Young women now earn more than men

Young women are finally gaining the recognition in their pay packets that their higher qualifications merit, according to new research.

Figures show that women aged between 22 and 29 in work in the UK are earning more on average an hour than men of the same age.

The figures were unearthed by Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Admission Service, during research into the gender gap in education.

The women’s lead in the pay stakes is still only slight — their median hourly pay is now just over £10 (€11.60) compared with just under £10 for men. But it reverses a historic trend. Ms Curnock Cook contrasted the findings with figures from 1997 which showed the opposite.

“The gender pay gap may take another generation to close as the pay feeds through to the more senior workforce,” she said. The figures show that the gap between men and women’s hourly pay is also closing among 18- to 21-year-olds and 30- to 39-year-olds.

It is only among older workers — 40- to 49-year-olds — that men remain significantly ahead of women, earning £14 (€16.30) an hour while women earn £12 (€14).

Overall, too, the gap between the extra that women can expect to earn from obtaining a degree, and the extra men can expect, remains significant: £82,000 (€95,000) compared with £121,000 (€141,000). (© Independent News Service)


Overseas student fees hike proposed

Students from the rest of the UK wishing to study in Northern Ireland could face fees of up to £9,000 a year, the Stormont Assembly has been told.

The decision to increase charges for prospective admissions from England, Scotland and Wales comes after the region’s power-sharing executive decided not to substantially increase rates for local students.

With anyone from Northern Ireland who decides to study in the rest of the UK facing potential £9,000 a year charges from 2012, ministers have agreed that they will be entitled to apply for student loans to cover the full amount.

As the changes to higher education charges are likely to see more local people opting to stay in Northern Ireland, Stormont Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said he would now consider a “modest increase” to the current 25,000 cap on student places in the region.

Mr Farry outlined the details of the fee structures for the coming four years on the first full sitting of the Assembly since the summer recess.

The new £3,465 rate for Northern Ireland students studying at home represents a rise only in line with inflation and the minister said he wanted to ensure that students from the rest of the UK selecting a university in Northern Ireland did so for the right reasons.

“We want to avoid a parochial situation where our universities just service a local market, but equally we should not be seen as a cheap option,” he said.

“Consequently, tuition fees for students from other parts of the United Kingdom will be higher than for our own students, but no higher than what our students would have to pay if studying in England and Wales.”

The region’s two main institutions – Queen’s University and the University of Ulster – have yet to set fee rates for students from the rest of the UK wishing to study in Northern Ireland from 2012 on.

Students from the Republic of Ireland, and all other European Union (EU) countries, will not have to pay the higher rates. EU regulations mean they can only be charged at the same £3,465 per annum rate as Northern Ireland students. – September 12 2011

More students from UK seeking Irish college places

More students from UK seeking Irish college places



WITH THIRD-LEVEL fees in England on the rise, increasing numbers of students from the UK are applying for places in Irish colleges.

According to CAO figures, there has been an 11 per cent increase in applications from the UK in comparison with the same time last year.

The jump comes after Westminster passed legislation that increased the amount a university or college could charge new undergraduate students in tuition fees.

Currently set at €3,783 (£3,290) a year, that will rise to €3,881 (£3,375) next September.

In 2012, fees will be €6,700 (£6,000) and could be as high as €10,349 (£9,000) a year for specialist courses.

The legislation sparked huge demonstrations in England last November.

Some disenchanted students now appear to be looking to Ireland for their solution, where they do not pay tuition fees.

It is a right citizens from any of the European Economic Area (EEA) countries (EU states, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) or Switzerland can avail of.

Therefore, a British citizen studying an undergraduate course in Ireland next September would pay a €2,000 (£1,740) student services charge, the same as their Irish classmates and almost half the cost of education in England.

Amy Lee Fowler, a second year medical student in NUI Galway, is from Derby, England, and said it would soon become more cost effective for her to be in Ireland than it would be to study at home.

“Everybody I have spoken to at home about it, unless they are really well off, are devastated,” she said.

“When the increased fees come in I think you are going to see a lot of people who want to come over here instead of paying £9,000 for uni.”

The economic appeal of Irish universities has been increased by the Scottish parliament’s move (which is aimed at protecting the position of Scots) to charge English students studying there.

In European law, an exception is made for British universities, whereby the right to a fees waiver is dependent on being a non-UK EEA (or Swiss) citizen.

Scottish universities can, therefore, charge English students a foreign student fee while continuing to not charge native students, an option that Irish institutions do not have.

As there is no cap on how many EU students that Irish universities admit, the increased number of applications is likely to lead to a similar increase in actual numbers who attend.

For 2010, the CAO had received 1,321 applications from Britain and Northern Ireland as of February 1st.

This year that figure has increased to 1,471.

The average higher education student costs the Irish State €10,000 to fund, with €2,000 of that coming from the student as of September 2011.


Cost of undergraduate study in England for first-time students

2010/2011 – €3,783 (£3,290)

2011/2012 – €3,881 (£3,375) 2012/2013 – €6,700 (£6,000)

Cost of undergraduate study in Republic for first-time students

2010/2011 – €1,500 (£1,300)

2011/2012 – €2,000 (£1,740)

2012/2013 – €2,000 (£1,740)

The Irish Times – Saturday, March 19, 2011

European student numbers soar at Scotland’s free universities

Scottish ministers fear its universities have become ‘cheap option’ for EU students facing rising fees at home, although quirk of EU law means English students must pay

Glasgow University. Almost 16,000 students from other EU countries enrolled at Scottish universities last year. Photograph: Picture Hooked/LOOP IMAGES/Loo

Scottish ministers claim that thousands of European students are exploiting Scotland‘s free university system to avoid paying escalating fees in their home countries.

The latest admissions figures show the number of students from other EU countries taking up places at Scottish universities has nearly doubled in a decade to almost 16,000 last year, at a cost of nearly £75m.

Mike Russell, the Scottish education minister, said the figures showed that European students were becoming an increasingly significant drain on the university sector at a time of deepening cuts in public spending.

Russell is to press Europe’s education commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou, to change European university funding rules since the cost had now increased five-fold in the last decade. The number of EU students getting free places went up 17% in 2009/10. By comparison, the number of EU students taking up places at English universities went up by 6%.

Because university education is free for residents of Scotland, under EU law students from all other EU member states are entitled to the same free places. Students in some countries such as France face annual fees and other costs running to thousands of euros a year.

But under a quirk of European law and the UK’s system of devolved government, English students are not able to attend for free because they are regarded as citizens of the same member state as Scotland – the UK.

Russell said the current situation was untenable. “Scottish universities have always been cosmopolitan institutions – that is part of their attraction – but we cannot allow them to become a cheap option for students who have to pay to go to university in their home countries,” he said.

Russell’s demands are designed to help his Scottish National party government fend off increasing pressure from opposition parties and university principals in Scotland to consider new graduate fees to help increase income for universities.

Scottish principals fear their institutions will suffer when English universities begin charging fees of up to £9,000 a year by 2012, increasing their spending power.

The Scottish government has repeatedly rejected calls for new charges or levies on graduates. Alex Salmond, the first minister, plans to make this policy one of the central issues in May’s Scottish parliament elections.

Ministers have also been accused of a lack of funding for higher education, forcing courses to close and colleges to sack lecturing staff. Liam Burns, the president of the National Union of Students Scotland, said Russell was trying to avoid that issue.

“It’d be far too easy to write off the huge cultural and economic benefit of welcoming international students in Scotland,” Burns said. “If we are to have a debate about the numbers of EU students that come to Scotland we should have it in a rational way, not in a way that diverts attention from the need to increase investment in education in Scotland.”

He said today’s figures showed that the availability of university places was the real issue. Although enrolments went up by 3%, demand increased by 6%. “This will mean thousands of talented, willing and able people will have seen the opportunity of going to university denied to them,” he said.

Recent surveys showed that most EU students in Scotland came from Ireland, where fees are up to €7,474 (£6,290) a year, France, where fees can range from a few hundred to thousands of euros, and Germany, where universities are free in some states but in others cost at least €1,000 a year, plus other charges.




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