Australian government to turn textbook grants into loans

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Australian government announces plan to turn "start up" grants for textbooks and other costs into loans, which critics deride as a slippery slope that will hurt needy students.

$133 Million Gift to Cornell-Technion Campus in NYC

The New York City campus being created by Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology on Monday announced a $133 million gift from Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Cornell alumni who are longtime givers to their alma mater and to the Technion. The new technology-oriented campus was the result of a competition organized by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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Senator Raises Questions About Student Visa System in Aftermath of Boston Attacks

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, has posed the question of whether student visas should be suspended in light of the Boston Marathon bombing. Although neither of the suspected bombers was in the United States on student visas (one was a permanent resident, and the other a naturalized citizen), Paul nonetheless raises the student visa system as an area of concern in a letter about national security and the immigration system, asking: “Finally, do we need to take a hard look at student visas? Should we suspend student visas, or at least those from high-risk areas, pending an investigation into the national security implications of this program?”

Paul raises the issue of potential flaws in the student visa system, as well as in the system for admitting refugees, as part of his broader point that the Senate should not proceed in enacting comprehensive immigration reform "until we understand the specific failures of our immigration system. Why did the current system allow two individuals to immigrate to the United States from the Chechen Republic in Russia, an area known as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, who then committed acts of terrorism?"

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A Chinese Rhodes?: $300 Million for New Scholarship Program at Tsinghua

The American financier Stephen A. Schwarzman is creating a $300 million scholarship program that he hopes will be a Chinese counterpart to the Rhodes, The New York Times reported. The scholarship would annually support 200 students enrolling in yearlong master’s programs at Tsinghua University, in Beijing. 

It’s anticipated that 45 percent of the Schwarzman Scholars will come from the U.S., 20 percent from China, and 35 percent from other countries. The students will live in a new residential college facility, Schwarzman College, for which ground breaking is scheduled for later this year.

Schwarzman said he is personally committing $100 million and is raising the additional funds from private donors, including Bank of America, Boeing, BP, Caterpillar, Credit Suisse, and JPMorgan Chase, as well as New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s personal foundation. The Times notes that the endowment for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, which supports study at Oxford, is currently about $203 million.

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International universities adjust to changes in Dubai economy

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As economic growth slows down, foreign universities aren't leaving, but some are thinking in different ways about their offerings.

Iran Warns Citizens Against Viewing Haifa U.'s Farsi Blog

Iranian officials have warned citizens there not to view a Farsi-language blog operated by Haifa University, The Times of Israel reported. The warning followed reports in Iran about the popularity of the blog, which says it has more than 100,000 visits a month. One warning sent to Iranians said: "Beware of this site; it’s meant to recruit spies for the oppressing Zionist regime."

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Russia's Education Minister Defended by Medvedev

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has rejected calls to fire the education and science minister, Dmitry Livanov, The Moscow Times reported. Livanov has attracted controversy for seeking to reduce the number of universities through mergers or closures and decrease the number of state-funded student placements.

"I believe that a minister whom everybody likes is a person who most likely doesn't cope very well with his duties," Medvedev reportedly said.

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Students Weigh In on BBC Role in North Korea Trip

Students at the London School of Economics have criticized their institution for its decision to expose the fact that BBC journalists accompanied them on a trip to North Korea, Times Higher Education reported. The university has lambasted the British broadcaster for using a student organization’s trip as “cover” for the filming of a documentary, arguing that “the students were not given enough information to enable informed consent, yet were given enough to put them in serious danger if the subterfuge had been uncovered prior to their departure from North Korea.” However, six of the 10 students on the trip have now issued a statement arguing that the university has further endangered them by publicizing the situation.

 “We feel that we have now been put in more risk than was originally the case, as a result of the LSE’s decision to go public with their story,” the students said, adding that they had not all been consulted by LSE officials regarding their own accounts of the trip.

The students said they were informed in London that a journalist would be accompanying them and of the risk of deportation or detention if that were discovered. LSE stands by its assertion that the students were not fully informed of the risks.

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Concerns about international student safety come to fore

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Kerry says Japanese students are deterred by fears of gun violence. Chinese and Saudi Arabian students are among victims of Boston bombings. Does growth in international student population come despite concerns on safety?


Boston U. Student, a Chinese National, Was Killed in Marathon Bombing

A Chinese graduate student at Boston University was the third victim of Monday's bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the university announced Tuesday.  University officials said that the student, whom it did not identify pending approval from his family, was among a trio of B.U. students and friends who watched the end of the marathon from near the finish line. Another graduate student was injured and remains hospitalized, the university said. Boston-area colleges continued to report that some of their students were injured, including seven from Emerson College.

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