College enrolment in UK falls for first time since 1999

A poll by the Association of Colleges (AoC) has found that the number of teenagers enrolling in British colleges has fallen for the first time in twelve years. The survey of 182 higher educational institutions showed a 0.1 per cent decrease in incoming students, representing a reduction of 600 from the last academic year.

Although a quarter of colleges saw the numbers of students fall between five and fifteen per cent and just under half had had seen a decline, forty-two per cent of colleges reported an increase in teenage enrolments.

Overall there are 40,000 fewer sixteen to nineteen year old freshers in England this year compared with 2010-11 and the blame has been levelled at the abolition of the Education

Maintenance Allowance (EMA), a grant aimed at helping students from low-income backgrounds.

The Department of Education has set up a new £180 million-a-year fund as a replacement for the EMA and announced a bursary scheme for the students in poorest financial circumstances in March. However, the chief executive of the AoC, Martin Doel, reported that a “significant number” of colleges were concerned that “the government is making education for the over-sixteens too expensive for all but the richest students.”

Georgetown students given more influence over college services

Students at Washington D.C.’s Georgetown University have taken part in forums to voice their issues with university administration. The university-led forums have been named the Hoya Roundtables and allowed students to share their grievances with university representatives.

Christopher Augostini, the new Chief Operating Officer (COO), set up the forums as a way of getting student feedback on a range of university services. He said that “the goal is for there to be constant communication.”

After taking over as COO in the summer, Augostini held a meeting with student leaders of campus organisations. Student housing and campus technology numbered amongst the many issues they brought to his attention and the decision to hold open forums was made by Augostini and his assistants in early September. Augostini has stated that he will focus on the issues most commonly raised by students, and the university has also set up a survey for students, so they can pick out the most pressing issues and submit questions and comments as well. According to Augostini, the ulterior aim behind the project is to emphasise university services that support students, proclaiming that “we’re here to serve students and the administration.”

Toronto’s college paper to become online-only

The University of Toronto’s student newspaper will eschew their traditional printed edition in favour of becoming an exclusively online publication. The Bulletin, which focuses on university life, research developments and new programmes, has found that most readers prefer the online version, with only ten per cent of readers favouring the printed newspaper.

Michael Kurts, Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing at University of Toronto stated that efficiency was the main factor behind the transition, saying that “with such a large organisation, it is necessary to give out the appropriate information as efficiently as possible.” Kurts went onto say that “we are now able to put out the issue twice a week, therefore allowing us to publish more up-to-date stories. As well, with the removal of paper usage, production time is significantly decreased.”

As part of the move, the production team has also started work on increasing the quality of its video and photographic content and plan on incorporating more multimedia content into the online edition.