How do students look at the different ranking schemes and which ones are most important to them? This question found its way into Hobsons’ 2017 International Student Survey (ISS), which compared responses from a sample of just over 34,000 prospective international students over the last three years. Nearly two in 10 respondents said rankings played an important part in their choice of destination country. Just under a quarter said institutional ranking was in turn the most important factor in their choice of university. The flip side of these findings is that rankings play a less significant role for a majority of prospective students. Absent a high-level ranking, institutions can still expect to attract students on the basis of other indicators with respect to graduate outcomes, teaching quality, and student experience. The ISS provides an interesting window into the most-popular rankings among prospective students, finding in particular that the QS World University Rankings and THE World University Rankings have increased in popularity over the last three years. The QS Rankings has advanced from being the third most-popular in 2015 to the leading choice among prospective students this year. – ICEF Monitor. Read more

Sydney has overtaken London as the most expensive city for international students outside the US due to a weak sterling and a strengthening Australian dollar, new research has revealed. According to the report by Savills using data from accommodation site, it costs $4,600 a month to be an international student in London, moving the city to fifth place in the global cost ranking. Sydney has moved into fourth place for the first time due to a monthly cost of $4,700 for students, making it a slightly less affordable city to live and study in than London. However high tuition fees coupled with soaring accommodation costs mean Boston, New York and San Francisco have retained their ranking as the top three most expensive cities for international students, each costing in excess of $5,500 a month. Prague, Berlin, Vienna and Warsaw came in as the cheapest cities in which to study, on par with Shanghai. This is due to low and often free tuition, coupled with accommodation costs at half the average of the 20 cities examined. – Kerrie Kennedy, The Pie News. Read more

College students might appreciate free speech in the abstract, but question them further and their support softens, according to a new survey by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) – a summary of the opinions of 1,250 students at two- and four-year institutions across the US. While most students supported the principles of campus free expression, some of their answers seemed to contradict this in some way. For instance, while 93 per cent of the students indicated that colleges should invite a variety of guest speakers to campus, 78 per cent of those students who identified on the political spectrum as “very liberal” believe that invitations should be rescinded in some cases – 38 per cent of “very conservative” students also backed an invitation being withdrawn in certain circumstances. About 69 per cent of students thought that a speaker should be disinvited if they have made racist comments. Most students indicated they wouldn’t try to block an event in any way. About five per cent said they would take down fliers advertising a speaker and four per cent said they might try to stop other students from attending a talk. – Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Inside Higher Ed. Read more

The past decade has seen a proliferation in English-taught bachelor degrees (ETBs) in Europe as they have become an increasingly common feature of international higher education, according to a joint study across 19 countries. The countries with the highest reported number of ETBs are Turkey, the Netherlands and Spain, whereas Switzerland and the Netherlands have the highest percentage of higher education institutions offering ETBs, followed by Denmark, Finland and Sweden, says the report by the European Association for International Education and the global education search platform StudyPortals.  The Netherlands is leading both in the number of ETBs and the spread of such programs across its higher education institutions. Romania, France, Poland, Italy, Turkey and Germany have the lowest percentage of higher education institutions with ETBs, says the report. – University World News. Read more

Universities are being urged to block certain websites and use smarter cheating detection software to crack down on students buying essays online and then passing them off as their own. The UK university standards watchdog has issued new government-backed guidance to help address “contract cheating”, where thousands of students are believed to be paying hundreds of pounds at a time for written-to-order papers. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) made a series of recommendations including providing more support for struggling students, introducing a range of assessment methods to limit cheating opportunities, blocking so-called essay-mill websites and adopting smarter software that can tell if there is a difference in style and level of ability between a student’s essays. – Sarah Marsh, The Guardian. Read more


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