Today's news

February 17, 2005

Top-up fees spark rush for university places
University applications have risen by nearly nine per cent this year as students rush to secure university places before the introduction of top-up fees. More than 31,000 extra students have applied for courses for 2005, according to the latest figures from the University and Colleges Admissions Service. It is the final year before universities are allowed to charge up to £3,000 a year in tuition fees.
The Independent, The Times, Times Higher Education Supplement

University chiefs concerned at fall in number of overseas students
The number of students from outside the European Union wanting to study in Britain has fallen this year despite an overall increase in both British and foreign applicants. The drop-off in overseas applications, which is particularly severe in Asia, will worry universities, who have become increasingly reliant on the higher tuition fees they can charge to students from outside the EU.
The Financial Times, The Guardian, Times Higher Education Supplement

Tutors turn blind eye to cheats
More than half of Britain's university academics have turned a blind eye to students they suspected of cheating, according to a paper due to be published later this year. Research by staff of University College London and Hertfordshire University found that 51 per cent of tutors admitted they had taken no action when they feared their students were guilty of plagiarism or collusion.
The Guardian, Times Higher Education Supplement

Ministers reduced student targets, documents reveal
Ministers cut back plans for the number of young people going to university amid fears they would create a "pile them high" culture and force elite universities to go private, according to documents published today. Government papers released under the Freedom of Information Act show that in 1999 Downing Street wanted to set a target of 50 per cent participation by young people in higher education by 2006/7.
The Guardian, Times Higher Education Supplement

Leading article: Hull's decision does add up
The decision by the University of Hull to close its mathematics department is sending shock waves around academe, coming as it does after the decision to close the chemistry department at the University of Exeter. The rationale in Hull's case is financial, though the details are very different from Exeter's. Hull does not have enough students. This year, there are 130 applications for the mathematics BSc course. Last year, the university managed to attract 109 home students and 60 from overseas.
The Independent

Figures show rapid rise of new universities
New universities will grow faster this year than their Russell group colleagues, according to the latest university application figures. An analysis of the number of applications to all Universities UK institutions for this year revealed that students choosing to study at post-1992 universities increased by up to a third of the 2004 total.
The Guardian

How to stop the drop-outs
Leaving university early can be disastrous for students and is expensive for the taxpayer. Lucy Hodges looks at some innovative ways to help undergraduates stay the course.
The Independent

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