Top Ten

January 11, 2013

Hard drive containing information on 583,000 federal student loan borrowers goes missing

Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley announced Friday the loss of an external hard drive from an HRSDC office in Gatineau that contained personal information of 583,000 Canada Student Loans Program borrowers between 2000 and 2006. Missing since early November, the hard drive contained data such as student names, dates of birth, Social Insurance Numbers, addresses, and student loan balances from CSLP recipients. HRSDC is sending letters to affected individuals for whom it has current contact information, and has set up a toll-free number for people to verify if they are affected. Finley has directed HRSDC officials to take a number of immediate actions to ensure such an incident does not occur again, including mandatory training for all departmental employees regarding the proper handling of sensitive information. HRSDC Statement

Concordia seeks university community's help in addressing budget cuts

Concordia University is seeking the help of students, faculty, and staff as it tries to deal with an unexpected $13.2-million budget reduction that was the result of hefty cuts made to all Quebec universities last month. "This is going to be a challenge," says Concordia president Alan Shepard. "Given the short notice by the government to reduce the budget by April 30, 2013, and given that most of the university's funding has already been committed, we will likely be recommending a plan to the Board that will include both cuts and a deficit for 2012-13." This week the institution will ask its community for suggestions on where to make those cuts. Concordia's interim provost and CFO will host 4 campus conversations today on the budget issues. Concordia News | Montreal Gazette

Alberta to give Fort MacLeod $10 million after cancelling police college project

The town of Fort MacLeod, Alberta will receive $10.26 million from the provincial government to reimburse it for the scrapped police college project. Last August, the province announced it was cancelling its plans for the $122-million college that was intended to train police and peace officers from across Alberta and was to feature classrooms, a track, shooting range, and residence. The cancellation infuriated Fort MacLeod, which claimed to have spent $4 million alone on installing services to the site. Calgary Herald

Ontario invests more than $8 million in Mitacs Accelerate program

The Ontario government announced Friday an $8.4-million investment over 2 years in the Mitacs Accelerate program, which connects graduate students and post-doctoral fellows with applied research opportunities across the province. The investment will help provide approximately 1,400 four-month internships to Ontario graduate students over 2 years. Ontario News Release

Suspended Dal women's hockey players feel wronged by university

Dalhousie University's suspended women's hockey team apologized in a statement "for any mistakes" made during a house party, but lambasted the institution for its handling of alleged hazing at the party, arguing the punishment doesn't fit the crime. The team said it held a party to welcome new players that involved dressing up rookies in "odd clothing" and asking them to eat sardines, hot peppers, and whipped cream. There were drinking games, but no one was forced to consume alcohol and activities weren't mandatory, the team said. A Dal spokesman says the statement left out a number of details about what happened at the party, but a first-year player, who admits there was excessive drinking at the party, says the statement did not omit any pertinent facts. Team members have also appealed in a letter to Dal president Tom Traves to reverse the suspension, stating they are willing to take the matter to court as a last resort. Canadian Press

RRC's Paterson GlobalFoods Institute open for classes

Red River College's Paterson GlobalFoods Institute -- a student residence and new home for the institution's culinary and hospitality programs in downtown Winnipeg -- officially opens February 21. But as tradespeople complete the conversion of Union Bank Tower into Jane's restaurant, 30 students have already moved into residence and 300 students are in a state-of-the-art institute with opulent kitchens on several floors. The 105-seat restaurant will initially be open Tuesday to Friday for lunch and dinner, with students handling all the cooking, serving, and hosting. "In a way, we spoil the students," who will not see this range of equipment and facilities anywhere they end up working, says RRC's hospitality and culinary arts dean. Winnipeg Free Press

Program availability top reason BC transfer students chose new institution, survey finds

According to a survey of 1,600 students who changed BC public PSE institutions between the 2010-11 academic year and fall 2011, most students switched institutions not because of dissatisfaction, but because they wanted to pursue a specific program that they could not take at their original school. The most commonly cited actions institutions could have taken to prevent departure were "offer the program you want" (32%) and "wider course offerings" (28%). Survey respondents from all institution types cited the availability of programs or courses as the top reason they chose their new school (52%), followed by convenient location (39%), and program or institution reputation (33%). Executive Summary | Full Report

uWaterloo launches Dear First Year You program

The University of Waterloo's Student Success Office is introducing a new program for students who just joined the campus for the first time or for those who have completed their first semester. Dear First Year You will provide first-year students with transition tips to ensure their success at uWaterloo. Upper-year students will share their stories through a series of live chat sessions, as well as answer questions from viewers. Starting January 15, there will be a session every other Tuesday in the late afternoon. For students who have class at that time, they can access the recoded sessions on their own time. uWaterloo Daily Bulletin

US report forecasts smaller, more diverse high school graduating classes

According to new projections by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), US secondary school graduate numbers peaked at 3.4 million in 2010-11 following 15 years of growth, then started a decline that will stabilize in 2013-14 at 3.2 million to 3.3 million graduates. In addition, the pool of future PSE students in the US is rapidly becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. WICHE projects that by 2019-20, 45% of public high school graduates will be non-white -- a trend driven by the rapid growth in the number of Hispanics completing secondary school, corresponding to a nearly equivalent drop in the number of white non-Hispanics. Given the nation's historic challenge enrolling and educating minority students in PSE institutions, the shift will likely require a rethinking of how these institutions do business. WICHE News Release | Inside Higher Ed | The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | Report

Indian student enrolment at UK universities drops 23.5%

The number of Indian students studying at UK universities fell by 23.5% in 2011-12, as tighter student visa regulations took effect. However, Higher Education Statistics Agency data also show the number of Chinese students in the UK increased by nearly 17% last year. Overall, the number of non-European Union students studying at UK PSE institutions rose by 1.5%. But news of the drop in Indian students, as well as the 13.4% fall in students from Pakistan, raised concern about the impact of tighter government regulations on student visas. "Although the UK government has made it clear there is no cap on international students, these statistics for the first time provide real evidence that the changes to UK visa regulations may have dissuaded many students from applying to the UK, and in particular postgraduate students who are so important to the UK's research output," says the British Council's director of education and society. Times Higher Education