Today's news

July 7, 2004

Nearly half of Oxford colleges in the red
Despite a combined endowment wealth of more than £1.6 billion, nearly half of Oxford University's colleges are in deficit, figures released this week will show. Standard audited accounts are being published for the first time this year by all 36 of Oxford's independent colleges. The documents reveal enormous variations between the richest and poorest - a hierarchy of wealth reaching from St John's, with £202 million in endowments, down to Templeton and Harris Manchester, with only £1 million each. Fifteen of the colleges are running a deficit. College chiefs said this was due to the gap between government funding for undergraduate teaching and the real cost of a college-based degree programme that depends on one-to-one tutorials.
( Financial Times )

Graduates must swot up on debts
Advisers from banks have warned students to tackle their debt early, saying that they should be honest about what they owe and realistic about what they can repay. Graduates, who this year will typically owe just under £13,000, are advised to consolidate their borrowing and pay debts with the highest interest paid first.
( Daily Mail )

Letters on university spin-out companies
Lord Sainsbury, the Science and Innovation Minister, underlines the Government's commitment to a clear fiscal environment for boosting academic spin-outs; Peter Dzwig, of King's College London's computer department, argues that while academia has the will to generate new businesses and technologies, it must be stimulated.
( Financial Times )

Isle shooting students arrive home
The British gap-year students who were shot by bandits in Tanzania last week arrived home yesterday. Grace Forster, 18, from Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, and Robert Scott, 20, from Bristol, were wounded on Friday while staying on the remote Indian Ocean island of Pemba. The incident happened while the group of British conservation volunteers were sitting in a beach restaurant. Gunmen surrounded them and told the group to lie on the ground before taking their valuables.
( Daily Telegraph, Independent )

Saturn's rings of fluffy snow
A study of Saturn by the Cassini probe as it entered orbit around the ringed planet show how tiny moons help to create its dazzling rings and suggest that its majestic hoops are made of dusty, fluffy snow rather than dirty ice.
( Daily Telegraph )

Curse of Mars afflicts Beagle's mother ship
The curse of Mars has struck again. In the wake of the loss of the Beagle 2 lander, scientists fear that a wildly wobbling radar could wreck Beagle' s £150 million mothership, Mars Express . Computer simulations suggest that deployment of the radar's two 20m booms to hunt for evidence of buried water will cause a backlash that could hit and disable Mars Express .
( Daily Telegraph )

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