Top Ten

August 9, 2012

New student visa rules could result in school closures, says agency

A federal proposal to crack down on student visa fraud could put some PSE institutions out of business, says Karin Kirkpatrick Campbell, CEO of the Vancouver-based Private Career Training Institutions Agency. Under the proposal, provinces would submit a list of approved PSE institutions, and only these schools would be eligible to register international students. Prohibiting some schools from accepting foreign students would "really change the playing field," says Campbell. "Some of the schools are 60 per cent international students. They could go out of business. About 20 or 25 per cent rely on international markets to such a degree it would really impact their business if that got pulled." However, the schools Campbell's agency accredits are less likely to be affected than language schools, which are not required to belong to the agency. Vancouver Sun

Academy of Learning Lloydminster shuts down

The Saskatchewan government reported Tuesday that Academy of Learning (AOL) Lloydminster has ceased operations, and as a result the advanced education ministry has cancelled the private vocational institution's Certificate of Registration. Ministry officials are notifying affected students of their options and will help them in either continuing their training or having a portion of their tuition refunded. In 2009 the province cancelled the Certificates of Registration of AOL's Regina and Swift Current campuses due to the school's lack of compliance with legislative requirements. Saskatchewan News Release

Some Quebec students agree to tuition truce

Despite a protest in downtown Montreal Wednesday and a confrontation with riot police, at least some Quebec students have declared a truce until the provincial election next month. Students at Cégep de Saint-Jérôme have voted for a truce on the issue of the tuition dispute until election day, although, like many of these early student referendums, attendance was very poor -- only about 150 to 200 of the CÉGEP's 4,000 students turned up for the vote. At Collège de Valleyfield, 426 students voted against a class boycott, while 246 supported it. Meanwhile, concerns are looming about a renegade group called Les Réseaux, which is trying to urge students to block access to CÉGEPs next week when students are set to resume classes. Montreal Gazette

PQ pledges to extend Bill 101 to CÉGEPs

If the Parti Québécois forms the next provincial government, it promises to toughen Bill 101 to restrict access to English CÉGEPs. The party's platform calls for adopting a new French-language charter that would effectively mean English CÉGEPs would be off limits to most francophone students and many allophones (people whose mother tongue is neither French nor English), as is the case at elementary and secondary schools. "We believe that freedom of choice should continue to be exercised -- that if there is a problem of anglicization in Montreal, the solution isn't through the imposition of Bill 101 at the college level," says an official with the Fédération des cégeps. Last year the federation argued that the numbers don't justify applying Bill 101 to CÉGEPs because the proportion of francophones and allophones who attend English colleges represents just 7.3% of college students. Montreal Gazette

Proposal calls for Vancouver School of Economics at UBC

The University of British Columbia is considering establishing a new school for economics students, reports the student newspaper Ubyssey. If UBC's senate approves the proposal, the current economics department would become the Vancouver School of Economics (VSE) within the Faculty of Arts. The new school aims to boost the visibility of economics within its faculty and UBC. The department's proposal to the senate says the VSE aspires to "create a globally recognized brand that will attract students from across Canada and the world to graduate and undergraduate programs." The proposal awaits a full senate review next month. The Ubyssey

Canadore launches mental-health service model

Next month Canadore College will adopt a specialized student success service model focusing on mental health, counselling, and accessibility issues. The new framework will allow students to access support resources with a just-in-time appointment model, putting students in touch with local medical, educational, and mental-health professionals around the clock. Canadore's administration, staff, and faculty are being trained in initiatives to help prevent serious mental-health consequences. Programs such as safeTALK, a national suicide alertness program, are being integrated across the college in order to recognize individuals with suicidal thoughts and to connect them to intervention resources. A wide range of systems will be in place for students this fall, including an individualized learning intranet portal, in-class workshops and guest speakers focusing on reducing anxiety, a family connection centre, and a mental health and wellness service dog. Canadore News Release

Maritime students fret over impending closure of Acadian Coach Lines

Acadian Coach Lines, the Maritime provinces' only inter-city bus line, will cease operations in the region in November, leaving thousands of residents without access to transportation outside their town or city. The impact extends to college and university students who depend on Acadian to get to and from school. One St. Thomas University believes Acadian's closure could impact where people choose to attend university if they cannot easily get to or from their top-choice institution. Her sentiments were echoed by the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations, which states that "limiting student mobility will no doubt weigh heavily in future students' decision to attend a Nova Scotia institution and sends a negative message to those looking to live, learn and work in Nova Scotia." ANSSA News Release | Globe and Mail

Reforming higher education must be a collective process, says Queen's principal

Some of the proposed changes to PSE in the Ontario government's discussion paper are scary for those in the higher education sector, but they are for the most part neither unreasonable nor unattainable, writes Queen's University principal Daniel Woolf for the Globe and Mail. The discussion paper provides a good kickstart to this round of discussions on PSE reform, Woolf writes. For it to generate good results will require compromise and negotiation on the part of government, students, faculties, campus administrations, and governing boards, Woolf says. "It will require a combination of resolve and consultation rather than top-down intervention and centralized micromanagement of education. It will require us inside the academy to be willing to separate core activities from 'nice-to-haves.' It will require a collective will to treat our successful past less as an anchor and more as a runway. It will require those outside to understand what we do -- and that we are not businesses, even if we must run our 'shops' in a fiscally responsible manner." Globe and Mail

Upstart lets PSE grads raise funds in exchange for share of future income

4 months after leaving his executive position at Google Inc., David J. Girouard has a new mission: helping PSE graduates avoid big corporations like Google. Girouard is the founder of Upstart, which lets graduates raise funds from other people online so that they can start their own businesses, conduct research, or chase a personal dream, rather than take a "safe" job in the corporate world. Upstart provides an online forum where participants post personal profiles which potential investors can peruse. The backers provide funding in exchange for an agreed share of the graduate's future income over a 10-year period. Upstart determines the portion of future annual earnings to be shared based on the total sum raised and the individual's qualifications, such as academic record and major. The service will initially be available to students and recent graduates of 5 US PSE institutions, and Girouard hopes to expand to many more in the first year. Reuters | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Children's attention-span persistence strong predictor of PSE completion, study finds

A new study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly observes that a child's ability to pay attention, be persistent, and recall instructions at age 4 is a strong predictor of the child's likelihood of completing PSE, as well as the child's reading and math skills at age 21. Researchers found that children who were rated one standard deviation higher on attention span-persistence at age 4 had 48.7% greater odds of completing PSE by age 25. The study found that attentiveness and persistence was a stronger predictor of PSE completion than a child's reading or math scores at age 7 and age 21. Researchers also observe that these same self-regulation skills in 4-year-olds significantly contribute to their reading and math achievement by age 21. Toronto Star