22 January 2014

25% of young live at home, Bitcoins to pay for Tuition, Drunks Students to be fined?..

Cumbria Uni 1st to accept Bitcoin for tuition fees

Cumbria Uni Bitcoins

Cumbria University has broken new ground this week by becoming the world’s first public university to accept Bitcoin as payment for tuition fees.

The decentralised digital currency can be used to pay for summer courses at the institution, which study new economic systems and complementary currency.

Our take: Great blue sky thinking from Cumbria here, teaching a course on digital currency and letting people to pay for it with digital currency, it’s genius! Given the controversy and distrust that surrounds Bitcoin, it’s a brave move by Cumbria and it’s one that should be applauded.

Edward Snowden may become Student Rector at Glasgow

Snowden Rector

Controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked government surveillance information last year, is in the running to be elected as Student Rector at Glasgow university.

The Rector represents student concerns with the University’s governing body, however with Snowden currently having asylum in Russia, even if he did win, it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to serve in his role.

Our take: We love it when people are making a point. If Snowden is elected he’ll be joining an elite group of rectors that includes former liberal democrat leader Charles Kennedy and Ross Kemp. We’d be very careful to make sure your votes are anonymous though, thanks to Snowden, we know exactly who’s watching us!

Cambridge: A Level reforms will harm chances of getting uni place

Cambridge A Levels

Admission chiefs at Cambridge University say that plans to scrap AS levels will make it significantly harder for students to get places.

From 2015 A levels will be assessed by exams after two years of studying, with AS levels being all but abandoned. However, the proposed changes are only taking place in England, with the rest of the UK keeping the same system, which Cambridge chiefs argue will create an unfair system.

Our take: When it comes to education, we’re far more inclined to trust Cambridge than the government, who have proved time and again they don’t really know what they’re doing. If A levels really do need revamping, and there certainly is an argument to be made there, surely they should be changed consistently across the board?

Lancaster Students to be fined for being drunk… at a Bar

Lancaster drunk fine

Lancastrian students are up in arms this week at a controversial new policy from the university which threatens heavy fines for being drunk, as well as buying a drink or selling alcohol to someone who ‘appears to be drunk’.

A college administrator wanted to stop a ‘buy one get one free’ promotion at the bar, and to teach students a lesson about UK drinking laws.

Our take: We’re very pleased to see that this campaign had the complete opposite effect to what it was intending. The bar had its busiest Friday night since Fresher’s Week, with students packing out the bar in protest. That’s something we can definitely get behind.

25% of young people living with their parents

Living with parents

A record number of young people are living with their parents, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.

High unemployment, coupled with extortionate living costs, rent and difficulty securing a mortgage means that 3.3 million people aged between 20 and 34 are staying at home.

Our take: Given how much everyone is struggling at the moment, frankly, we’re surprised this isn’t higher. Supporting yourself financially is difficult, and there’s nothing wrong with relying on your parents while you find your feet. But make sure you find them fairly quickly, you don’t really want to be that guy who lives in his parents basement forever, do you?

State of the Machin: On One Year Writing Here

1 year anniversary

You’ll have to forgive me for being even more self reflexive and navel gazing than usual for this column, because this week I’m one year old. That’s right, its exactly (well not exactly, but close enough) a year ago since I sent my first weekly news round up article into this site, and the first time I’d been paid to have my work published.

Reading it back is not a particularly enjoyable experience: I was still very raw in terms of pacing, tone and snappy headlines, nevermind working out which stories are interesting/how to make them interesting.  But we persevered together, didn’t we? The stories got better (I think/hope). Eventually I got the confidence to start doing ‘whatever this is’ every week. And the grammar was kept in check thanks to a red hot editor.

And we must be doing something right, as while researching for this weeks news, I stumbled across the Guardian’s weekly student news round up blog. Now I’m not vain enough to think that my small piece of the internet has any effect on the editorial policy of the one of the world’s leading websites. Or that we invented the bite-sized news roundup piece. But we have been doing this for over a year now… Make your own conclusions…

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