Small business fears negative effects of top-up fees

April 5, 2004

Top-up fees close the gap in student travel
The introduction of top-up fees in England threatens to bring an end to the boom years for the £200 million gap-year industry. Research into the intentions of sixth formers has concluded that 67 per cent of potential "gappers" will abandon plans for a break. Even conservative industry estimates suggest that British companies will lose more than £35 million of business next year. About 50,000 18-year-old students take a year off after leaving school. Of these 8,000 take foreign placements, 30,000 embark on independent travel and 12,000 stay in Britain to earn money and gain work experience to put on their CVs.
( Times )

Price of the degree 'rejects'
A government taskforce has proposed that candidates rejected by universities will be able to demand a detailed explanation of why they were turned down. Universities fear that they could have to send out up to 50,000 extra letters a year, saddling them with huge extra costs. Brian Salter, registrar at King's College London, warned that universities would not have the staff to draw up the letters without extra funding.
( Daily Mail )

Chinese female graduates tart up their CVs
Daunted by the formidable odds against getting a job in China, some female graduates are spicing up their CVs with revealing photos and exotic details of a lurid social life to get ahead of rivals, the newspaper China Daily has reported.
( Guardian )

Does God exist? Two-to-one He does
A British physicist has calculated that the mathematical probability of God existing is two-to-one in favour. But even though some scientists might find these odds exceptionally high, Stephen Unwin was surprised. As a committed Christian, his own faith had persuaded him previously that there was a more than 90 per cent chance that God really existed.
( Times )

Fondness for curry may come with mother's milk
A love of curry, a taste for garlic or a predilection for Pernod may all begin in the womb, researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia have found. They say the food preferences of babies are shaped by their earliest experience of flavours and their first tastes are the amniotic fluid in the womb and their mothers' breast milk after they are born.
( Independent )

Tickle machine is dream come true
Dreams can seem so real that waking from them can blur our perceptions of self, experiments have shown. Mark Blagrove of Swansea University says that in the few minutes after waking from a dream, we can tickle ourselves, using a special machine, and experience the same sensation as if we were being tickled by someone else. He will present his findings this week at a conference on consciousness in Tucson, Arizona.
( Times )

Obituary : Patrick Nuttgens, the architect, who was a founder of York University and Leeds Polytechnic, has died aged 74. ( Daily Telegraph )

- Until universities improve the efficiency of higher education, it is immoral to hand over the cost to students and their families. ( Independent )
- Yorick Wilks, of the University of Sheffield, writes that university staff have no long-term option but the independence of universities from the state. ( Times )

Higher education items in the weekend press
- Universities are preparing to resist major reform of their admissions procedures. ( Sunday Times ) - Universities will be given the green light to discriminate by class on admissions. ( Independent on Sunday )
- London and the South East may claim a palpably unfair share of research funding, but northern universities are fighting back. ( Observer )
- Thousands of graduates aspire to do aid work abroad, but a sector in urgent need of reform has left them out in the cold. ( Sunday Times )
- The number of parents buying digs for their children going to university in Durham has turned the city into a high-priced student ghetto. ( Daily Mail , April 3)
- A student from the West Midlands is auctioning herself as a fantasy girlfriend on eBay to pay for her tuition fees. ( Daily Star , April 3)

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