Top Ten

March 6, 2013

Quebec students protest tuition increase in Montreal street march

Disgruntled students took to the streets of downtown Montreal Tuesday night to express their displeasure over tuition increases that will see their fees rise by about $70 a year. The march started out peacefully, but was broken up by police at about 10:15 pm following several acts of vandalism committed by individuals who had infiltrated the crowd. The Montreal Gazette reports that 10 demonstrators were arrested for criminal acts such as vandalism, armed assault, and mischief. After warning students to disperse, police charged the crowd, sending 2 large groups of demonstrators running in opposite directions. Police then set off sound bombs and sprayed CS gas in the direction of demonstrators who refused to move quickly enough. As the protest wound down and police moved in to break the crowd, 62 individuals who refused to disperse were detained and will be fined for illegal assembly. Montreal Gazette | Canadian Press

Alberta PSE job cuts "very possible," says minister

Faculty positions within Alberta's PSE institutions could be on the chopping block as the province works to overcome a $4-billion budget gap, says Advanced Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk. "I think it's very possible certain positions may not be filled or certain jobs may be lost," Lukaszuk says. The government pledged 2% increases in grant funding to PSE institutions up until 2014 in last year's budget, but the general thinking among student and faculty representatives is that the dire fiscal situation will prevent that from happening. Alberta will table its budget today. Metro News

Athabasca U reportedly spent $125,000 to lobby government for more funding

The CBC reports that Athabasca University spent more than $125,000 in less than 3 years on lobbying firms in a failed attempt to increase its funding from the Alberta government. The Wildrose Party's higher education critic wonders why the institution felt it needed to hire a lobbyist to gain access to government officials, especially considering the relatively small number of PSE institutions in the province. Athabasca U's director of government relations defends the contracts, noting that paying for government relations work is common practice for PSE institutions across Alberta. CBC

Saskatchewan NDP blames government over financial state of universities

Saskatchewan's NDP says the province's universities are in a "financial mess" and is pointing the blame at the governing Saskatchewan Party. The NDP's higher education critic says there have been layoffs and programs cuts as well as looming tuition increases at the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan. "Every discussion I've had with people on campus, whether it's student, staff or faculty, it's quite bleak," the critic says. "People are really concerned. The mood is not an optimistic one right now and that's counter-intuitive when we think of the things that are going on in Saskatchewan right now." Advanced Education Minister Don Morgan says both universities are going through internal reviews, but he insists the province has not cut funding. "We have always given (the universities) sufficient funding to try and look after the programs that they have and the financial and capital commitments that they have. And we're supportive of them going through a review process." Canadian Press

Record winter enrolment at uSask

The University of Saskatchewan has 20,348 students enrolled in all degree and non-degree programs this winter semester, the highest number the university has ever had for a winter term. Undergraduate enrolment is up by 2.6% and graduate enrolment is up by 3.5%. uSask has seen strong increases in enrolment of students from Western Canada. New undergraduate students in direct-entry programs from BC, Alberta, and Manitoba rose by 26% compared to last year. The number of international students has risen by 6.8%. Of particular note is China, where the number of undergraduate and graduate students from this country has risen by 4.1% and 22%, respectively. uSask News Release

Maritime universities grant more than 15,000 credentials in 2011

According to new data from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, 15,057 credentials were awarded by regional universities in 2011, up from 14,751 in 2010. Of those credentials, 14,034 were degrees (8,534 for applied/professional programs and 5,500 for liberal arts and science programs). Of the degrees awarded, 11,207 were undergraduate degrees. 2011 Credentials Granted Statistics

York U's Schulich among top 25 in global MBA survey

York University's Schulich School of Business has placed 22nd in the world and first in Canada in a global MBA survey by Expansión magazine, a Mexican-based business publication. The survey rates leading MBA programs from around the world using a broad range of criteria, including academic quality, return on investment, and global value. Y-File

UVic, NIC create new degree pathway for students

North Island College and the University of Victoria announced yesterday a new partnership that encourages students to study for one or 2 years at NIC before completing a degree at UVic. Students enter UVic based on their grades in college or secondary school, and can pursue studies in arts, science, engineering, social sciences, humanities, child and youth care, or art history. Under the partnership, UVic has agreed to give high school students entering NIC access to its first-year scholarships, as well as guaranteed admission to NIC students with a 2.0 GPA into competitive programs. The partnership allows students to save money on tuition and living expenses by studying close to home for 2 years, and makes sure every North Island student has better access to UVic. NIC News Release

"Bandwidth Divide" could prevent some people from learning online

As more US colleges rush to offer free online courses in the name of providing educational access to everyone, it's worth asking who might be left out for lack of high-speed Internet access to watch video lectures. Those running massive open online courses (MOOCs) see the widening "Bandwidth Divide" as an obstacle. "I agree this is an issue, a big issue," says Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun. Public libraries may become the de facto classrooms for MOOC students who lack Internet access at home. But many libraries offer an imperfect solution to access, with limited hours and long wait times for shared computers. The good news is that the number of people with Internet access is growing, and, as Thrun points out, Internet access is much cheaper than college tuition. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)

Lack information a strong deterrent to studying overseas, survey finds

A lack of fluency in a foreign language or a reluctance to leave family and friends have often been considered obstacles to studying abroad. But according to a survey of more than 10,800 British and US students, a far greater deterrent may simply be a dearth of information about overseas study. Just 24% of US and 22% of British students said they had enough information to make a decision about studying overseas. By contrast, 82% of British and 79% of US respondents considering studying abroad said they felt confident speaking a foreign language (although, at the same time, the US respondents included lack of language ability among their top reasons for sticking close to home). The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)