Library fines breaching consumer laws
Over 170 universities and higher education groups have been warned by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that they may be breaching consumer laws by preventing students graduating or continuing their courses due to owing money for matters such as late library books or accommodation arrears.
The OFT completed the investigation after a complaint from the National Union of Students (NUS) and found that about 75 percent of establishments had terms and conditions which obliged students to pay fees in order to graduate or progress to the next academic year.
Nisha Arora, from the OFT, told The Guardian that “Preventing progression or graduation not only affects students’ educational experience but could also significantly harm their future employment prospects and ability to pay off their debts”.
It is hoped that universities will now work with the OFT to find new ways to put in place alternative policies and ways of helping students to pay off outstanding fines.
Cambridge beats Oxford in 2014 global rankings
The University of Cambridge has topped league tables by being ranked best in the country in 14 areas of study, with rival Oxford being placed as best in ten subjects.
The survey by QS World University Rankings judged over 800 universities worldwide, each of which was evaluated for the quality of 30 individual disciplines. The results show that although Oxford is number one in the world for English language and literature, modern languages and politics, the USA dominates the rankings: Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology came out top in 11 and nine respective academic areas.
Other British universities which excelled on a National level were The London School of Economics, for Sociology, Economics and Media Studies, and Reading for Agriculture.
With the rising importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM disciplines), however, it is predicted that the leading Asian institutions in China, Hong Kong and Singapore will emerge as serious competition on future league tables.
The University of Exeter was ranked 156th overall in the QS Rankings, including placing joint 21st in the world for Geography.
Lauren Swift, Copy Editorbookmark me