Thursday, July 25, 2013

Overweight students are less likely to be accepted to university than their thinner counterparts

Fat is unattractive, particularly among young people -- so some exclusion is to be expected

Winning a place at the best universities can be difficult enough - and now American scientists believe how much you weigh could influence whether you are accepted.

Researchers at Bowling State University found that overweight students, especially girls, are less likely to get into university than skinnier students.

The group of psychologists studied almost a thousand applications for postgraduate courses and found that academics favoured thin candidates in face to face interviews.

However, there was no significant difference in success rates when conversations were carried out over the phone or when credentials were assessed remotely.

Psychologist Jacob Burmeister and colleagues at the university asked 97 applicants for psychology graduate programmes at more than 950 universities in the US whether they had an interview in person or on the phone, and whether or not they received an offer.

Dr Burmeister said: 'When we looked at that we could see a clear relation between their weight and offers of admission for those applicants who had had an in person interview.

'The success rate for people who had had no interview or a phone interview was pretty much equal, but when in-person interviews were involved, there was quite a bit of difference, even when applicants started out on equal footing with their grades, test scores and letters of recommendation.'

The study, which was published in the journal Obesity, also suggested the weight bias was stronger for female applicants.

The researchers examined letters of recommendation - a common feature in the application process for winning a place at US universities - and identified positive and negative statements in them as well as the overall quality of the letters.

Dr Burmeister said:'One of the things we suspected was the quality of their letters of recommendation written by their undergrad mentors would be associated with the applicants' body weight, but it really was not.

'It may be that letter writers come to know students well and body weight no longer played a factor.'

Previous studies by British researchers have found overweight people, especially women, are less likely to be hired because employers assume they will be lazy, and when they do get a job tend to be bullied, earn less and are often overlooked for promotion.


More students turning to private colleges as fees rise

Private colleges in Britain are mostly vocationally oriented

Record numbers of students are taking higher education courses at private universities and colleges, despite concerns over low employment rates, research shows.

A new Government analysis reveals that 160,000 students were enrolled at some 674 privately-funded institutions last year, far higher than previous estimates.

In many cases, students are taking degree-level qualifications in subjects such as business, management, accountancy and IT or specialist arts courses in music, drama and dance.

It is thought that large numbers of students are being attracted to private institutions – more than half of which are officially profit-making bodies – to take shorter courses at a fraction of the cost of those charged by mainstream publicly-funded universities.

According to the report published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, more than half of institutions charged between £3,000 and £6,000 and the average maximum fee stood at £5,050. By comparison, average fees of around £8,300 were set for students starting courses at state-funded institutions in autumn 2012.

It follows a Coalition decision to allow students to take out taxpayer-backed loans of up to £6,000 to take courses at private education providers.

Experts believe that the number of students being attracted to the private sector will continue to grow in coming years.

A survey of institutions conducted as part of the research found that two-thirds were anticipating a rise in the number of British and European students taking degree-style courses, while just over six-in-10 are planning to expand the range of courses on offer.

The study – carried out by CFE Research – found that the vast majority of students were satisfied with their course but it suggested that large numbers of graduates may struggle to get a job.

Of those institutions that provided figures, a third suggested that less than half of students who finished courses in 2011 went into graduate-level jobs, while 75 per cent said that less than half went onto further courses. This compares with an average of 90 per cent of students at mainstream universities who go into good jobs or take another college course.

David Willetts, the Universities Minister, said the figure was “a concern” but insisted that employment rates may be skewed by the presence of large numbers of foreign students who may not be properly tracked by institutions when they graduate.

The Government has actively courted private higher education providers, allowing them to enrol students carrying £6,000-a-year state-funded loans, provided courses are formally accredited by the universities watchdog.

Mr Willetts added: “This research highlights the important role alternative providers play in the higher education sector. They are more common than people think, offer an attractive alternative for students and also deliver high student satisfaction rates.

“Through our higher education reforms we will welcome more alternative providers to the sector. This will create more competition, extra choices for students and will maintain the UK’s reputation for providing a word class student experience.”

Most private colleges offer higher education diplomas or degrees formally accredited by another – mainstream – university.

Some private institutions have their own degree awarding powers, including Buckingham University, the University of Law, Regent’s College in London, the IFS School of Finance and BPP, which specialises in finance, law, health and business courses.

Criticism has been levelled at private institutions amid claims they will skimp on quality and put profit before students.

Mr Willetts defended his reforms, saying: “The lazy criticism of these moves is of course to say that opening up the system diminishes quality.

“But this ignores the great tradition of British higher education, which is a story of dynamism, of new universities meeting changing needs. It ignores the fact that many of our most successful universities were once considered worryingly ‘alternative’.

“When University College London opened in 1828 it offered a secular alternative to the Oxbridge duopoly, as well as a curriculum with new and practical subjects like modern languages, economics and engineering. It was variously dismissed as ‘that godless institution on Gower Street’ and ‘a mere lecture bazaar’.”

*Richer pupils are twice as likely to attend one of Britain’s leading universities as those from the poorest homes, according to figures from the Department for Education.

Just four per cent of teenagers eligible for free school meals – a key measure of poverty – went on to study at Russell Group institutions in 2010, compared with nine per cent of other pupils


Australia: Catholic sector seals 'Better Schools' deal

This is a cave-in by the Leftist federal government.  They wanted to buy control by tying it to more money.  Rudd is giving the money but not getting control

CATHOLIC educators have agreed to sign the "Better Schools" agreement after Kevin Rudd offered an extra $600 million and undertook to rewrite a key section of the Gonski education changes Julia Gillard rushed through parliament in June.

As the August deadline approached for schools to finalise funding for next year the national Catholic education system, which teaches almost 750,00 school students or 20 per cent of Australia's school population, entered an “ongoing” agreement with Labor for the Gonski school funding reforms.

While accepting the agreement and welcoming the negotiations from the Prime Minister and new Education Minister, Bill Shorten, Catholic systems will continue to negotiate in some states because of different state funding arrangements.

The deal is a boost for the Rudd government's negotiations, which have now led to deals with NSW, Tasmania, South Australia, the ACT and with the independent schools.

It is expected the Liberal government of Victoria may also agree to the federal government's terms, especially after Catholics' concerns about ministerial intervention have been addressed. Negotiations are also continuing with Queensland and the Northern Territory, while Western Australia has yet to sign up.

The Catholic school administrators were highly critical of Ms Gillard's approach and the negotiations of former education minister, Peter Garrett, and the lack of parliamentary debate on the “historic” reforms which Ms Gillard described as a “crusade”.

The opposition has threatened not to honour the Gonski legislation and education deals if a majority of states do not agree.

The key concession to the Catholic education system is that the Catholic administrators will retain autonomy on funding decisions.

It's understood the government has agreed to change the legislation which Ms Gillard insisted be included as law and not just as regulations - either when parliament resumes or after the election.

Mr Rudd this afternoon formally announced the agreement in Melbourne under which Catholic schools would receive an additional $1.6 billion over six years - an increase of $600 million.

“That is a large additional shot in the arm,” he told reporters at Aquinas College in Melbourne.

“Today, because of the work that's been done, we now have almost two-thirds of the kids in Australia benefiting under the Better Schools plan, which will deliver extra funding and extra resources ... in most of the states of Australia,” Mr Rudd said.

“We've still some (states) who we've got to get across the line.”

Mr Rudd said he would meet Victorian Premier Denis Napthine later today.

“Our call is pretty basic: come on board, premier, this is a great plan for Australia,” Mr Rudd said.

Mr Shorten said today's announcement was “unreservedly good news” for students in Catholic schools and their parents.

The new funding model will now cover about 2.5 million of Australia's 3.5 million school students, he said.

Sydney Catholic Schools welcomed the agreement as a “positive outcome”.

“I am pleased that the uncertainty of the past 19 months is now behind us, and that the government has given our Catholic school system assurances of flexibility and autonomy to be able to continue to allocate precious resources where they are most needed and where they will have the greatest impact,” said Dan White, executive director of Sydney Catholic Schools.


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