Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
Balancing student numbers with visa fraud
Harvard secures international student loans with JPMorgan Chase
Unexpected UK visa application fee increase could harm enrollment
Avoid flight-related risks
1) LET’S GO CANADA – Balancing student numbers with visa fraud
The Canadian government has publicly declared it wants more foreign students. The challenge to determine who is going for genuine studies and who is not is likely to become even greater than before.
An excellent case in point is in Punjab, India, where both demand and fraud are high. The Canadian government’s official statistics from 2007 show that files processed in Punjab had 76 percent of all student visa applications refusal rate
According to many sources on the ground, the high refusal rate is largely the result of unscrupulous education agencies, many of whom participate in preparing fraudulent documentation in conniving with individuals seeking entry into Canada illicitly. Part of the problem lies with the ability of such agencies to secure relationships with Canadian higher education institutions who engage them. But the problem is also fed by the difficulty institutions have in Canada in properly assessing the bona fides of the documents put forth to them. Indeed, where persons fake their name, birthdate, and all pertinent documents.
So, while Canada’s call for more foreign students should be wholeheartedly embraced, diligence in evaluating student credentials and in selecting which agencies to work with around the world (many of which do provide good and honourable service) will also be increasingly needed.
Source: “http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2009/02/22/foreign-student-numbers-to-substantially-increase/,” MacLean’s On Campus, 22 February 2009.
“http://www.cicnews.com/2009/02/canada-decrease-immigration-targets-nows-time-submit-application-02710.html,” CIC News, February 2009.
2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Harvard secures international student loans with JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase has agreed to provide loans to international graduate and professional students enrolled in programs at Harvard.
The announcement comes after 6 months of negotiations and the collapse of several previous agreements between American universities and private lenders. The elimination of private loans programs threw into the doubt the ability of thousands of international students to attend university in the US as international students are ineligible for federal loans.
Under the agreement, JPMorgan Chase will have the ability to approve loans of up to a student’s total cost of study, but the final decision on how much funding will actually be granted will be left up to the Harvard department in which the student plans to study.
Currently there are approximately 3,300 international graduate and professional students attending Harvard.
Source: “http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/02/new-loan-program-helps-international-students/,” Harvard University Gazette, 27 February 2009.
3) OVER THE COUNTER – Unexpected UK visa application fee increase could harm enrollment
In the midst of changes to visa requirements, the UK has also announced an unexpected increase in visa application fees.
Application and processing fees will go up by £46 – £65 depending on the type of visa being applied for.
Diana Warwick, chief executive of vice-chancellors’ umbrella group Universities UK, warns that, with the combination of new regulations and an increase in fees, “UK’s immigration system and the UK government is in serious danger of sending out a message that it does not welcome international students.”
Part of the changes to the regulations include a time limitation imposed on student visas of four years. Students enrolled in five year degree programs will now be forced to apply for a new visa to complete their fifth year at the increased fee rate.
According to Diana Warwick, fee hikes and changes to regulations were enacted without prior consultation with the higher education sector.
Source: “http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/feb/23/overseas-students-visa-fees,” The Guardian, 23 February 2009
4) GLOBE TIPPING – Avoid flight-related risks
If you’re flying east, book an early flight. If flying west, book a later flight. Make sure to drink plenty of water to stave off dehydration that exacerbates jet lag symptoms.
Once you’ve arrived, make sure to take in lots of natural light. If you flew east, take in light in the morning. If you flew west, get outside in the afternoon. Consider taking a small dose of melatonin at night to help you sleep through the first few days.
Because of air filtration, the humidity inside an airplane is only 15 percent.
Drink plenty of water—about 8 ounces per flying hour—and avoid diuretics like alcohol and caffeine.
Source: “http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20410642,00.html,” Health.com.