Top Ten

August 4, 2011

Former UQAM rector won't face criminal charges over capital development cost overruns

Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions has decided there is not enough proof against former Université du Québec à Montréal rector Roch Denis to warrant charges following a criminal investigation into costs overruns at UQAM's real estate developments. Denis, along with 2 other UQAM officials, were said to have hidden key facts from the institution's board of directors, faculty, and staff. All 3 resigned in 2006 in the wake of the scandal. Due to the cost overruns, UQAM was in dire financial straits and the Quebec government had to bail out the university. Montreal Gazette

NB criticized for reintroducing parental contribution on loan assessments

In March the New Brunswick government announced it would reintroduce parental contributions to student loan assessments, a move expected to save the province $1.6 million. A spokeswoman for the PSE department says the goal in bringing back the parental contribution was to help make student debt levels more manageable and to make PSE more accessible. The president of the University of New Brunswick's student union disagrees, noting the loan assessment only looks at the numbers and not what a parent is capable of paying out. The Liberals' PSE critic calls the move a step backwards for the province. The reason the previous Liberal government ended parental contribution requirements had to do with accessibility, he says. Canadaeast News Service | CBC

Substitute teachers in PEI to require more university education

The Prince Edward Island government is changing how much university education is needed for substitute teachers. Teachers now require at least 3 years of higher education, up from just one year. The Certification and Standards Board made the changes after fielding complaints that some substitute teachers were not much older than students. The changes come into effect next month. CBC

SMU planning campus expansion to cut costs

Saint Mary's University is planning to save money by expanding its campus. The institution is working on a new "north east campus project" that involves the expansion of its TESL building. SMU is considering 3 variations on the expansion, ranging from 23,500 square feet to 42,000 square feet. Early cost estimates range from $8 million to $16 million. The new facility will bring several programs offered elsewhere back on campus. An SMU spokesman says the project is an opportunity to save on rent costs by bringing programs back to campus. Metro News

WLU Brantford dorms "bursting at the seam"

The residence manager of Wilfrid Laurier University's Brantford campus says the institution's 8 student residences are fully booked for September due to a stronger than expected enrolment in local programs. WLU Brantford has added some extra double-occupancy rooms to its Grand Hall River residence to accommodate some of the additional students, and is also leasing several downtown properties. "In terms of residence, we're bursting at the seams," the residence manager says. Brantford Expositor

Georgian College receives $1-million donation for Health and Wellness Centre

Midhurst, Ontario residents John and Margaret Elliott have donated $1 million to Georgian College in support of its Centre for Health and Wellness, which opens August 31. The centre will feature 6 community-accessible health clinics and multiple simulation labs where students will receive hands-on training. The gift brings the total raised for the centre to $12.2 million, or 90% of the college's community fundraising goal for this project. Georgian College News Release

Concordia first Canadian university to join Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions

The University of Kansas has taken the lead in forming a coalition with 21 other post-secondary institutions with established faculty open access policies in North America -- including Concordia University -- to establish the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI). The coalition will collaborate and share implementation strategies, as well as advocate on a national level for colleges and universities with open access policies. COAPI's next steps include a pre-conference meeting at the Berlin 9 Open Access Conference in November in Washington, D.C. University of Kansas News Release

US most expensive country for overseas study, report finds

According to a new UK report on fees charged to international students, the US is the most expensive of 10 countries surveyed, followed by Australia and the UK. The report found that fees were the lowest in Germany. The study's authors say pricing and market intelligence will be increasingly important, and suggest the "low or non-existent" fees for postgraduate research students in continental Europe, Canada, and New Zealand could become key as nations vie for research talent. The researchers note that fees are only part of the story, pointing to "significant support for high-quality international students in the form of scholarships (and) fee waivers" offered by some institutions and counties such as New Zealand and the Netherlands. Times Higher Education

Visa applications rise 20% for Indian students looking to study in US

According to figures from the US Embassy in New Delhi, visa applications from Indian students seeking degrees in the US rose 20% in the 2011 fiscal year. One of the biggest factors behind the increase, says international-education experts, is the tightening of immigration regulations in Britain and Australia, which could make it more difficult of foreign students to get visas and to remain in those countries after graduating to work. Another influence could be India's economy, which has bucked the worldwide recession and continued to grow, meaning more students and their families have the resources to pay for an international degree. US institutions are also likely benefiting from the widening gap between demand for PSE in India and available university spaces, particularly at top-ranked institutions. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)

US survey explores e-expectations of college-bound students, parents

According to a US survey of college-bound high school seniors and their parents, the majority of respondents said the college search and enrolment decision process is a collaborative effort between students and parents. One in 5 students surveyed said they removed an institution from consideration due to a bad experience on a school's website. When first visiting an institution's site, more students and parents tend to click on links relating to academics and programs of study. 27% of students with a Facebook account said they had visited a college's Facebook page, compared to 12% of parents with Facebook accounts. 9% of students and 5% of parents surveyed said they had Twitter accounts. More than three-quarters of both students and parents said they never or only rarely read blogs on college websites. 2011 E-Expectations Report: Students and Parents (registration required for full report)