Today's news

April 4, 2007

Students demand value for money over fee increases
Students are willing to pay up to £6,800 a year in fees for top universities, but they would not tolerate big fee increases from less prestigious institutions, a survey revealed yesterday. The Government is due to review the current £3,000 cap on tuition fees in England in 2009 and several of the most popular universities are already pressing to be able to levy higher fees. Yesterday's survey of more than 14,000 first-year students by Opinionpanel Research suggests students would accept a more market-oriented system and be prepared to pay more for what they perceive as quality and better job prospects.
The Guardian

Ucas points system to be overhauled
The university tariff system, which is at the heart of whether a student is offered a place to study a degree, is being reviewed, it emerged today. The university admissions service Ucas said it was taking a fresh look at its tariff - the number of points that students are awarded for the grades they achieve for an A level, or equivalent, qualification. Universities attach a tariff total to their individual degree programmes, which is then used as the target students have to meet before they can be offered a university place.
The Guardian

Coup for university as scientist joins up
A world-renowned forensic scientist, who has worked on some of Britain's highest profile murder cases and acted as an adviser for the BBC television series Waking the Dead, has joined the staff of one of Scotland's universities. Professor David Barclay, 62, the former head of physical evidence for the UK National Crime and Operations Faculty, has been appointed a senior lecturer in forensic science at Robert Gordon University's School of Life Sciences. Professor Barclay's career began in 1972 with the Government's Forensic Science Service. He was appointed its serious crimes business manager in 1993 and was responsible for enhancing the use of forensic science by police forces throughout the UK.
The Scotsman

Indian TV show to offer university places
Applying to university is to get the Alan Sugar treatment under plans announced by an Indian television station to offer places at leading British universities as prizes in a quiz show. Part Apprentice , part Mastermind , the programme will see ambitious Indian school pupils fight it out for scholarships worth up to £80,000 and a university place. Five universities are taking part in Airtel Scholar Hunt: Destination UK , produced by NDTV, each one paying the tuition fees and living expenses for an Indian student to study one of their most popular courses at undergraduate level.
The Financial Times

University heads defend accounting record
Universities in England yesterday hit back at claims by lecturers that they are failing to keep on top of their accounts after official figures revealed they made a surplus last year, rather than a loss as originally predicted. Universities UK, the umbrella group which represents vice-chancellors, admitted that in England the surplus for 2005-06 was £135 million, but it represented "only 0.8 per cent of total income". The UUK said that the surplus was well below the operating surplus of between 3 to 5 per cent which universities are expected to hold.
The Guardian

Replacement of Cambridge cox creates ripples in rowing world
Rowers in the University Boat race know their place in one of British sport's most prestigious meets is hard won. But even by the event's own competitive standards, the replacement of Cambridge's Russell Glenn has caused more than a few ripples in the sport. With just days to go before the 153rd race, Rebecca Dowbiggin is set to become the first woman in either boat since 2002 and only the 13th female cox ever to compete. Glenn, a 25-year-old Californian, is in line to try out for the US team for next year's Beijing Olympics. He was said to be upset by his demotion to coxing in the reserve race. But according to one of Cambridge's most important rowers, the swap was the right decision.
The Daily Telegraph

Student wins 6 Music slot
A politics student at Nottingham University is to leap into professional broadcasting, taking over the BBC 6 Music Chart Show . Philippa TJ - short for Treverton-Jones - age 21, will become the first BBC 6 Music presenter to join the network directly from student radio. She takes over the show this Sunday, replacing Andrew Collins. Ms Treverton-Jones, the head of music at University Radio Nottingham, was approached by the station less than three weeks ago after winning the Gold Award for Best Specialist DJ at last year's Student Radio Awards. She compared being offered the show to the Spice Girls reforming: "Completely unbelievable but bloody exciting."
The Independent

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