The UK government has announced a £5m funding boost to a scholarship scheme under which Commonwealth countries offer scholarships to students and academics from other member states. This will allow an additional 150 scholarships by 2025 for students who wish to undertake postgraduate degrees at universities in low and middle-income countries. The new scholarships, which have been renamed Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships, were announced by Prince Harry at the Commonwealth Youth Forum in April, where he was appointed Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. “This scheme … will enable more of our talented young people to access life-changing opportunities to study across The Commonwealth, for generations to come,” he said. The £13.4m Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships scheme is open to students from all Commonwealth countries. – Claudia Civinini, The PIE News. Read more

The government of India has begun a drive to attract more foreign students to its leading higher education institutions, allocating 15,000 places a year at the top 160 universities and colleges, for at least two years and introducing a new system of fee waivers to attract top talent from Asian and African countries. Currently around 8,000 foreign students are admitted each year, although not just at the top 160 institutions. The 15,000 places will be reserved for international students – and will not go to local students if they are not filled up – and are supported by a generous fee waiver scheme. The aim is to make India a preferred destination, based on promoting the country as a “hub of affordable education for foreign students”, in the words of India’s Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar. – Shuria Niazi, University World News. Read more

Indonesian state universities are welcoming the latest policy of President Joko Widodo’s administration allowing foreign academics to serve as permanent lecturers in the country’s universities. The administration announced that it was opening opportunities for foreign academics to become permanent lecturers at Indonesian universities in an attempt to increase the country’s quality of higher education and meet international standards. The move followed a recent presidential regulation (Perpres) on the recruitment of foreign workers, which aims to ease the visa process of foreign workers the country needs most, including those who work in the education sector. Based on the Perpres, the Research, Technology and Higher Education Ministry is preparing a supporting regulation to ease the bureaucracy for foreign lecturers to live and work in Indonesia, including the possibility of issuing a new type of visa for them. – The Jakarta Post. Read more

HSBC has launched an International Education Payment Service, aimed at Chinese students studying abroad. The service will allow overseas students, or their families, to pay tuition fees to universities and other educational institutions in the United States, UK, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. The bank is the first foreign lender to offer such a service to technology savvy users in mainland China. “China is the largest source of international students for higher education institutions around the world. With most of them born in the 1990s and 2000s, these younger consumers are extremely technology savvy, which drives demand for innovative digital financial services, including areas such as overseas studies,” said Richard Li, executive vice-president and head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC China. – Enoch Yiu, South China Morning Post. Read more

Ministers in England are facing renewed criticism over university funding after an increase in student loan borrowing costs using a “flawed” measure of inflation. The interest rate on loans for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will rise by up to 6.3% from September, up from the current 6.1% for anyone who started studying after 2012. The change is a consequence of the increase in the retail price index (RPI) for last month to 3.3% from 3.1% in March a year ago. The government links the interest rate on student loans to the RPI reading for March each year, plus 3%. Economists have long criticised the government for using RPI, which is typically higher than other measures of inflation and fails to take into account some forms of household costs. – Richard Partington, The Guardian. Read more


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