken against the more than 1,000 Turkish professors who signed the Academics for Peace petition. Scholars who signed were accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of “treason” and have faced a range of repercussions, including criminal investigations and university-level disciplinary proceedings. Some of the signatories have been dismissed or suspended from their academic positions.

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