Library Fees Affect Graduation, Free Energy, Modern Language Students Fall…
Unpaid Library Fees: A Risk To Your Degree?
British universities have come under scrutiny from the Office of Fair Trade, after denying students their degrees due to unpaid library fees.
Currently the terms and conditions of many institutions mean that students could be stopped from graduating because they owe small amounts of money to the library. Over 50 universities could face legal action, if the Office of Fair Trade finds that these rules are 'unfair'.
Our Take: Nothing like kicking a man when he's down, except in the case of British higher education, the man is kicking himself when he's down, and he's only got one leg in the first place. It's pure silliness to deny anyone graduating over a few late fees, especially when most graduates are going to be in debt forever anyway.
Student Loan Fraud Costs Tax Payer £6.5m
Criminal gangs that have been targeting the Student Loans Company with fake applications have cost the tax payer £6.5 million.
According to new statistics, there were 2450 suspect loan applications in Britain. In 875 of these cases money was paid out before any suspicion was raised.
Our Take: It's so nice to have such a well organised and efficient student loans system, you really get value for money out of it. Oh wait, no you don't, and tax payers are footing the bill for the system's failure, and tuition fees are still at a record breaking high, fantastic.
Free Energy Saturdays!
British Gas is rolling out a new initiative next year that could see homes getting free electricity on Saturdays.
The new system will use meters that measure when electricity is used, not just how much. The company wants to move all it's homes onto the new meters in the next few years.
Our Take: Finally some good news! You won't find us complaining about free electricity (unless British Gas try to cynically offset these costs by increasing the price of using energy during weekdays). But they wouldn't be that cynical... would they?
Oh and btw, if you're setting up your bills for this year make sure you check out our expert guides and comparisons first.
Bath Spa Uni Signs International Recruitment Deal
Bath Spa University has signed a deal with student recruitment experts in an attempt to attract over 2000 students from the US and China.
The institution currently has less than 200 foreign students, but expects this deal to drive up admissions, and profits.
Our Take: Oxford, Cambridge, Bath Spa, the three big names that instantly spring to mind when you think about British Higher education. Not quite, but well done to Bath for making a bold, forward thinking move, rather than cutting back staff or paying board members massive amounts of money.
Number of Modern Language Students Fall
The number of students studying modern languages has fallen by 12% in the last year, according to a new survey. German and Scandinavian studies were particularly hard hit, with a drop in intake of 30%.
It's not all bad news for modern languages, as the number of students learning African or Middle Eastern languages increased by, an impressive, 1%.
Our Take: This probably won't do the nations reputation as ignorant tourists any good, but as is the case with so many of these 'fall in number of students doing X' stories, it's pretty clear that real reason fewer people are taking these courses is the increase in fees.
State of the Machin: On Holiday Books
If you're lucky enough to be going on holiday this summer, you've probably given some thought to taking some books with you. I'm a fairly big fan of reading, but a much bigger fan of buying books (which is an expensive habit to keep up as a student, but an English Literature course does help justify some costs).
The modern book buying world is full of big decisions, supporting local bookshops, or even bigger ones like Waterstones is the honourable thing to do. But when you compare prices to Amazon, some times the bank account speaks louder than any real life interaction. The worse kind is when you go to a bookshop to browse and then take the names down of books you like to buy online later, GUILTY.
And does anyone even read physical copies of books any more? With a Kindle (other ereader devices are available) you have a lot more room in your suitcase and have a huge array of cheap books at your fingertips. For me it's not the same as actually reading a real book, but I'll be damned if I'm taking any of George RR Martin's lengthy tomes abroad with me.
Ideally, I'd like to be able to download a digital copy of any real book that I buy. If you've paid for it, why shouldn't you get in all the formats? Authors are still getting paid, publishers are still making money, and you get the pleasure of owning a book (and displaying it prominently when you have guests to impress) as well as all the ease that comes with an eReader.
Of course, if you really want to save money on books, you could always join a library...
And that's the State of the Machin.