The U.S. Department of State strengthened its warning against travel to Egypt on Wednesday and is now urging American citizens to leave the country, likely prompting another round of evacuations of American students on study abroad programs. The Arabic Overseas Flagship Program, which enrolls 18 students from five American universities, announced that it was relocating from Egypt to Morocco earlier this week.
Among the other evacuations so far, a spokeswoman for AMIDEAST, a nonprofit organization that runs study abroad programs in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, and Tunisia, said that all 26 of its students in Egypt have left, with many electing to join AMIDEAST programs in other countries. ABC News reported that Fulbright program participants are being required to leave the country. Southern California Public Radio reported that the University of California at Davis has brought home a group of ten students on a faculty-led study abroad program focused on Egyptian authors and filmmakers, as well as the faculty member and her son. The Austin American-Statesmanreported that 30 students on the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Arabic Study Abroad program, which is based at the American University in Cairo, are being flown to a safe place. The program will determine, after six days, whether it is safe to return to Egypt.
The American University in Cairo, which originally had 95 American students enrolled this summer, is not requiring students to leave, a spokeswoman said. Students there have the option of taking their courses in their dormitory or, if they choose to evacuate, completing their studies online. The university's two campuses, in Tahrir Square and New Cairo, remain closed through Saturday.
The Arabic Overseas Flagship Program is relocating from Alexandria, Egypt to Meknes, Morocco, having determined that restrictions in place to ensure students’ safety were undermining opportunities for informal language and cultural learning.
“In recent days, it had become clear that in order to guarantee the safety of our students in Egypt, it had become necessary to establish curfews and limitations on their movements (including escort and shuttle arrangements to and from classes at the university), [meaning that] the students were essentially having to give up many of the kinds of informal language contacts and cultural exploration that overseas immersion study is designed to provide,” Dan Davidson, the president of the American Councils for International Education, which administers the program, said in an email.
“It was as much a concern for the quality of the learning experience available to our students under present conditions in Egypt, as it was immediate specific concerns about the students' immediate personal safety” that the decision was made to relocate the program to Morocco beginning July 6, Davidson said. The program's Egyptian partner institution, Alexandria University, will be transferring some of its language teachers to Morocco to continue working with students.
The yearlong Arabic Overseas Flagship Program began in early June and involves 18 students from five U.S. universities. The Flagship language programs are funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Security Education Program.
A proposed expansion of the Erasmus program, which funds student mobility across Europe, is in the works. The Irish Presidency of the European Union announced last week that it had brokered a €16 billion (approximately $20.8 billion) deal for Erasmus +, which for the first time would support international initiatives in education, training, youth and sport under a single umbrella. Under the agreement, more than 4 million people would receive EU grants for education and training opportunities from 2014 to 2020, nearly doubling current numbers.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed, 68-32, an immigration reform bill with several provisions sought by higher education leaders. The bill would create a path to citizenship for those who are in the United States without documentation to permit them to reside in the country, and provisions would be of particular help to students who were brought to the United States as children. Many colleges have pushed for such a change, saying that these students never sought to break a law, and that they have completed high school in the United States, only to face difficulty being admitted to or receiving aid for higher education. Other provisions would ease the visa process for some international students and make it easier for American colleges and universities to hire some professors from abroad. President Obama praised the legislation, but Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have vowed not to allow a vote in that chamber on the bill. Rather the Republican leaders have said that they would draft their own bill, and it is unclear how the provisions of importance to colleges would fare in that version.
Imposing new regulations governing foreign university campuses in India have been drafted by the University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Human Resource Development, The Times of Indiareported. The regulations would require foreign educational institutions to operate as nonprofit entities and maintain a corpus fund of at least 250,000,000 rupees, or more than $4 million, per campus. Only those institutions listed in the top 400 of three major world university rankings systems need apply. And foreign universities would face restrictions on their teaching activities: they would not be permitted to offer a course that, as the newspaper reported, “adversely affects the sovereignty and integrity of India or its friendly relations with other countries.”
Graduate students at a Canadian university question the use of commissioned agents and whether prospective international students are being steered into “premium tuition” programs that are not the best academic fit.
New OECD report finds that gaps in employment rates based on educational attainment widened during the recession. Among other findings, the number of students crossing borders to enroll in higher education continues to increase.