Today's news

June 24, 2004


Fees waived for students taking gap year
Students taking a gap year in 2005 and deferring their university place until the following autumn will be exempt from tuition fees of up to £3,000 a year being introduced from 2006. In a concession to opposition parties, ministers last night announced that young people in this category would continue to be charged the current lower fees of £1,200, whatever the level universities chose to set their new variable tuition charges.
( Financial Times, Independent, Times, Times Higher )

Ucas to scrap paper application forms
The University and Colleges Admissions Service form is to be scrapped after more than 50 years. The paper forms, on which candidates are instructed to print their CVs "boldly in black ink", will be replaced from next year by an electronic system which Ucas promises will be faster, easier and more efficient. The system will allow students not only to submit applications to Ucas, which acts as a processing centre for 325 universities and colleges, but to monitor their progress and accept or decline offers online.
( Guardian )

Web college bosses' bonus for failure
Despite the failure of the online university project that spent £30 million and recruited only 900 students, UKeU chief executive John Beaumont was paid £44,914 last year on top of a salary of £180,000. Chairman Sir Anthony Cleaver was paid £70,000 plus a £12,216 bonus. Yesterday it emerged that 31 staff are entitled to payouts.
( Daily Mail )

Seven receive Oxford honours
Oxford University honoured distinguished figures from the world of law, economics, anthropology and science yesterday. The recipients included Lord Woolf, the lord chief justice, Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prizewinner and former chief economist of the World Bank, Dame Marilyn Strathern, mistress of Girton College, Cambrdige, William Wyse, professor of social anthropology at Cambridge, Sir Alec Jeffreys, inventor of genetic fingerprinting, and Sir Martin Wood, founder of Oxford Instruments.
( Financial Times )

All-graduate nursing challenge
The Royal College of Nursing has voted unanimously in support of a move towards an all-graduate nursing profession at the point of registration. The RCN's governing body decided that that future of the nursing profession must be built on a commitment to equal status with the other healthcare professions.
( Independent )

Scientists discover decaf coffee bean
A cup of decaf could soon taste as good as caffeinated thanks to an Ethiopian variety of Coffea arabica , according to researchers from the University of Campinas, Brazil writing in the journal Nature . The scientists hope that by crossing the caffeine-free variety with commercial crops they can make natural brands that could be available in five years.
( Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Times )

Tropical animal that hibernates through hot summer
A research team from the Philipps-University in Marburg, Germany, reports in the journal Nature that it has found the first tropical mammal that hibernates through hot winter months. The Madagascan fat-tailed dwarf lemur ( Cheirogaleus medius ) spends up to seven months of the year asleep in a tree hole, rivalling the hibernating abilities of northern mammals. Field studies found that the body temperature of the lemur during hibernation varies to an extent previously not known in mammals.
( Independent )

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