Capilano University faculty members protest cuts to basic education and literacy programs at board of governors meeting

Capilano University faculty members protest cuts to basic education and literacy programs at board of governors meeting

Proof that panhandlers are richer than we think?

Proof that panhandlers are richer than we think?

Video games with honest names, part 2: The EA CD-ROM Classic “You can’t cut back on funding” (applies to public transportation, education and everything else)

Video games with honest names, part 2: The EA CD-ROM Classic “You can’t cut back on funding” (applies to public transportation, education and everything else)

Today, the Daily Herald begins an occasional series looking at how much your community college presidents put on their expense tabs, in line with the newspaper’s On Guard mission of telling readers where and how their tax dollars are being spent. Note that community colleges are funded by a combination of tax dollars and tuition, and are governed by the state.

Harper College President Kenneth Ender took office in July 2009, just as the economy was hitting rock bottom. In 2010, he was reimbursed for alcohol at a party for his visiting brother at his Inverness home; for a golf outing/social with staff at Lake Barrington Shores Golf Club; and five to two-person dinners at Entourage Restaurant in Schaumburg for interviews of provost and executive vice president candidates.
A true Nova Scotia vision for post-secondary education

[International Differential Fees are covered under the 3% cap on tuition increases. Only in the case of “unique circumstances” can universities appeal to the NS Minister of Labour & Adv Education to get an exemption to the cap. This unspecified appeals process is not exclusive to Intl. Differential Fee increases, but those fees are the only known case where Dalhousie University is trying to bypass the provincial cap. Authorities among Dalhousie student representatives report that the “unique circumstances” clause is a dedicated loophole to effectively deregulate International Differential Fee increases. Dalhousie is selling the increase to intl students with “improved services”, it is unclear how this constitutes any kind of “unique circumstance”. The same source suggested a different background to the loophole clause: While the NS government does not fund intl students’ university education in general, they provide “some” amount of funding for intl students up to a 10% fraction of the full student population, ostensibly to attract highly qualified students in accordance with the provincial NS immigration strategy. Since the Intl student population at Dalhousie is currently at 11% and expected to grow in the near future, the loophole clause allows Dalhousie to recover additional revenue from the growing number of Intl students. The university and provincial government successfully obfuscated the clause and process: One month after the Dalhousie Board of Governors approved the additional Differential Fee increase and ordered the uni administration to appeal to the Minister, it is still unkown when and how the appeal will be brought forward, and what exactly is behind the “unique circumstance” clause. -Editor’s note]


What the new Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ report on post-secondary education offers is precisely what the present government lacks — namely, a vision for post-secondary education (PSE) in this province that goes beyond mindless cost-cutting.

What it makes clear is not simply the inequity involved in transferring still more of the burden of the cost of education onto the young, but just how shortsighted is the policy of reducing investment in post-secondary education, when post-secondary education is in fact part of the solution to our economic problems, not part of the cause.

We know the economic benefits of attracting out-of-province students, who come here not just to visit but to live. It is estimated that for every dollar the government invests in international students, the province receives an economic return of more than three dollars — yet the government’s policy on tuition fees allows for increases for international students well in excess of the three per cent cap proposed.

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A majority of Canadians believe governments are not doing enough to make higher education affordable, according to a recent poll conducted for the Canadian Association of University Teachers. 57% of respondents are willing to pay higher taxes to support PSE. As for the most important way to help improve access, almost half of those surveyed support a tuition fee freeze, while 37% say fees should be lowered. The majority of Canadians polled say university and college administrators care mainly about the bottom line rather than about quality of education. 52% of respondents say that, if faced with government funding cuts, institutions should cut administration costs first, compared to 12% who believe fees should be raised, 13% who say salaries should be cut, and 14% who say increasing class sizes is the answer. CAUT News | Poll results (Academicagroup)

On Wednesday, the University of New Brunswick’s board of governors imposed an extra $150 in students fees on all 6,000 students at UNB. On top of that, the board approved a $200 hike in tuition fees, the maximum permitted under rules set by the provincial government.

The $150 fee, which has been dubbed the Richard J. Currie Center fee, doesn’t fall under the provincial rules because it’s considered an ancillary fee. “That’s basically a loophole that the board of governors and the administration have gone through,” said Joey O’Kane, vice-president external of the UNB student union.

UNB student union president Jordan Thompson has suggested any fees affecting students be decided by a vote by students via a referendum, but the board of governors won’t allow it. “The decision to approve an increase to fees while students are away from campus does not bode well for clear and transparent relations between the administration and students,” Thompson said.

St. Thomas University’s board of governors also approved its budget Wednesday. STU is also introducing a $200 tuition fee hike for domestic and international students.

STU’s $27.15-million budget for 2011-12 incorporates an increase in the operating grants from the provincial government. Four full-time faculty positions will be added in the new fiscal year, decreasing the number of courses taught by part-time faculty.

"This is a challenging time for budget development for all universities and we recognize the deficit-cutting priorities of the government," said Andrea Seymour, chairwoman of the board of governors.

Tuition fees at STU will be $4,4770 for domestic students and $12,680 for international students. The base fee for residence will increase by $280 with the cost of a double room with a base meal plan for the coming year expected to be $7,000. STU has the lowest combination of tuition and fees in the Maritimes, the university said.

Funding cuts threaten export success of UK universities, report warns
A new report observes that UK’s international PSE market is “a highly knowledge-intensive export industry” and is a prime example of innovation in the public sector, but government funding cuts put that under threat. The report states the UK’s main competitors — including Australia, Germany, and the US — “have all increased public sector funding for higher education to stimulate economic growth.” Funding uncertainties for UK institutions “should be viewed as cause for concern,” with future sharp cuts in capital funding “a particular worry,” the report says. Other concerns cited include the end of funding under the prime minister’s initiative to promote UK abroad, and the recent tightening of visa rules. Times Higher Education | Read the report (Academicagroup)

Funding cuts threaten export success of UK universities, report warns

A new report observes that UK’s international PSE market is “a highly knowledge-intensive export industry” and is a prime example of innovation in the public sector, but government funding cuts put that under threat. The report states the UK’s main competitors — including Australia, Germany, and the US — “have all increased public sector funding for higher education to stimulate economic growth.” Funding uncertainties for UK institutions “should be viewed as cause for concern,” with future sharp cuts in capital funding “a particular worry,” the report says. Other concerns cited include the end of funding under the prime minister’s initiative to promote UK abroad, and the recent tightening of visa rules. Times Higher Education | Read the report (Academicagroup)


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has made a name for himself as a “strict fiscal conservative,” by slashing spending. The governor has championed budget cuts that eliminated hundreds of millons of dollars in education funding and is now taking aim at public workers, wanting to instate cutbacks that could almost quadruple health care costs for public workers.

Yet there appears to be one project that Christie does not mind subsidizing to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. For years, a group of developers have been building the Xanadu Meadowlands complex, a massive retail and entertainment complex — complete with indoor water park, skating rink, and 600-foot ski slope — that has been under construction for the past three governors. Yet despite $1.9 billion being spent on the project with little progress, Christie recently struck a deal with the company that built the Mall of America to rescue the project, at huge taxpayer expense.

Recent developments in Higher Education, Part 2: Canada, US & beyond

Campus Confidental - 100 startling things you don’t know about Canadian universities. 1. Graduation Rates Report Card

Tuition fees worrying Canadian parents

According to a new national survey, two-thirds of Canada believe that post-secondary education has become too expensive. These days it costs about $60,000 to send a child to university for four years (and much more if you’re dreaming of med school). And the poll, conducted by the Bank of Montreal, found that only 21 per cent of families with children under the age of 18 are confident they can afford it.

US & beyond

"Kick Out Sodexo" Coalition at University of Washington - 25 UW studentsarrested at sit-in over vendor

Class of 2011: More Debt Than Ever

It’s official: This year’s class graduates with a record amount of debt. The Wall Street Journal reports that total student loan debt taken on by parents and students adds up to an average of $22,900, 8 percent higher than last year. That’s scary stuff, especially considering how hard it is for new grads to find jobs right now.

For-profit colleges seeking students at homeless shelters

For-profit colleges are making billions of dollars in profits by targeting vulnerable populations with misleading promises of low-cost tuition and jobs after graduation, says Bloomberg News investigative reporter Daniel Golden.

Education Is the Last Thing on Their Minds

The for-profit education industry complained of excessive regulation last fall when the Obama administration issued new rules intended to curb abuses at profit-making colleges and trade schools. But lawsuits brought by whistle-blowers with firsthand knowledge of the industry make a strong case for why tough rules are needed.

"Evidence of the true cost of educational funding cuts"

We Need Higher Ed Uncut

The challenges facing undocumented students in US: High School Soccer star deported to Mexico after title match

If the Southeast Whitfield Raiders win their game tonight against top-ranked St. Pius X of Atlanta, Bernabe Rangel will play for the Georgia Class AAA soccer championship Saturday.
Two days later, the standout midfielder for the Dalton, Ga., high school will be deported to Mexico.
“I’d love to stay here. Who wouldn’t?” said Rangel, a four-year starter for the Raiders. “Some of the teachers ask me if I’m scared, and I’m not. They worry, but I tell them that God’s always there.”
Rangel will be deported three days before his 19th birthday.

When a Student’s First-Choice College Is Out of Financial Reach

This spring Natasha van Doren, the mother of a prospective Southern New Hampshire University student, wrote an e-mail to Paul LeBlanc, its president. Her daughter, Mariah Mann, had fallen in love with the
campus, she wrote, but there was a problem: Money was tight, and if Ms. van Doren sent in the needed $500 deposit, she would have only enough left over to pay half of her monthly rent. Ms. van Doren and Mr. LeBlanc traded several e-mails.

8 Alternatives to College

Massachusetts Attorney General’s office scrutinizing for-profit colleges

Our Growing Higher Ed Crisis: Making Myths In the Basement of the Ivory Tower

45 % total tuiton hikes in ONE year? Are you kidding? re-evaluate our professors, trim the fat…. give up the admins’ second mansions in Long Beach… make our campuses sustainable (over time, of course) THOSE will cut costs.. It’s good to know my education has no value to those that are entrusted  to protect and facilitate it. -lolasays

Recent developments & media coverage on Higher Education issues in NS, Canada and beyond

Recent developments & media coverage on Higher Education issues in NS, Canada and beyond

Blog showcases best of the worst student writing

Today I stumbled upon a pretty hilarious blog that showcases what have to be some of the most ridiculously bad examples of student writing out there. Shit My Students Write describes itself as “evidence of the true cost of educational funding cuts,” though doesn’t specify whether the writing quoted is the work of university or high school students. The site gives readers the opportunity to submit their own examples anonymously, so it’s hard to tell where they are coming from. Regardless, I have to give props to whoever was tasked with grading this work, and had the idea to share the worst of it online …


Following recent criticism in The Chronicle Herald, Dalhousie president Tom Traves circulated a memorandum to the university community regarding “the size and cost of Dalhousie’s administration.” He spoke of “ill-informed public commentary,” and made an oblique reference to an article I wrote for Macleans, in January 2010, expressing similar concerns about administration costs at Canada’s leading universities.

Dr. Traves thinks the criticism is unwarranted at Dal. I disagree.

He dismissed the notion of a national problem by citing a controversial article (judging by the comments it attracted) written by someone who has consulted for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada — “the voice of Canada’s universities.”

The central theme of my Macleans article was that undergraduate education has fallen in priority at leading Canadian universities because top administrators are focused on pursuing global academic status. This is fuelling skyrocketing administration costs and taking money away from the classroom.

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Press Review - Tuition fees, budget cuts in Canadian Universities (April 20 - May 1)

April 20, 2011 - Nearly half of Canadians say university and college education an important priority in this election (CFS/CNW)

Forty-eight percent of those surveyed said post-secondary education was a priority for them personally, with nearly a third (31%) indicating it was a very high priority. Just eight percent said universities and colleges were not an important issue in the election. “Rapidly rising tuition fees and record-high levels of student debt are alarming to most Canadians,” said David Molenhuis, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.

April 22, 2011 - Tuition/Fees - Senator argues treatment of international students (UWO Communications)

Rick Telfer sees a conflict between The University of Western Ontario’s desire to increase its international student enrolment and the planned hike in tuition fees. “I oppose the budget primarily because of the tuition fee increases that are being imposed on students,” he says. As part of Western’s strategic plan, the university has outlined a plan to grow the number of international students. For the first-year class, this means targeting 400 first-year undergraduate spaces for international students by 2014-15. “International enrolment expansion is not just about revenues - it is an academic priority for the university,” Deakin says. ” Western’s international student tuition rates are below those of peer research-intensive institutions in Ontario. To make up the difference, Western outlines a plan to increase tuition rates for international students to the level of its competitors over a period of three to four years.

April 27, 2011 - International Students Rally Against Being Used As Cash Cows (Halifax Media Co-op)

On Tuesday, April 19, some thirty international students at Dalhousie held an emergency protest rally to condemn a 10 per cent increase in differential fees. Despite the drizzling cold rain, the protest, initiated by the African Students’ Union and literally organized overnight, was very vigorous as student after student voiced their opinions as to why the dramatic increase was discriminatory. Along with the steep increase, students related that they are discriminated in other ways, such as being charged for services provided free to the student body. Furthermore, deep cuts are in the offing amongst faculty as departments are being told to cut back some seven per cent from their annual budget across-the-board.

April 28, 2011 - American administrator sounds for-profit warning - US private providers damaging sector by exploiting students (Times Higher Education)

The growth of private higher education has had a devastating impact on the US academy and poses a major threat to the UK, a university admissions expert has warned. Speaking at the annual conference of the Association of University Administrators, President Betty Huff said: “Not all for-profit institutions are bad, but we were not prepared for what happened. They throw out statistics that seem to show success, but (the reality is) not good.” She cited one Californian institution, which she did not name, where a cohort of nurses had graduated despite their course failing to offer them any clinical practice. This left the graduates unemployable, despite the fact that many of them had spent as much as $60,000 (£36,200) obtaining their qualifications, she said. Ms Huff urged delegates at the conference to warn UK politicians of the dangers of private provision, suggesting they use the US as an example. “They are businesses and they are only (in it) for profit,” she said. The students that the firms typically target are the first from their families to enter higher education, “so they don’t know the right questions to ask, and they don’t know about accreditation”, she added. Between 89 and 95 per cent of private providers’ operating budgets come from federal financial aid, yet one college president was able to make $42 million in salary, she said. She added that the US government’s student aid budget could be “drained dry” as a result.

April 28, 2011 - U of Windsor hikes tuition fees again - Students alliance ‘disheartened’ by 4-8% increase (Windsor Star)

The other shoe has dropped for students at the University of Windsor after the institution’s board of governors approved an expected second tuition hike in two years. The school’s resource allocation committee recommended increases in domestic tuition of between four and eight per cent, depending on program, to “address financial challenges” and balance the 2011-12 operating budget. Holly Ward, executive director of public affairs, said the increase was announced two years ago. “I know, for students, it’s not welcome,” she said. “But it is something that has been around for two years. It reflects what all Ontario universities will be announcing for the fall. A balanced budget is very important to us.” Fees for new first-year students in undergraduate professional programs, such as business, computer science, engineering or law, will rise eight per cent. For all other programs the increase will be 4.5 per cent. Upper year undergraduate and graduate students will see fees rise four per cent. Laine McGarragle, president of the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance, called the latest increases “disheartening from a student’s perspective.” She said the alliance had lobbied to keep fees frozen for the next school year. “Knowing it was likely to pass we’re asking that the administration make more on-campus jobs available to students,” she said. “We want the university to reinvest in its students.”

April 28, 2011 - Postsecondary education is a matter of mindset, not just money (Globe and Mail)

Children of certain immigrant groups (Chinese, in particular) attend university at rates as high as 90 per cent (average rates are between 36 per cent and 38 per cent), regardless of family income. Or why parental education is a much stronger indicator of who will go to PSE than family income. Once the idea of PSE is firmly planted in the child’s mind, the money that’s required will, it seems, be found. But if that idea doesn’t take root, money matters little.

April 29, 2011 - Trent approves cuts to balance budget - Tuition increases and budget cuts at Trent University (The Peterborough Examiner)

The board of governors approved the $93,225,000 budget that includes a 4.5% increase in tuition for incoming undergraduate students and a 4% increase for continuing undergraduate students. With budget pressures such as contractual salary increases, higher pension contributions, investments in classrooms and more spending on information technology, the university made cuts in other areas. After a group of students explained how the academic cuts will affect their education and their experience at Trent, Trent Central Student Association president Sheldon Willerton told the board that students understand that the government funding system is causing the financial problems for the university. “The machine is not broken but it is quite seriously in jeopardy,” he said. “We’re trying to not just fix it short term. This budget is really the first step.”

April 29, 2011 - New Immigration Strategy will Help Employers, Communities (Province of Nova Scotia) The strategy establishes a target of 7,200 new immigrants by 2020, or double what the province had aimed to achieve. The strategy, which will be supported by $790,000 in additional funding for immigration efforts, will also target a 70 per cent retention rate.

Welcome Home to Nova Scotia is the province’s most ambitious and focused immigration plan ever, and one of the most comprehensive strategies in the country,” Premier Dexter said. “[…] It will ensure potential immigrants understand they are welcome and valued in Nova Scotia and that this province wants them to stay and build a life here.” “Hiring immigrants can help you achieve export development objectives,” said Jean-Paul Deaveau, president of Acadian Seaplants Limited in Dartmouth. “There’s no doubt, hiring immigrants is good for business.” The benefits of immigration extend into communities as many new Nova Scotians and their families become volunteers, civic leaders and entrepreneurs. Welcome Home to Nova Scotia recognizes the importance of welcoming communities by providing tools that will help communities become inclusive and supportive. “Starting a new life, it’s not an easy task,” said Flora Riyahi, vice-chair of the Advisory Council to Immigration. “To come here, to feel alone, it makes it more difficult. We need to keep immigrants happy. We need to be a welcoming community in order to keep and attract immigrants to Nova Scotia, and this strategy will help us to do that.”

April 29, 2011 - Nova Scotia aims to double immigration by 2020 (Canadian Press)

Nova Scotia wants to double the number of immigrants arriving each year by 2020 in an effort to boost its workforce as the population ages. The province plans to attract 7,200 immigrants a year by 2020, up from the current goal of 3,600. The province has had a controversial history on immigration as a previous version of its nominee program failed to give immigrants the middle-management work experience and training they paid for when they came to Canada.

May 1, 2011 - Academy seeks cash and commitment as Canada heads to the poll (Times Higher Education)

As Canada prepares for its fourth general election in seven years, its university sector is doing its utmost to ensure that higher education is a key priority for the main parties. The Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada recently launched a “Universities Matter” election website. It calls for all parties to commit to three central policies: increasing funding for scholarships and research, support for an international marketing effort for Canadian higher education and improving widening-participation funding, particularly for the Aboriginal community. The Canadian Association of University Teachers has also been working to ensure that post-secondary education has been a high-profile issue throughout the election. The association is not expressly endorsing any party, according to James Turk, the executive director of CAUT. However, Mr Turk said that the union had concerns with the provisions for higher education put forward in the Conservative budget whose rejection in Parliament in March defeated the minority Conservative government of Stephen Harper and forced an election. “The Conservatives again took a piecemeal approach to education and research that sidesteps the real needs of the sector,” he writes in The CAUT Bulletin, the union’s official newsletter. “The small increase in research funding does not fully cover inflation, let alone restore the cuts made to the granting councils in the 2009 budget.”