International Briefs

Low graduation rates at for-profit colleges: study

A report on graduation rates found that only 22 per cent of first-time, full-time students at for-profit colleges in the U.S. graduate within six years, according to the New York Times.

The report, conducted by nonprofit research and advocacy group Education Trust argued that these colleges offer “little more than crippling debt,” and pointed out that only nine per cent of first-time, full-time students at the University of Phoenix, the country’s largest for-profit college, graduate within six years.

This is compared to 55 per cent at public institutions and 65 per cent at private nonprofit institutions.

“For-profits proudly claim to be models of access in higher education because they willingly open their doors to disadvantaged, underprepared students,” José L. Cruz, a vice president for the trust, told the Times. “But we must ask the question, ‘Access to what?’”

A separate study released by the Pew Research Center found that approximately one quarter of students who graduated from for-profit schools in 2008 borrowed over US$40,000 to complete their degree, compared to the average US$24,000 borrowed by students in 2009.

Wikileaks reveals harsh critiques of world leaders from U.S.

The latest batch of U.S. classified files leaked by whistleblower website reveals disparaging views of several world leaders, reported the CBC.

In the large batch of U.S. diplomatic cables, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is compared to Hitler, while French president Nicolas Sarkozy is referred to as “the emperor with no clothes,” and Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai is described as extremely paranoid.

German president Angela Merkel is favorably nicknamed as “Teflon.”
The files were given to several media organizations, including the New York Times, the Guardian and Spanish newspaper El Pais.

The United States government has condemned the leaking of latest round of documents, warning Wikileaks editor Julian Assange that distributing the documents would endanger people’s lives.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon also denounced the release of the documents, but said that it wouldn’t alter Canada’s “strong relationship” with the U.S..

U.K. students continue to protest rising fees

Students across Britain continue to protest education funding cuts and a drastic rise in tuition fees, reported the Guardian.

Sit-ins have been organized at Oxford, Manchester and Edinburgh universities, and are expected to increase. Edinburgh students also encouraged supporters to stage snowball fights to show their solidarity.

Student groups involved in the protests sent representatives Sunday to a national planning meeting Sunday to co-ordinate the next step in the national campaign.
The protests are in response to the government’s plan to allow universities to increase tuition by £9000, while simultaneously making cuts of up to 80 per cent to university teaching budgets.

Management at the universities have been sympathetic to the protestors, but did not allow anyone in the buildings occupied by protestors over the weekend.