Today's news

March 19, 2003

V-cs unite in call to raise £3,000 cap on fees

Universities are urging the government to lift its proposed £3,000-a-year cap on charging top-up fees. Former polytechnics and vice-chancellors representing the Russell Group of the older universities are united in saying the figure is not high enough. Sir Richard Sykes, the vice-chancellor of Imperial College London, told MPs the upper limit should be £5,000 when top-up fees are introduced in 2006. He said that a higher ceiling would be the best way of creating diversity among universities. Rick Trainor, the vice-chancellor of the University of Greenwich, a former polytechnic, agreed that the £3,000-a-year cap was "constraining".

Graduate debt now £12,500 and rising
Students are expected to graduate with debts averaging £12,500 this year, according to a report published yesterday. Graduate debt is set to rise by 13 per cent this summer on top of the 17 per cent rise in 2002, when the average was £10,997. The study for Barclays Bank suggested that the rate was slowing after a jump of 44 per cent in 2001.
(Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph)

Why independent schools are bad
Grammar and independent schools should be abolished because they lower the quality of education for the 85 per cent of children who don't go to them, Adam Swift, an Oxford philosopher and sociologist, argues in his book How Not to be a Hypocrite : School Choice for the Morally Perplexed , published this week.
(Daily Telegraph)

Scientists hunt for life around alien suns
A hunt for intelligent species who inhabit worlds orbiting alien suns was launched yesterday. Scientists began to use the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico to study around 150 spots identified as the source of possible signals from extraterrestrial civilisations by a sky survey conducted using the biggest distributed computing project on the planet. The results are expected within three months.
(Daily Telegraph)

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