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Higher Education Round-up

Higher Ed Round-up is a new section, to bring you a round-up of national and international higher education news. Articles are reprinted with permission from Flash Points, a bulletin published each month by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

The end of an era: British public universities plan to start charging students tuition
In what may be the biggest shake-up to hit British higher education in 50 years, the British government is expected to stop providing free tuition for most students attending British public universities, which make up the bulk of postsecondary institutions in the country. Currently, students from the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the European Union can attend British public universities tuition-free.

The bipartisan Commission of Enquiry into Higher Education recommended on July 20 that beginning in the fall of 1999, most students from E.U. countries will be required to pay about $1,700 a year toward tuition, a recommendation that the ruling Labour government has said it will support. The government is also expected to end subsidies for students' living expenses.

To help middle-class students pay college costs, the commission has recommended that they be allowed to take out government-backed loans of up to $8,500 a year for tuition and living expenses. Students would not have to begin paying off their loans until they have found post-graduation employment.

The commission's findings, which were well-received by Britain's higher education community, come at a time when British universities and colleges are facing a funding shortfall of about $585 million for fiscal year 1999 and $944 million for fiscal year 2000. At its current growth rate, the higher education deficit in the United Kingdom would rise to approximately $3.3 billion within 20 years. (Sources: Academe Today, 7/22/97; Reports from CASE (Europe) staff; Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the United Kingdom, 7/23/97.)

Faculty salaries decline in real terms, reversing a three-year trend
Average academic salaries in the United States increased by 3 percent in 1996-97, a decrease of 0.3 percent when adjusted for inflation. The American Association of University Professor, which conducts the annual salary study, says this decline reverses a three-year trend of growth in real faculty salaries. Average faculty salaries for 1996-97 are $59,851 for doctoral institutions; $49,259 for comprehensive institutions; $43,650 for baccalaureate institutions; and $43,016 for two-year colleges.

The low increase in faculty salaries can be attributed in part to smaller tuition increases, according to David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Tuition increases averaged 3 to 5 percent this year. (Sources: American Association of University Professors, 7/2/97; USA Today, 7/3/97; New York Times, 7/9/97.)

Support appears strong for expanding campus crime reporting requirements
A House of Representatives subcommittee voiced support last week for expanding the types of campus crimes that colleges must report. If eventually passed into law, the Accuracy in Campus Crime Reporting Act would add arson, larceny, simple assault, and vandalism to the list of crimes for which campuses must report statistics. Colleges would also be required to report the number of alcohol, drugs, and weapons violations on campus, including those that do not lead to arrests.

The act also calls for opening campus judicial proceedings to the public. According to Academe Today, Security of Campus, a group advocating victims' rights, warns that if such proceedings are not made public by congressional fiat, campuses nationwide soon may be hit by lawsuits. (Source: Academe Today, 7/18/97.)