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Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 43; December 8, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Be Careful. Hike at your own risk!

Abroad Perspectives

Aussie Beat

Over The Counter

UK MBA programs vie to stand out from the crowd.

Globe Tipping

A Bit of Holiday H-APP-iness!


1) LETS GO CANADA – Be Careful. Hike at your own risk!

At North Vancouver’s Capilano University, a hike in international student tuition fees for next year is resulting in considerable concern on campus.

David Clarkson is student representative to the university’s Board of Governors – the body that recently approved the school’s 12% increase in fees (raising the $425 per credit cost this year, up to $475 for next fall). Having voted against the hike, Clarkson explains that for many foreign students already at Capilano, the extra $1,500 per year will greatly impact their lives in Canada – perhaps even seeing some “discontinue studies halfway through a degree program.”

“If it doesn’t necessarily affect your ability to attend school, it often affects your quality of life outside of school,” he explains. “[T]he quality of housing that you live in, the amount and quality of food that you’re eating.”
The sharp rise will also close the gap in price differences between Capilano and other Vancouver-area institutions, such as Simon Fraser University – a well established institution with a much higher reputation and ranking. By raising the fees so drastically over the course of just one year, the worry is that some students may opt to go elsewhere instead.

Capilano is not the only university to suddenly and significantly jump its fees. Other Canadian institutions have announced new fees in the Spring, just a few months before September classes, and well after many new students have already applied, been admitted, and made plans to come to the campus.

“I can understand the financial pressures, but it’s the wrong way to go about it,” says Canadian University Application Centre (CUAC) Director Mel Broitman. “Big increases in fees and sudden hikes send negative ripples through foreign marketplaces. Universities should just do the simple math on how many students they will lose, versus how many they keep and attract at the higher fee. It’s usually not only a net loss, but it can take years to recover.”

As Clarkson explains, the last thing the university wants to do is to discourage international students.

“I’m not necessarily opposed to [recovering costs],” he explains. “Just the way it was handled was quite poor.”
Source: “Rise in Cap U fees hits foreign students”. North Shore News, December 1, 2010.
http://www.nsnews.com/news/Rise+fees+hits+foreign+students/3911109/story.html


2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVES – Aussie Beat.

Kelly Colleges in Brisbane, a small English-language and Business based institution, has spoken out against the nation’s Department of Immigration, accusing the recently changed Migration Regulations Act as being particularly damaging to smaller colleges.

Kelly Colleges director, Natasha Maysreidl, says the changes, affecting how different courses are classified for student visas, would see diplomas and advanced diplomas registered under the Higher Education Sector Framework move to a “more favourable” visa class than those registered under the Australian Quality Training Framework – though she says both frameworks deliver the same tertiary level outcomes.

Referring to the nation’s recent nosedive in its recruitment of international students – the country’s third largest export industry – Mayrseidl urged the government to reconsider such changes; for the sake of Australian employment if nothing else.

“This is not about playing politics anymore, this is now about people’s lives. Working Australians are losing their jobs,” she says, adding that any further drop in international student numbers is bound to have a “domino effect” across other top industries, such as tourism and retail.

Monash University, one of Australia’s biggest players for international students (both at home and abroad), is claiming a $45 million slash in its upcoming annual budget. The loss of revenues from foreign students is resulting in the cutting of 300 jobs at the University.

Another giant of Australia’s international student business, the University of New South Wales (UNSW), in Sydney, is struggling with striking professors. The faculty are withholding students’ grades until an agreement is reached – and it can play havoc with international student retention and recruitment.

But UNSW’s administration is striking back, having stated that for final year students who need their end of year marks to enroll in further studies, and international students whose visa requirements are similarly dependent, the University will take the unusual action of issuing “passes” in an alternative manner. For those students whose progress to date is deemed satisfactory, an ungraded “pass” will be awarded. Students who are not currently passing will be given a “fail”, and offered the option of attending summer classes. Confirmed marks for all will then be released and updated once possible.

The striking academics believe some students will gain passes despite failing final marks. “In my view management is falsifying some marks. I am concerned about the violation of the assessment process,” said Dr Neil Mudford, a senior lecturer at UNSW.

And finally, a new strategy released by Australian federal and state governments, relating to the treatment of international students in the country, is being publicly criticized by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The strategy acknowledges and addresses a number of key issues – including this year’s sudden and alarming downturn in the number of Chinese and Indian students. Human Rights Race Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes says the strategy still overlooks some very crucial problems faced by international students, including affordable housing, public transport coverage, and general safety. Explaining that in countries such as the UK, dedicated police have specialized knowledge about international student safety, Innes urges for further measures to be taken in Australia as well.

Sources: “College threatens Immigration Dept with legal action”. Brisbane Times, December 1, 2010.
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/college-threatens-immigration-dept-with-legal-action-20101130-18fa2.html?from=brisbanetimes_sb
& “UNSW to pass students as strike disrupts marking”. The Sydney Morning Herald, December 2, 2010.
http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/unsw-to-pass-students-as-strike-disrupts-marking-20101201-18grf.html
& “AUSTRALIA: Foreign student rights overlooked”. University World News, November 28, 2010.
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20101126205700141


3) OVER THE COUNTER – UK MBA programs vie to stand out from the crowd.

“I’d be concerned about full-time MBAs for the next three to four years,” says Julia Tyler, executive vice-president of the Graduate Management Admission Council, or GMAC (organizers of the GMAT exam). Tyler admits that new demand for such programs is growing tremendously in certain regions: “The centre of gravity is shifting,” she explains. “It’s obvious that there’s a mass appetite in Asia for management education.”

So the question is, just how can schools compete for students, amidst such a shift?
The following are different key tactics taken up by various UK universities – each hoping to out-offer the next, to expand and raise income, by providing something new or unique.

1) Adding more Masters degrees, for which there seems to be an insatiable demand, as students eagerly search out cheaper and more specialized courses. At Hull University Business School for example, a new Masters of Science in money, banking and finance combines ideas from three different departments. “We think the course is an example of modern thinking,” says the school dean, Professor Mike Jackson. “It’s recruiting well.”

2) Extending international links. At Bristol Business School, this involves collaboration with the University of Barcelona and the Berlin School of Economics and Law – allowing students to select courses from each as part of their degree. In addition, Bristol also has a teaching agreement with a business school in Malaysia.

3) “[C]oncentrating on getting into new overseas markets,” as Bristol’s director of MBA and executive education, Dr Peter Simpson, explains it – referring to Nigeria, on a related note, as “the new India”.

4) Making courses more attractive. From adding electives or project features, to completely overhauling former curricula – business schools around the world are looking at ways to ‘renew and improve’ their offerings. Imperial College Business School, for one, will soon offer new electives in competition, regulation, mergers and acquisitions – looking at some of the key issues that the financial crisis revealed.

5) Further services and/or support for students – such as Bristol’s new international talent scheme, aimed at placing foreign students with UK companies needing help to break into export markets. In the year since it started, the program has found positions for 25 of its students, helping companies with translation, websites, marketing, and local customs in such countries as Vietnam and China.

Source: “How to stand out from the crowded marketplace”. The Independent, October 7, 2010.
http://www.independent.co.uk/student/postgraduate/mbas-guide/how-to-stand-out-from-the-crowded-marketplace-2099738.html

4) GLOBE TIPPING – A Bit of Holiday H-APP-iness.

Hitting the road (or the skies) this holiday season? Then you might want to try out some of these handy little electronic helpers – designed for use with the iPhone, iPad, and other electronic devices, in order to aid you along your way!

GateGuru (http://gateguruapp.com/))- This handy app tells you the location of your gate in the airport, along with what eateries and other amenities are located nearby. Or, rather than using an app, you can also always download detailed maps by visiting airports’ homepages – allowing you to plan out your own layover as you go.

MyTSA (http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/mobile/index.shtm) – Guides you through the rules about what you can and cannot pack, along with which airports have been experiencing security delays. There is also another app – TSAwait (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tsawait/id290112121?mt=8) – that’s available for 99 cents, and is touted as providing up-to-the-minute information. However, you might want to double-check before relying on it to forecast any of your line waits in the near future, as their site is currently being redesigned.

Trip-Case (http://www.tripcase.com/travelsmarter/) – Available for iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries, this handy app helps you manage trip details, updates you on flight particulars, and keeps friends and family in the loop.

Gasbuddy.com – For those planning to hit the road over the holiday season, this brilliant site (which you don’t need a smartphone to use!) is updated by drivers every day, helping to pinpoint the cheapest gas prices around. Even a few cents difference can help you save yourself dollars, every time you fill up!

Sources: “Smartphone and web travel apps to keep in mind this holiday”.
USATODAY.com, November 24, 2010.
http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/dispatches/post/2010/11/smartphone-travel-apps-to-keep-in-mind-this-holiday-/132143/1
& “Top 5 Smartphone Tips for Holiday Travel”. FoxBusiness.com, November 30, 2010.
http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2010/11/30/smartphone-tips-holiday-travel/

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