Universities are concentrating on popular subjects and dropping courses that have too few applicants or are too expensive to run.
Official figures show a cull of more than 2,600 in the number of courses available to applicants planning to start their degrees in 2013.
More than 5,200 courses had already been removed for students beginning this year - the first cohort to face the higher fees.
Universities dumped some of the courses even after prospectuses went online earlier this year and in some cases after applications began, according to reports yesterday. Read more...
Reasons given for the establishment of most of the institutions has to do with incessant strike actions by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, the case of brain drain as many of the best brains are known to have left the shores of the country for greener pastures in foreign lands, lack of, or none availability of laboratory equipments and even if they exist, they are outdated and cannot compete with present challenges of the present era, corruption in the sector as noted by the NUC executive secretary, Prof Julius Okojie, who has chosen to fight institutions for studying courses that are yet to be accredited by the commission and also the executive secretary of TETFund, Prof Mamood Yakubu who has noted from investigations that the offices of many vice chancellors have become ‘giant bureaucracies as most of the workers are employed without proper scrutiny as enshrined in the law’ and the list is just endless. More...
Rising living costs and a lack of financial support are preventing disadvantaged students from succeeding at university, according to a report by the National Union of Students. More...
Students from poorer backgrounds may have benefited from the introduction of higher university tuition fees in England, according to a new study published today.
The gap in higher education participation between those from wealthy and deprived backgrounds has narrowed rapidly since the 2006-07 student finance regime changes, which saw the tuition fees cap rise from £1,000 to £3,000 per annum.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report, this could be because the new fee regime was more generous to poorer students and hit those from richer backgrounds relatively harder. More...
The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) warns that the new fees policy will have one or more of the following consequences:
- Future taxpayers will need to pay more.
- Other parts of the higher education budget will need to be cut.
- Student numbers will need to be held down even further than currently planned.
- Former students will have to repay more.
In The Cost of the Government’s Reforms of the Financing of Higher Education, they argue that as student loans are one of the items used to calculate the official inflation rate, the proposals will lead to a rise in the social security budget and therefore increased government spending. More...
The Rectors’ Conference of the Swiss Universities (Crus) will recommend the measure next week as a means to alleviate the growing financial burden on many institutions, according to the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.
Universities want an international arrangement similar to a current inter-cantonal system that spreads the cost of higher education across the country. A canton that sees residents take up studies in another region will contribute a fee to the canton where the university is based. The lack of such an arrangement for international students is a cause for concern for some cash-strapped Swiss universities, particularly those with a high proportion of foreign students. Swiss universities are funded almost exclusively from the public purse. Some 35,000 foreign students studied in Switzerland last year – with around 10,000 coming from Germany.
The Crus recommendation to fund the growing number of foreign scholars follows a similar demand from the national union of students that was put to the government a year ago. Swiss secretary of state for education and research Mauro Dell’Ambrogio told the NZZ am Sonntag that the subject had already been informally broached with Germany. “The Swiss model could certainly also function internationally,” he said.
But Germany had not particularly warmed to the idea, despite an offer of reciprocal funding for Swiss students at German universities. Germany would end up with net payment deficits under such an arrangement, Dell’Ambrogio noted. However, Crus president Antonio Loprieno refused to give up hope that such a deal could be struck in future. “There is little realistic prospect of such a solution working for the whole of Europe,” he told the NZZ am Sonntag. “A bilateral agreement with Germany, as the largest home country of foreign students, would be the best solution.”
Last year, Crus looked into the legal possibilities of imposing quotas of foreign students at Swiss universities. They eventually advised members that such measures are legal, but only one university - St Gallen - decided to follow that path.
Other universities, most notably in the West of Switzerland, have a different attitude to the foreign student exodus, arguing that more overseas students raises standards and improves universities’ international standings.
By Sean Coughlan. The latest expansion in prestigious online universities in the US includes plans to charge for courses which will count towards degrees.
The University of Texas (UT) System is joining the edX online platform project set up by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The University of Texas says it could offer degree credits through the online platform, with a tuition fee attached.
Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said he wanted Texas to "lead this revolution".
"The UT System does plan to eventually offer courses for credit. There will be a tuition charge for credit-earning courses, but the amount hasn't been determined," said Jenny LaCoste-Caputo, spokeswoman for the UT System.
This would be a major step for this new wave of online universities set up this year by top universities in the US.
The edX alliance, launched this year, already includes MIT, Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. But so far these have offered free courses which do not carry credit towards degrees.
The latest recruit to edX - with more expected this autumn - is one the biggest public university systems in the US.
The network of universities in the University of Texas System has more than 200,000 students, 19,000 academic staff and an annual operating budget of $13bn (£8bn).
Selon nos informations, ce privilège, le gouvernement envisage de le supprimer, du moins pour ceux qui ne sont pas boursiers. "C'est une piste à étudier, confie-t-on dans l'entourage de Geneviève Fioraso, ministre de l'enseignement supérieur. Elle le sera sans doute en début d'année prochaine." De même source, on confie qu'il y a là une question d'"équité" : "Il faut que toute personne entrant dans le postbac se trouve dans la même situation." Suite de l'article.
By Carmen Paun. University tuition fees cost more in England than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new report from the European Commission – but the headline figures are not the whole story for students sizing up how to survive.
Students in England pay up to €11,500 (US$15,075) per year: those in Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Malta, Norway, Scotland and Sweden pay little or nothing.
In Austria and Denmark, national and European Union (EU) students pay no fees. In Norway, both national and international students are exempted from fees for public higher education.
The report, published on 10 September and titled National Student Fee and Support Systems 2011-2012, was produced for the commission by the Eurydice network.
The highest fees are charged in the UK (England, Wales and Northern Ireland). Until 2012 they were set at £3 375 per year. As of September 2012, this level increased in England to a new basic tuition fee of £6 000 and a maximum of £9 000. Students in England receive a loan to pay the fees and do not have to re-pay this until they are in relatively well-paid employment. In Wales, however, the additional cost of tuition fees for Welsh domiciled students will be met by the Welsh government, even if they study outside Wales. Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, fees will rise only in line with inflation at £3465 in 2012/13.
At the other end of the scale, there are 9 countries where students (not including international students from outside the EU/EEA) are not charged fees. They are Austria, Cyprus (bachelors' level), Denmark (though part-time students are charged), Finland, Greece and Malta (bachelors' level), Norway, Scotland (bachelors' level) and Sweden. In Germany, for the new academic year 2012/13, two Länder (Bavaria, and Lower Saxony) charge fees, while the other 14 do not.
Proportion of fee payers
The proportion of students who pay fees in each country ranges considerably. In a number of countries all students pay fees, and this is the case in Belgium (Flemish Community), Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Turkey. In seven countries (Belgium's French Community, Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Romania) a majority pay fees. In four countries (Croatia, Germany, Lithuania, Slovenia), a minority pay fees, and finally there are the 9 countries mentioned above where no students pay at bachelor level (apart from part-time students in Denmark).
International student fees
For students coming from outside the European Union, fee levels tend to be higher. They are generally set by higher education institutions themselves, although in some countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, Romania) there are central-level regulations governing fee levels. In 6 countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein and Norway) students from outside the European Union are treated in the same way regarding fees as those from within the European Union.
Differences in fees between cycles
Fees levels tend to be higher for Masters' level (second cycle) than for bachelors' level (first cycle), and fees are also charged to more students in the second cycle. In Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Scotland, fees are charged in the second cycle but not in the first, while higher levels of fees are typically charged at Masters' level in Ireland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland).
- The amount of fees per year fixed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research is EUR 177 in the first cycle (L1, L2, L3) and EUR 245 in the second cycle (M1, M2). However, a number of universities have decided to add associated costs related to specific services (e.g. for diplomas related to continuing learning and training). In some public universities, the tuition fees can reach more than EUR 2 000/year.
- Fees in the grandes écoles and Engineering Schools vary, but the most common amount is EUR 584 per year. However, tuition fees in some of them reach up to EUR 13 500/year, depending on family income.
- Students who receive a grant (approximately 30 % of the student population) are exempted from fees.
- Grants are awarded on the basis of financial need to students that are less than 28 years of age.
- The amount awarded for the need-based grant depends on the assessment of social criteria, and varies between EUR 1 606 and 4 600 per year. The merit-based grant ranges from EUR 1 800 to 6 102.
- Loans are also available, with a maximum amount of EUR 15 000, but less than 0.1 % of university students take out such a loan.
- Parents are eligible for tax relief if students are financially dependent on them and are less than 25 years old. The amount of tax relief is proportional to the amount of taxable income of the household.
- Family allowances are paid for two or more dependent children that are under 20 years old. The minimum amount is EUR 127 per month and increases with the number of eligible children. An additional amount of EUR 63 per month is paid for every child that is aged 16-20 years.
S T U D E N T S U P P O R T
Student support takes different forms and aims to meet different needs from country to country. However, the most common forms of support are grants and loans, which sometimes operate in conjunction (where the student receives loans and grants) and sometimes separately (student receives either a loan or a grant).
All countries, with the exception of Iceland and Turkey, provide some types of grant to at least some students. In Turkey there are fee reductions for some students, but no grants. There is a wide range of situations in other countries regarding the likelihood of receiving a grant. In Denmark, Cyprus and Malta all students receive grants. In Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) the majority of students receive grants. In the vast majority of countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain) only a minority of students receive grants. The proportion varies from 1% of the student population in Greece to around 40% in Hungary.
While it may be theoretically possible for students to take out loans in all countries, they are considered as a main feature of student support systems if around 5% of the student population takes out such a loan. This is the case in 16 countries: Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, the UK (all parts), Iceland, Norway and Turkey.
Other support: family allowances and tax benefits for parents of students
Student support systems may consider the student either as an individual or as a member of a family
that may need support. In the Nordic countries, in particular, the student is considered as an individual, and it is the individual who receives support. However, in many other countries, support may depend on overall family circumstances, and some forms of support may be channelled to other members of the family rather than the student.
Family allowances and tax benefits play a significant role in student support in a number of countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia (tax benefits only), Greece, France, Ireland (tax benefits only), Italy (tax benefits only), Latvia (tax benefits only), Lithuania, Malta (tax benefits only), Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia (tax benefits only), Slovakia and Liechtenstein (tax benefits only).
Note: 4 countries – Spain, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland did not submit information for this data collection. See National student fee and support systems 2011/2012.