News in brief

April 19, 2012

United States

San Jose limits access for locals

A US university has ended its policy of guaranteeing local students admission to the institution. For the past 50 years, students who met the California State University system's minimum entry requirements would secure a place at San Jose State University, but the institution is now being forced to limit its admissions, the San Jose Mercury News reported. The university said that the changes must be made because there is not enough money to admit every student who meets the requirements. San Jose will maintain its two-tier admission process, which gives preference to local students over out-of-state applicants, but members of the former group will now need a higher grade-point average than the state minimum, said Mohammad Qayoumi, the president of San Jose State. "Steep budget cuts have left SJSU no other choice but to seek ways to reduce enrolment in the most fair and equitable ways possible," he added.


Visa leeway for Iranian students

Iranian students at Australian universities will be allowed to defer their degrees or shift to part-time study so they can work without losing their visas, the Australian government was expected to announce. Since the implementation of US-led trade sanctions - essentially cutting the country off from the international financial market - around 1,400 Iranians studying in Australia have found it increasingly difficult to access money from home to pay for their tuition and living costs. The government plans to allow the students to defer their studies for a year and work full-time to support themselves, The Australian reported. "It is a very positive step," said Arfa Noor, president of the Council of International Students Australia.


Pact bridges geographic gulf

Oman and Belarus have signed a higher education agreement under which the two countries will collaborate by developing relationships between institutions, research organisations and individual academics. The memorandum of understanding was signed after talks between Rawiyah bint Saud al-Busaidi and Sergei Maskevich, respectively the Omani and Belarusian education ministers, the Oman Daily Observer reported. Dr al-Busaidi, who is on an official tour of Belarus, said that the visit underlined the Omani higher education ministry's desire to further develop ties in the sector between the two countries, particularly in scientific and research fields. The agreement will include exchange visits by academics, scientists and researchers from the two countries, admission of Omani students to Belarusian universities and the sharing of expertise in different aspects of higher education such as teaching methods and accreditation.


Five years to hatch 14 big ideas

The Indian government has announced the establishment of 14 "innovation universities" as part of its 12th Five Year Plan. Ashwani Kumar, Union minister of state for planning, science and technology and earth sciences, made the announcement during a press conference in the state of Haryana, whose government he has asked to apply for permission to build one of the institutions. Haryana is already developing an Education City in its Sonipat district, The Times of India reported. Mr Kumar said Haryana's developing education hub would benefit not only the region but the whole of the north of India.

United States

Call for fee equality

A US university has asked its provost to prepare a report on tuition equality after protests from a student group. The Coalition for Tuition Equality is calling for the University of Michigan to change its current policy of charging the higher tuition fees normally reserved for out-of-state students to Michigan residents who do not have US citizenship or a green card. The group says the university should let students who live in the state and can prove that they attended at least two years of high school there, but lack citizenship or a green card, to pay in-state tuition, the Detroit Free Press reported. Daniel Morales, co-founder of the coalition, said a change would save such students tens of thousands of dollars a year and offer access to degree study at the institution to those who otherwise could not afford it.

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