Today's news

February 7, 2007

Students better off despite fees, says research
The latest intake of students at English universities will be better off financially than previous generations who did not have to pay the new £3,000-a-year tuition fees, research published today shows. The counter-intuitive finding from consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers, reflects the Treasury's generous interest-rate subsidy on student loans and the reintroduction of grants and bursaries for poor students. Under the old system, where most students paid an upfront fee of £1,000 a year, an average graduate could expect a rate of return of 12.1 per cent, which balances the short-term costs of a university education against the enhanced earning power a degree affords later in life.
The Times, The Financial Times, The Scotsman

Arts graduates 'see little financial reward'
Graduates in English or drama earn barely more than those who leave school at 18, according to a report published today. Arts graduates with huge debts may actually be worse off over the course of their working life, suggests the study commissioned by Universities UK. The finding comes amid calls by students' leaders for a review of £3,000-a-year university tuition fees, introduced in September. And it comes only weeks after vice-chancellors indicated that the charge should double when fee levels are reviewed in 2010.
The Daily Telegraph, The Independent

Professor denied tenure begins hunger strike
A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun a hunger strike to protest against the university's decision to deny him tenure. James Sherley, a 48-year-old African-American stem cell scientist, has spent nearly two years asking senior administrators at MIT to overturn a decision not to put him forward for tenure. MIT administrators have denied his allegations of racism saying less than half of MIT's junior faculty members were promoted to tenured positions. His colleagues in the university's biological engineering division wrote a letter saying they believed the tenure process was "fair and honest" in his case, the Boston Herald said.
The Guardian

Oxford student found dead
The student president of Balliol College, Oxford, has been found dead in his room. Thames Valley Police said that no one was being sought in connection with the death of Andrew Mason, 20, from Nottingham, which was being treated as "unexplained but not suspicious". Mr Mason, who was studying physics and philosophy, had recently been elected president of the junior common room at Balliol. In a statement, the college said that Mr Mason was an outgoing, popular student who had combined being an effective president with exceptionally good academic work.
The Times

Colleges and universities reap £4m green windfall
Scotland’s colleges and universities are to share in a £4 million fund to help them cut carbon emissions. Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen announced the move during a visit to Edinburgh University yesterday. He said the Central Energy Efficiency Fund, which already gives financial support to local authorities, NHS boards and Scottish Water, would now been extended to cover the country's 59 further and higher education institutions. Mr Stephen said the scheme had made great progress in saving energy.
The Scotsman

Australian university in stem cell land row
One of Australia's leading universities is facing increasing criticism from academics across the country for agreeing not to do stem cell research on land it bought from a Roman Catholic college. The University of Sydney has approved a deal with St John's College, under which the Catholic residential college will hand over land for the Sydney Institute of Health and Medical Research on the condition that no foetal stem cell research be conducted there. The deal was reached despite the university confirming it had alternative sites for the institute that would not have required a compromise on the type of research it could do.
The Guardian

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