Top Ten

August 16, 2011

BC continues crackdown on private colleges with high loan default rates

StudentAid BC has told 13 private PSE institutions where large number of students do not pay back provincial loans that their students will no longer have access to financial aid. The 2010 loan default rates for the 13 schools range from 30.6% to 61.4%. Private colleges with default rates of more than 28% for 4 or more years in a row face the possibility of having their designation withdrawn. Last year StudentAid BC served notice to 10 private institutions. Vancouver Sun

Quebec med students worry being under-trained due to residents' negotiating tactic

Quebec medical students are concerned their education and training may be in jeopardy because of a negotiating tactic being used by medical residents, who suspended all teaching in hospitals last month out of frustration with the pace of contract negotiations. Students say they rely on residents for a significant part of their education and worry their training will be inadequate without the residents' involvement. While teaching hospitals are trying to adapt to the change and fulfill obligations to train students, that will become more difficult if the situation extends for much longer, says the interim dean of McGill University's faculty of medicine. Montreal Gazette

UBC student union calls for study-abroad policy review following Japanese earthquake

The University of British Columbia's Alma Mater Society has asked the institution to review one of its travel policies for students abroad, reports The Ubyssey, a student newspaper. UBC used Policy 69 to call back all students following the Japanese earthquake in March. An AMS executive says some students complained about the university's move, saying the policy infringes on some of their rights and abilities to make their own decisions. There is also contention over the punishments for students who ignore the policy, which include discounting research and class credit. An official with Go Global, which runs the study abroad program at UBC, says liability was not at the "core of the policy," and that from a Go Global perspective, policy implementation has been "quite successful." The Ubyssey

AUCC outlines priorities for 2012 federal budget

In its pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada says Canadian universities strongly support Governor General David Johnston's vision to build "a smarter, more caring nation." AUCC recommends that the federal government continue to invest in tri-council programs and the Canada Foundation for Innovation to reflect the vital role of research as the cornerstone of the country's prosperity. Another recommendation is to develop funding mechanisms that integrate master's and doctoral students and graduates into the labour market, helping to meet the country's growing labour market demand for graduates with advanced degrees and skills. AUCC also recommends that the government, in the context of its international education strategy being developed, create a significant global research fund. AUCC Pre-Budget Submission

Ontario invests over $1 million to help Waterloo area students launch businesses

The Ontario government is helping students at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University start their own companies through an investment of nearly $1.1 million to support the VeloCity residence at uWaterloo and the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program at WLU. The funding will pay for mentoring, legal and financial advice, networking events, and provide some $25,000 cash grants to students who are ready to launch their high-technology companies. Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy says it is essential that the province has a "highly educated, highly skilled workforce" -- and students should not wait until after finishing school to prepare themselves for the working world. In March a former uWaterloo student and high-tech entrepreneur donated $1 million to the university in support of VeloCity. John Milloy MPP News Release | Waterloo Region Record

St. Clair enrolment may surpass "mammoth year" figures

St. Clair College is expecting to meet, or even exceed, last year's record enrolment, introducing new programs to meet the demands of prospective students and the local economy. An assistant registrar with the Windsor-based college says the institution is on track to register more than 8,000 students for the coming year and could eventually exceed the 8,300 recorded in the last "mammoth year." Leading the way are a host of brand new programs the registrar says were conceived to meet the wants of students, the needs of local business, industry, and services, and the dictates of the regional economy. In all 13 new programs have been developed over the past year. Windsor Star

uToronto top Canadian university in Shanghai Jiao Tong ranking

The University of Toronto is listed as the top Canadian institution in Shanghai Jiao Tong University's 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities. uToronto placed 26th overall. Also among the top 100 are UBC (37), McGill (64), and McMaster University (89). A total of 23 Canadian universities made it in the top 500. Institutions are ranked by several indicators of academic and research performance, including alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes, highly cited researchers, and the per capita academic performance of a university. Academic Ranking of World Universities 2011 | Maclean's OnCampus

US graduate admissions offers to international students up 11%

According to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools, admissions offers to foreign students from US graduate schools rose by 11% over last year -- the steepest one-year increase since fall 2006, when international-students numbers were recovering from a sharp decline following the 9/11 attacks. Much of the growth is spurred by a 23% increase in admissions offers to prospective students in China. Offers to Indian students rose by 8%, the first uptick in prospective students from India since fall 2007. Together China, India, and South Korea, where offers remained flat compared to last year, represent half of all non-US citizens on student visas at American graduate schools. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Romance diminishes women's interest in STEM fields, US research finds

A series of US research projects suggest that when college-age women think about romance, they become less interested in pursuing studies in science and math. In a pair of studies, women who were exposed to romantic images were later found to have a less positive feeling about STEM fields and to say they were less likely to major in them. In another study, female undergraduate students in a math course were given a mobile device to record their strivings and activities in several areas, including academics and romance. The study found that when women were focused on romance, they felt good about themselves, but were not invested in the math course. Whenever the students considered themselves attractive or desirable, the next day they would be disengaged from the class. While acknowledging that the research will be controversial, the lead researcher says focusing on such questions could help confront the gender gap in STEM fields. Inside Higher Ed

Cornell U students urge institution to remove Internet bandwidth cap

As of yesterday morning, 240 Cornell University students have signed an online petition calling on the New York institution to terminate its Internet bandwidth policy, which charges fees to students who exceed a monthly cap. Considering how much students pay for tuition, "charging students for Internet is ridiculous," says the student who initiated the petition, adding that access to bandwidth is crucial to students' social lives. The university's director of information-technology policy says the vast majority of students will never hit the cap, which was recently increased from 20 gigabytes per month to 50. As more students begin streaming rich media, using services such as Netflix and Skype, campuses may have to determine whether to treat students' heedless use of multimedia-rich sites as an entitlement or a luxury. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Inside Higher Ed