Crisis looms for UK universities
Universities face a financial crisis and possible job losses after new figures revealed the predicted rise in overseas students - and their fees - had not materialised. Vice-chancellors last night warned that some institutions may be forced to cut staff and abandon building programmes after provisional statistics from the university admissions service, Ucas, highlighted a slowdown in the number of non-EU students coming to study in the UK.
Universities encouraged to increase fees paid by part-time students
Universities should have the confidence to raise fees for part-time students, the Government said after announcing a package of measures to support poor students. Bill Rammell, higher education minister, said the support measures would allow universities to increase their fees without fear of putting off poorer students when the tuition fees regime comes into effect next year. Mr Rammell told university leaders in London: "We are giving institutions the confidence to put up their part-time fees by ensuring students from low-income backgrounds get support.
The Financial Times, The Guardian
Ucas suffers online glitches
The first round of university undergraduate applications for 2006 entry - in the first year that the system has gone fully online - has been disrupted by a series of technical glitches, it emerged yesterday. The deadline for student applications for Oxford and Cambridge and medical, dental and veterinary schools was last Saturday, but was extended to Monday after the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service had difficulties sending the completed forms out to universities. Ucas said in a statement: "We are not aware of any major issues affecting the incoming applications and in fact they are being processed more quickly than in previous years.
Student numbers fall again despite efforts
The number of Scots going to university has dropped for the second consecutive year, despite attempts by ministers to widen access to higher education. Figures from the clearing body Ucas showed ,646 Scots were accepted at UK universities in 2005, compared with ,928 last year - a drop of 1 per cent. Fresh evidence has also emerged that Scots are being squeezed out by so-called "fee refugees" from England, with an increasing number of students from south of the Border accepted at Scottish universities.
Nurse trained at taxpayers' expense will be deported
An asylum seeker who spent three years at university in Britain before graduating and getting a job as a nurse will be deported this morning after being refused permission to stay. Melissa Reid, 30, was denied a visitor's visa and then asylum when she arrived from Jamaica five years ago to stay with her uncle, but used the time while going through the appeals process to study nursing at the University of Central England.
The Daily Telegraph
Top scientists want Britain to join space mission
Britain should reverse its long-standing opposition to involvement in space exploration and be part of the next round of missions to the Moon and Mars, say three leading scientists. For £150 million a year for 20 to 25 years, Britain could play a full part in international manned flights, they say in a report commissioned by the Royal Astronomical Society. Professor Frank Close, from Oxford University, Professor Ken Pounds, from the University of Leicester, an astronomer and former RAS president, and Dr John Dudeney, deputy director of the British Antarctic Survey, concluded that the expenditure would be worthwhile because of the wide commercial, educational, social and political benefits.
The Times, The Guardian
Owners causing allergies in pets
For years, household pets have been blamed for triggering allergies and asthma, but new research accuses owners of causing the same troubles in their animals. Vets say cigarette smoke, human dandruff and dusty houses can all contribute to breathing problems in the family cat. Certain types of cat litter and pollen brought into the home can also bring on attacks. About one in 200 felines suffers from asthma, compared with 1 in 12 adults.