Today's news

March 22, 2007

Cambridge applications fall as variable fees come in
Cambridge University suffered a dramatic drop in applications last year after the introduction of variable tuition fees. While the number applying for undergraduate courses across Britain fell 3 per cent, inquiries from state-educated sixth-formers for Cambridge fell by 4.3 per cent. Overall, the number of applicants fell from 14,343 to 14,094, with British comprehensive and grammar school candidates down from 6,672 to 6,387. Those attending independent schools were also put off, with numbers falling to 3,502. Tutors at the university said that the figures made “disappointing reading”.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Independent

Research reaps funding rewards for Scottish universities
Universities that are leading the way on research and knowledge transfer are the main beneficiaries in the grants package announced by the Scottish Funding Council today. The universities of Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow saw some of the biggest funding increases among the 20 institutions in the Scottish university sector. The country's two main art colleges, Glasgow School of Art and Edinburgh College of Art, saw the lowest, with a 2 per cent increase in resources for teaching and research.
The Guardian

Tycoon orders university to return his ‘magic’ artefacts
A buyer of antiquities is suing University College London for the return of a multimillion-pound collection of ancient artefacts he lent it a decade ago. Martin Schøyen, a Norwegian tycoon who has homes in London and Oslo, accuses the university of giving him “spurious reasons” for failing to return 654 Aramaic incantation bowls that date from the 1st century. He loaned the bowls, which are inscribed with magical texts, for academic research purposes in 1996.
The Times

Sale of debt raises fears of commercial rates of interest
Undergraduates must not be forced to pay back their fee and maintenance loans at commercial rates of interest as a result of the chancellor's decision to sell £6 billion of the outstanding debt to private companies, lecturers' and student unions warned last night. They fear that the Government has long-term ambitions to abandon the inflation-only interest rate, which cover repayments on their loans, and charge higher commercial rates on their borrowings. These already top £6,000 a year for this year's first-year students.
The Guardian, The Financial Times

£10m plan to tackle drop-out rates from universities
Universities are to receive extra financial help in an attempt to tackle Scotland's high student drop-out rate, it was announced yesterday. The Scottish Funding Council is to make £10 million available for universities with high numbers of students from deprived areas, who are more likely to leave their courses before they graduate. Previously, universities shared a £5.7 million "widening access premium" which was designed to help them attract students from low-income backgrounds.
The Scotsman

Two students jailed for robbing bank
Two students who robbed a bank in an attempt to pay their way through university were jailed at the Old Bailey in London yesterday. Raymond Ogidi, 22, and Oluwakayode Salawu, 21, said they stole almost £5,000 from the Bradford and Bingley branch in Hertford to finance their studies. Ogidi was planning to go on a computer course at Leicester University and Salawu was studying business at London Metropolitan University when they carried out the raid last August.
The Times

Alternative medicine degrees 'anti-scientific'
A leading pharmacologist today condemns science degree courses in alternative and complementary medicine as pseudo scientific or even "anti-scientific". Professor David Colquhoun of University College London says the rapid growth in "science degrees without the science" shows a sharp contrast with the closure of physics and chemistry courses at universities. Homoeopathy has barely changed since the beginning of the 19th century and "is much more like religion than science", the professor says in the journal Nature .
The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian

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