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FRANCE: 5 Quick Facts on the Merger of 2 prestigious Paris Universities

April 21st, 2016

paris_uni

If you haven’t heard already, the University of Paris-Sorbonne and Pierre and Marie Curie University, two of the most prestigious universities in Paris have agreed to merge. A name has not yet been decided for the new university or who will be in charge of the new institution. But the current Presidents of both universities are enthusiastic about the merger as is the government which sees it as part of an initiative to create up to 10 mega French universities to be more globally competitive.

Here are 5 quick things you need to know about this merger:

  1. January 1, 2018 is the date for the merger of two of the most prestigious universities: University of Paris-Sorbonne and Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC);
  2. The new university will have 55,000 students, including doctoral students, and 6,600 academic staff;
  3. The merger will bring together all the disciplines (humanities, law, economics, science and medicine) under one university;
  4. The French government has established an endowment of 900 Million Euros (US $1 billion) to support the merger;
  5. On April 26, 2016, the Paris merger plan, known as the country’s grand Excellence Initiative, will be presented to an international academic panel set up by the French government.

Stay tuned for more updates as they become available!

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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10 Facts about the now defunct Trump University

March 5th, 2016

trump

With Donald Trump taking center stage in the upcoming Presidential Elections, stories of his now defunct Trump University have been resurrected and making the rounds in the news. In this week’s blog we offer you a few facts on the Trump University and a pending lawsuit filed by NY State Attorney General’s office.

1. Trump University was founded in 2004 as an online operation. Mr. Trump made an initial investment of about $2 million and based the business in the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.  The day-to-day operations were managed by the Trump Organization and its affiliates.

2. Trump University was not an actual university but rather consisted of seminars promising lessons in real-estate investing.

3. The sales pitch was for potential students to attend a free 90-minute orientation after which they were encouraged to sign up for a three-day seminar at the cost of $1,495.

 

4. Students who enrolled at the three-day seminar were told they would earn six figure incomes in a year just for working five to seven hours a week. They were also told that Mr. Trump frequently dropped by at the seminars to share success tips, which students say did not happen.

5. Students who finished the three-day seminar were advised to register for the next level, known as the Elite mentorship and apprenticeship programs for additional costs of up to $35,000.

6. As early as 2005, the New York State Department of Education warned Trump University that it was operating an unlicensed educational institution in violation of state law, according to the investigation.

7. New York educational regulators said it was misleading and illegal for the company to call itself a university.In 2010, at the insistence of New York education regulators, Trump changed the name of his school to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.

8. In 2014, a New York state judge ruled that the company had operated illegally by not meeting state licensing requirements for education providers.

9. The ruling was part of an ongoing lawsuit by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which also alleges that the company and its spokesman, Mr. Trump, made false and deceptive claims to students. As many as 7,000 people across the country bought the sales pitch, spending an estimated $40 million on the seminars offered by Trump University.

10. According to Mr. Schneirderman’s office, in 2009, an ad that was published at least 170 times promised students would “learn from Donald Trump’s handpicked instructors, and that participants would have access to Trump’s real estate ‘secrets.’ ” However, an investigation by Mr. Schneiderman’s office found this to be the contrary. Most of the seminars were found to have been run by motivational speakers and not instructors, one of whom was a manager at a Buffalo Wild Wings.

Update: On March 2, 2016, a state appeals court gave a green light to a civil fraud claim against the GOP front-runner and his Trump University. In a unanimous ruling, a four-judge panel of the state Appellate Division said the state attorney general’s office is “authorized to bring a cause of action for fraud” — despite Mr. Tump’s claims to the contrary. To be continued…

Sources:

Inside Higher Education: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/03/01/what-does-trump-university-show-about-state-regulation-profit-schools?utm_content=buffer089d4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=IHEbuffer

The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/27/us/donald-trump-marco-rubio-trump-university.html?_r=0

CBS This Morning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ_IEvczweY

The New York Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/court-rules-g-trump-university-fraud-lawsuit-proceed-article-1.2548924

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit www.acei-global.org.

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Guide to Choosing a College/University Major in the U.S.

May 7th, 2015

“A major is a specific subject area that students specialize in. Typically, between one-third and one-half of the courses you’ll take in college will be in your major or related to it.” (The College Board)

Applying to a U.S. college to pursue your undergraduate studies is daunting, not to mention waiting for the acceptance and the dreaded rejection letters. Once you have received your acceptance and headed to your desired institution, you face another challenge, that of choosing a college major, unless you’re one of the rare few who has known all along what he/she wants to major in.

The Challenge

Challenge

Choosing a college major for majority of undergraduate students can be overwhelming. Schools don’t make it any easier for students either. There are hundreds of majors to choose from and you want to make the right decision that will serve you well into you adult life, one that will help you on your career path and or graduate study. Naturally, it is a big commitment, but it’s not a life sentence and many college graduates end up in careers that had no direct relation to their majors or end up changing careers over the years. Point is that you want to select a major you will enjoy as you will be spending a great deal of time studying whatever subject you select.

The Homework

Homework

You can get started by doing a little homework of your own. At some U.S. colleges, you can major in two fields, have both a major and a minor (a specialization that requires fewer courses than a major) and even have the freedom to create your own major.

Ask yourself these questions as you ponder over selecting the right major for you:

Career-related

• What type of career or careers can you see yourself in?
• What type of work do you enjoy doing?
• What type of work environment do you see yourself in for a long time?
• If you had a part-time job when you were in high school or worked before starting college, what did you learn about your past work experience? What did you like and dislike?
• If you completed a career assessment in high school, what did your results indicate?

Hobbies & Interests

• What are your interests?
• Which subjects did you enjoy studying the most in high school?
• What type of skills do you have?
• Do you have any hobbies that you would like to pursue as a career?

Loyola University of Chicago has a quiz you can take to help you narrow down your choices or at least help you see what your options are in picking a college major. If you want to give their quiz a try, here’s the link to their site: http://www.luc.edu/undergrad/academiclife/whatsmymajorquiz/

The Exploration and Discovery

thinkingcap

While being undecided is fine, it’s good to have some idea of what you want to do or at least have a few ideas on majors you can explore and choose from once you start college. Typically, most US colleges allow you to go around undecided through your freshman (first) year but by the end of your sophomore (second) year, they do expect you to choose a major before you can continue onto your junior (third) year of studies. Though this will not be the case for some majors such as engineering, which require you to commit to taking the prerequisite courses earlier.

Again, remember you can be undecided in your first year which gives you the opportunity to explore a variety of courses. So, take a class or two in disciplines that interest you. This will help you get a better understanding of the field and if it is what you want to continue studying for the career of your dreams.

College is a huge investment, especially in the U.S., and choosing a major that will prepare you for a specific career is important. Check out PayScale.com for up-to-date information on their College ROI reports. Majors that lead to the highest salaries include any engineering specialty, computer science, economics, actuarial mathematics, physics, and economics.

Don’t write off liberal arts courses just because you may think all the jobs are for engineers and computer scientists and nothing for philosophy or English majors. Employers are looking for and value individuals who have critical thinking skills and writing abilities and these are exactly the qualities liberal arts majors provide. Though selecting a major that guarantees employment and a salary commensurate with your talents and education is important, you do need to keep in mind your quality of life; ultimately you want to be doing what makes you happy and not be trapped in a high paying job that makes you miserable.

Finally, once in college, don’t hesitate to talk to professors, department heads, peer advisors, and other students and ask for their help. If you can, find an internship off campus. Continue exploring your interests in your first and second years, complete the required general education courses and you may just find the major that best fits your interests and even your ideal career.

Helpful links:
http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-economic-guide-to-picking-a-college-major/
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/choosing-one-college-major-out-of-hundreds.html?_r=0
http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2011/09/19/5-ways-to-pick-the-right-college-major

Alan
Alan Saidi
Senior Vice President & COO

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The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA. ACEI provides a number of services that include evaluations of international academic credentials for U.S. educational equivalence, translation, verification, and professional training programs. ACEI is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators. For more information, visit http://www.acei-global.org.

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Classification of College Courses: Demystifying Course #s and Levels

October 24th, 2013

college

We regularly get asked by our international student applicants what is meant by “lower division” and “upper division.”

In the U.S., undergraduate degrees such as the Associate and Bachelor comprise of a select number of courses with a specific number of credits. In order to qualify for the award of these degrees, students must complete a required number of courses at what is considered to be lower level and or lower and upper levels. Graduate degrees also have a specific number of required courses with corresponding course numbers.

We have prepared the following description and hope you’ll find it helpful!

    Lower-Division Courses

Lower-division courses, typically numbered from 100 to 299, are designed primarily for freshmen and sophomores. Certain classes are closed to freshmen who lack the designated prerequisites or whose majors are outside the units offering the courses.

    Upper-Division Courses

Upper-division courses, are typically numbered from 300 to 499, and designed primarily for juniors and seniors. Prerequisites and other restrictions should be noted before registration. Courses at the 400 level apply to graduate degree requirements for some graduate programs. Always check with the Graduate office at the U.S. institution for information. Generally, upper-division level build upon material taught at the lower-division level in introductory or survey courses. For example, English 101 – Freshman English is a lower level course at the introductory level. Some courses labeled “Introduction to…” can be upper level courses depending upon the university reviewing the course. On a 100-400 numbering system, for example a course titled “Politics 512 – Introduction to International Law” may be offered for both undergraduate and graduate credit. It’s clearly “upper level” even though it says “Introduction” in the title. Upper division courses are courses offered at the junior level or higher.  By definition any course taken at a community college is not upper division.  Lower division courses are any course taken at a junior college or community college or courses offered at the freshman and sophomore level at a four-year college or university regardless of the title or content of the course.

    Graduate-Level Courses

Graduate-level courses, are typically numbered from 500 to 799, and designed primarily for graduate students. However, an upper-division undergraduate student may enroll in courses numbered 500-599 with the approval of the student’s advisor, course instructor, department chair and dean of the college in which a course is offered. If such a course does not meet an undergraduate graduation requirement, it may be eligible for use in a future graduate program on the same basis as work taken by a non-degree graduate student.

Alan

Alan A. Saidi
Senior Vice President & COO, ACEI, Inc.
www.acei1.com

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Education and Experience: A Healthy Partnership

October 10th, 2013

eduexperience

The only source of knowledge is experience.
-Albert Einstein

There are those who are book smart and those who are street smart. Some get their “education” from the school of hard knocks and some from sitting in a classroom and listening to a teacher’s lecture. The rising cost of a college education and the anemic job market has many scratching their heads wondering if it’s worth it. However, not having a degree or too little education is also not an option in many industries where a bachelor’s or master’s degree is the norm. Someone with experience but no college degree may qualify for certain jobs but may find growth opportunities and advancements limited or non-existent. Yet, the four or six years spent sitting in college lecture halls and pouring over books and reports leave many little time to acquire the hands-on work experience potential employers are looking for when hiring. How do you prioritize between education and experience?

We’ve all heard the arguments from both sides. Proponents of a college education quote statistics and studies to demonstrate how a college degree helps a person’s employability and earnings while those who dismiss education as a waste of time and money remind us of the famous college dropouts like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to prove their point.

Is education more important than experience or vice versa? The truth is they are not mutually exclusive but together are the combination needed to begin a career path and grow.

Recently, we received documents from an applicant who had attended a university in Australia and received a Master’s degree. When asked to submit his undergraduate documents for evaluation, he explained that the university considered his professional (work) experience and admitted him to its Master’s degree program in lieu of the earned bachelor’s degree. The university provided a detailed document explaining the methodology it employs in recognizing professional experience and qualifications for entry into its post-graduate degree programs.

Experience-based evaluations based on a set of guidelines/criteria by which professional practice can be recognized and applied objectively is an approach some institutions, especially in today’s market, are adopting. The Australian institution in question provided the following criteria by which credits are allocated for the learning acquired through the experience, which in the case of the candidate being evaluated was in the field of music:

1) Nature of training
-Duration
-Mode of learning, teachers and so on
-Any other relevant considerations (partially completed degrees/non recognized qualification etc.)

2) Nature of professional practice:
-Context(s)
-Duration
-National/International Experience
-Professional Referees /Peer Recognition
-Other relevant professional experience/considerations: Recording contracts/nature of collaborations/performances

3) Recordings/Publications:
-Context
-Publisher

In addition, candidates for this mode of entry to the Australian university mentioned are required to provide relevant documents that support their case for admission, including recordings, press reviews, letters of reference, proof of prior study and so on that can be examined by the subcommittee (comprised of the Head of Department, Program/Curriculum Developer, and one Faculty member).

Recognizing experience, that is; proven and well-documented experience-based learning is one approach institutions of higher learning can take into consideration offering individuals the opportunity to bring the knowledge gained through hands-on experience into the university classroom environment.
Another approach is implementing work-based training/experience into the degree program so that the college graduate leaves not only with a diploma highlighting his/her ability to think analytically and logically, demonstrating his/her exposure to an intellectually stimulating environment, but with basic skills set of experience in solving real-world work problems.

According to a recent Northeastern University survey, higher education students and employers strongly support experiential learning where a student’s classroom education is integrated with professional work experience. An interesting finding in the Northeastern U. survey shows that nearly 75% of hiring decision-makers surveyed believe students with work experience related to their field of study are more successful employees, while 82% of graduates from experiential learning programs say the experience was valuable for their personal and professional development. The business world is taking notice and sees the link between academic with industry as a big step forward.

Some Universities, like Purdue U. have in place study-abroad opportunities as experiential learning models. This international experience is seen as exactly what their students need in order to polish their talents and become more competitive in the global market place.

Experiential learning programs represent a logical blend of the old adage of hands-on-learning in the work place and a college education. Even the White House is a fan of experiential learning programs. James Kvaal, the Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House has commended Northeastern and Purdue for “delivering good value for students and continually improving and innovating.”

Education, a great foundation for any professional, is no longer enough in a competitive marketplace. One way to stand out among other professionals who have the same degree is to show work experience, whether acquired through a paid-full-time job, volunteering, apprenticeships, freelancing, internship or part of co-operative work placements of their college degree. The debate is no longer about education “or” experience, or education “versus” experience; it is about the right combination of a successful academic history and relevant work experience.

Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI
www.acei1.com

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5 helpful tips for international students

September 5th, 2013

Students at Climate Change Downscaling Program

So, you’re an international student and freshly arrived on the campus of a U.S. college. Welcome! Now that you’re here, it’s understandable that you’re going to find college life daunting. You’re thousands of miles away from home and family and out of your comfort zone. Here are five tips to consider as you start your first semester, which hopefully will help your college experience as an international student in your host country rewarding and memorable.

Orientation – Many colleges will have arranged an international student orientation program before the official start of the semester. The program maybe offered as a lecture over a course of a day, or a few days in length. The orientation day or week is a great opportunity to acclimate to campus life and find your bearings. You’ll be offered information on important matters such as visas statuses, local laws, campus security, campus maps, checklist of things to do before the start of the semester. Orientation week also offer opportunities like mixers and sporting activities to bring the new students together. Make sure you participate in both the practical and fun activities.

Join a club or society – Most colleges will have a club fair at the start of the semester. Walk around and visit each booth, ask questions, and see which activity interests you. It’s not only about the Greek system of fraternities and sororities. If the fraternity or sorority life is not your style, you’ll find many other campus clubs that focus on a specific topic or interest, such as language groups, like the French club, or Spanish club, or musical groups, like the guitar group, or ukulele group, or a cappella singing group. There are also sporting societies and many other extra-curricular organizations. It’s important that you mix your academic calendar with at least one extra-curricular activity to benefit from a full campus experience.
Source: HYPERLINK “http://www.sbcc.edu” http://www.sbcc.edu

Make Friends outside your comfort zone – It’s easy when you’re an international student to gravitate to students who are from your country of origin. You speak the same language and share the same culture. There’s nothing wrong with this but you need to step out of your comfort zone and initiate conversations with other classmates. Not only will this help improve your command of the English language (if English is not your native tongue) but will also open you up to new cultural experiences. In fact, you will also help open and broaden your new friend’s perspectives on your culture.

Explore a (fun) course – Your major be mechanical engineering, or political science, or computer science, but make sure that you take at least one course that is not related to your major but is interesting and different. It could be a Square dancing or Salsa dancing class, or a course in Sufi meditation, or on the Evolution of Hip Hop, whatever the offerings, add a little variety to your program. Usually, these courses are 1 unit of credit, so you’re not taking a bite out of your regular course schedule.

Off campus – Though a college campus can be a small town of its own and offer a great variety of activities, it’s important that you step out of campus and venture into the local town or city where your college is located. It could be as simple as going to see an exhibition at a museum or gallery, to having dinner, seeing a movie, hiking, camping, or visiting the local farmer’s market. Exploring the local community is vital to your own personal growth and offers you a better perspective of life outside the college campus environment.

It’s easy to get into the routine of going from the dorm, to a class, to the library, back to the dorm, to the cafeteria, and become a couch potato without leaving the campus. Get out of your comfort zone. You’ve come this far to America, go out and explore and discover new things about the country and yourself!

ACEI

Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc.
www.acei1.com

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10 Newsworthy Items on Education in the United Kingdom

July 11, 2013

Oxford University

Back when I was in school in England, the benchmark of completing secondary education was taking the external examinations known as the General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level (GCE O’level) and /or the Certificate of Secondary Education. (CSE). By the time I was in Form V (11th year of secondary school), my classmates and I were deep in preparation for the GCE O’levels and CSE examinations. Our boarding school, Charters Towers School (CTS), in the sleepy beach town of Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex, followed the University of Cambridge GCE O’level curriculum, implying that we were preparing for tougher exams. All I remember is being sick with a serious case of laryngitis and having to suppress excruciatingly painful coughs induced by the illness so as to not disturb the other girls furtively scribbling their answers on the exam papers. The fact that I managed to score well on the exams given my poor state of health is a wonder I can’t explain to this day. I left CTS and the UK after finishing the first term of Form VI after being accepted to university in the U.S. Much has changed in the UK education system since then, especially with the GCEs and CSEs which were combined into the GCSEs. And there’s still talk about revamping the secondary and Form VI curriculum and even extending school leaving age to 18.

Thanks to The Guardian newspaper, below are highlights of 10 newsworthy developments in education in the UK:

1. Raising school leaving age from 16 to 18

To combat the rising unemployment numbers, the government is considering to raise the school leaving age from 16 to 18 and offer apprenticeship and training programs. “Latest figures show that of the 137,000 rise in unemployment in the three months of October, 55,000, or 40%, were in the 18-24 age bracket. While the country’s overall jobless rate is currently 6%, among 18-24-year-olds it is 14% and among 16-17-year-olds it is 26%. Unemployment in Britain stood at 1.86 million at the end of October, and many experts predict it will rise to around 3 million over the next 12-18 months.”

(Source: “School-leaving age may rise to 18 in effort to tackle unemployment”)

2. GCSE overhaul, again

Harking back to the days when the GCE O’levels and CSE’s were scrapped and replaced by the GCSEs (taken by students in England), now there’s talk of revising the GCSEs to make them, in the words of Michael Groves, Secretary of Education: “more demanding and rigorous.” The new exam, tentatively known as “GCSE (England)” recommends a new grading system of 1-8, with 8 as the highest grade and 1 as the lowest, replacing the A* to G grade scale of the current model. The new GCSE curriculum for English literature requires the study of at least one Shakespeare play (which I believe existed in the former GCE O’level course), selection of Romantic poetry, a 19th century novel (I still remember slogging through DH Lawrence’s “Sons and Lovers”), a selection of poetry since 1850, and British fiction and drama written since the first world war.” GCSE history will also experience a makeover and include a minimum 40% British history (covering medieval, early modern or modern periods) and a minimum 25% content on world history. (I remember on days we had history classes, how we all dashed to the school library to pour over newspapers gleaning news of current world events in preparation for the inevitable pop quizzes our history teacher was prone to give.)

(Source: “GCSEs to become more demanding and rigorous, says Michael Gove”)

3. Counting the 1st year toward the Bachelor’s degree

Unlike the United States, where every course taken with credit and final grade earned counts toward ones overall grade point average qualifying for the award of the Bachelor’s degree, students at UK universities did not face the same assessment methodology, at least until now. Debate is currently underway in the UK as to whether the 1st year of university studies should be counted toward the degree and in so doing to adopt a grading system similar to the grade point system of the U.S. This would mean doing away with the traditional degree classification model (First Class, Second Class, Third Class, Pass, etc.).

(Source: “Should first year count towards your degree?”)

4. Revamping A’levels with help from the Universities

It’s not just the GCSEs that are about to get a makeover, the GCE Advanced Level examinations have also been under scrutiny. The Department of Education has accepted to allow the universities to have more of a say in the redesigning of the A’level curriculum, though some feel this involvement will make the A’levels look nothing but a university entrance examination. (Currently, the A’level examination content is developed by the examination boards and the Department of Education.) As a result, the A-level Content Advisory Body (Alcab) has been formed to co-ordinate input and advice from specialists and university experts. Alcab’s role is ensure the A’levels in mathematics, advanced mathematics, English literature, physics, biology, chemistry, geography, history and modern and classical languages offer students “adequate preparation” for higher education admission. Universities don’t feel the students entering their institutions with current A’level examinations have sufficient preparation to tackle undergraduate coursework, especially in writing and research skills.

(Source: “Top universities strike deal with DfE to have say in redeveloping A-levels”)

5. A Green Competition

Universities in the UK are competing for #1 ranking in sustainability. Manchester Metropolitan University grabbed this year’s “People and Planet Green Leagu” #1 spot followed by Plymouth University in 2nd place and Greenwich (last year’s #1) in 3rd. Both Cambridge and Oxford ranked abysmally this year, even worse than last year. Cambridge dropped 17 places and is now ranked at 113 out of 143. Oxford didn’t fare well either. Institutions are judged on their strong sustainability programs, from food to design, carbon-reduction efforts, ethical investments, staff resources, and environmental management, to name a few.

(Source: “The firsts and the ‘fails’ in the 2013 Green League of universities”)

6. University of Sussex dips low in the charts

The Guardian pushes the “university league table” that charts the rankings of universities in the U.K. and earlier this month, the institution that suffered the most with the poorest ranking was the University of Sussex. According to the table, Sussex dropped from 27th place to 50th, “its lowest ever position since the table’s establishment.” Some of the reasons attributed to the University’s dip in the rankings are: poor employment rates (perhaps caused by conflict between students and management over plans to outsource campus services) and students concerns over assessment and feedback. Sussex pro-vice chancellor Clare Mackie explains the drop a mere “blip” in the data, when graduate unemployment rates reached double figures for the first time and that students have now been addressed.

(Source: “Sussex University’s league table tumble: blip or catastrophe?”)

7. Oxford University Sued over Selection based on Wealth

After his application for admission was denied for not having access to £21,000 for tuition fees and living costs, Damien Shannon, a 26-year old student, sued St. Hugh’s College, Oxford for “selecting by wealth.” In his suit, Shannon claimed that since its founding in 1886, the college was discriminating against the poor by asking “students to prove that they had liquid assets sufficient to cover £12,900 a year in living costs, in addition to potentially tens of thousands of pounds in tuition fees. Under the university-wide policy the college refused to take into account projected earnings from students who planned to do paid work during their course.” Shannon has met the University’s academic requirements for admission but not its financial criteria. St Hugh’s has filed a defense and refutes the claim arguing “that the test of a student’s financial health is to ensure that they will be able to complete their courses without suffering financial difficulty and anxiety, according to its lawyers’ defense papers.” Friends of Shannaon and even a cabinet member of parliament Hazel Blears (a former Labour cabinet minister who is now chairwoman of the all-party parliamentary group on social mobility), see Oxford University’s criteria for a guarantee on living expenses by students who have met the academic requirements, as deeply unfair. According to Blears: “It is ludicrous that a student deemed to be of sufficient academic merit is deemed incapable of budgeting to ensure they have enough money to live on. Even in an expensive city like Oxford, a student can live on far less than £13,000 a year with careful budgeting. In any case, living costs should be a student’s personal responsibility and many get part-time jobs to help make ends meet.

(Source: “Oxford University settles ‘selection by wealth’ case”)

8. Immigration crackdown leads to a loss of international students

International students, as it is for the U.S., are one of the UK’s most successful revenue-
generating economic resource contributing an estimated £8bn to the UK economy every year by paying high fees to universities and colleges and making a valuable contribution to local economies.
As universities faced drastic funding cuts, they were relying on growth in the international student market as a financial reprise, but the decline in the number of students looking at the UK to further their education has hurt universities financially. The immigration crackdown and focus on students has much to do on abuse of the visa system, “bogus-colleges,” and students arriving in the UK with no intention of studying. However, the crackdown also means that those students who genuinely are intent on getting an education are being barred from entering or choose not to apply to universities in the UK and instead turn their attention to Australia, Canada and the U.S.

(Source: “The UK’s immigration crackdown will lead to a loss of international talent”)

9. International education agents: separating the good from the bad

Across the pond, concern over international education agents and their commission-based recruiting of students is a subject of discussion as it is here in the U.S. More and more UK institutions are relying on international education agents to recruit students from them by paying the agents commissions. The University of Nottingham paid £1m in commission to education agents for successfully recruiting international students in 2012. In fact, nearly 58% of international students in the UK and Australia were recruited through agents. There is little transparency over whether agents are used in the first place and how much commission universities pay agents for each recruited student. Transparency, ethical and best practices, and a voluntary quality control program abided by international education agents are steps discussed by educators in the UK to protect the international students, their families and the institutions against fraud and misrepresentation in the marketplace.

(Source: “International agents: how can students and universities tell good from bad?”)

10. Poor students getting the shift in higher education

According to official data reported by Les Ebdon, the access ombudsman for higher education in England, universities and colleges must do what they can to attract students from disadvantaged backgrounds as affluent applicants outnumber those from deprived areas by three to one. (See item #7, which gives Damien Shannon’s suit against Oxford University a heads up.

(Source: “Universities and colleges told to do more for disadvantaged students”)

Jasmin S. Kuehnert
President & CEO ACEI
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