International News Desk – At Home: Strahl holds firm on FNUC funding despite province’s reversal – In Foreign News: US push for foreign students worries Australian universities

International News Desk – At Home: Strahl holds firm on FNUC funding despite province’s reversal – In Foreign News: US push for foreign students worries Australian universities

At Home: Strahl holds firm on FNUC funding despite province’s reversal

In spite of protests, and a reversal on provincial funding, Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl is standing firm on the decision to pull federal grants to the First Nations University of Canada (FNUC).

In February, both Ottawa and the Saskatchewan government announced that long-running problems at FNUC had reached the point where funding had to be withdrawn. Issues included poor governance and misspending.

According to the CBC, provincial government officials signed an agreement March 23 to allow for ?a temporary administrative reorganization of FNUC under the auspices of the University of Regina.?

The agreement will see the provincial government reinstate $5.2 million in funding to FNUC. Strahl, however, told reporters that FNUC’s promises of reform have shown little result in the past, and the school’s federal funding of $7 million will end as scheduled April 1. On FNUC’s promises, Strahl said that ?I’ve been told that now. And our government’s been told that for five years. And it stretches back into the Liberal government era.?

However, he also told reporters that his main concern is the academic year of the 820 students currently enrolled at the university, and noted that Ottawa may be willing to provide financial support other than grants to FNUC.

In Foreign News: US push for foreign students worries Australian universities

Several US state universities are battling the financial downturn by encouraging foreign students to enrol?and That’s got some Australian universities worried. As The Australian reports, US Studies Centre chief Geoff Garrett has warned that ?the obvious implication is the market for foreign students will become more competitive because you will have a lot of large and high-prestige universities competing for the students.?

And when it comes to attracting those foreign students, US schools have several advantages, including fast visa approval times and ?plenty of student accommodation.? They also have the powerful brand recognition of schools such the University of California, Berkeley. A weak US dollar provides another reason for students to consider American universities.

Australian universities have courted foreign students for over a decade and the entrance of US universities into the game will mark a major change in the market. Before the recent financial crisis, most US state schools didn’t need to boost enrolment by looking elsewhere. There are some three million students worldwide who study abroad, with many coming from China, South Korea, and India.

Currently, Australian universities ?rely on foreign undergraduates to fund one-quarter of their teaching.? Other English-speaking countries may feel the loss of foreign students to the US as well, including Canada, England, and New Zealand.

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