In a week where countries across the world celebrated Earth Day, UK universities have proven their commitment to sustainability by topping the Times Higher Education impact rankings for the first time.
Canada and Australia also performed well, but the US lagged behind with only one university in the top ten.
The week also saw India added to the UK’s ‘red list’, and Canada announce plans to give permanent residency to graduates.
And the Biden administration is proposing a new budget that will see US education funding increase by 40%.
Here’s your weekly higher education news roundup.
UK adds India to ‘red list’
India has been added to the UK’s ‘red list’ of countries subject to covid travel restrictions, but students will be exempt.
The decision to add India to the list of restricted countries comes after the country has developed their own variant of the virus.
However, due to the availability of vaccines for young people and the experience of universities in handling the pandemic, students will still be allowed to travel.
Any students travelling from India will still be required to quarantine upon arrival in the UK.
Janaka Pushpanathan, director South India at British Council said: “We want to reassure all international students that universities are working hard to ensure that they know what to expect before travelling to the UK, and are welcomed and supported on arrival and throughout their time at university.”
For the first time, a UK university has topped the Times Higher Education’s Impact Rankings.
The University of Manchester was commended particularly for its research on responsible consumption and production, and research on sustainability.
And the rankings might have an impact on the UK’s ability to recruit international students, as THE’s analysis found sustainability is more important than location to international students when choosing a university.
Universities across the UK have also continued to cancel summer graduation ceremonies, with Bristol University announcing their intent to cancel this week.
They join a host of other institutions forced to postpone celebrations due to continuing fears over the coronavirus pandemic.
Many institutions have said that they intend to reschedule their ceremonies for Spring 2022 - but with two years’ worth of graduates now waiting, it may not be possible to give them all the usual ceremony.
US considers more funding for education
US president Joe Biden has proposed an annual federal budget that would see a 40% increase in education spending.
Much of the increase is aimed at improving racial and economic diversity in higher education, including increases to financial aid.
In a letter, the administration called the budget an “important opportunity to continue laying a stronger foundation for the future and reversing a legacy of chronic disinvestment in crucial priorities.”
The plan also includes increased funding for programmes to help underrepresented college students, and $100 million more in funding for those in the sciences.
Canada announce plans to give grads permanent residency
The Canadian government has announced plans to give permanent residency to 40,000 international graduates who study in the country.
It comes as the country says it will try to recruit 90,000 new permanent residents with the skills needed to help the country recover from coronavirus.
Eligible students must have completed a Canadian post-secondary education programme within the last four years, and must not have graduated prior to January 2017.
Speaking to The PIE news, a spokesperson for Universities Canada said that the announcement “sends the message that the contributions of international students and graduates are important to the economy – both during the pandemic and the recovery.”
“International students are extremely valuable members of our university communities and beyond. They enhance our classrooms with diverse perspectives; they contribute more than $22 billion annually to the Canadian economy; and they expand course offerings for domestic students.
“Those who choose to stay in Canada after their studies enter the workforce with valuable skills and experience. Universities across Canada want these students here.”
Applications for the stream will open on May 6, and will end on either November 5, 2021, or when 40,000 applications have been received.