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Go Back to the List September 11, 2019
U.S. Border Agents Are Seeking Social-Media Data on International Students

Border Officials Seek Social-Media Information
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to collect social-media handles of travelers, including students, to the United States. In a notice of a proposed rule published in the Federal Register, the department says such information is needed to validate applicants’ identity and to determine whether they pose a law-enforcement or national-security risk. While this is the first official announcement of a change in policy, in practice, international students returning to American campuses in recent weeks have reported that border officers have searched their phones, computers, and other electronic devices, and appear to have scrutinized their communications and social-media profiles. The public has until November 4 to comment on the proposed change.

British Higher-Ed Minister Resigns Over Brexit
The minister for universities and science in Britain’s conservative government has resigned over differences in the handling of Brexit. The wrinkle? He’s the prime minister’s brother. On Twitter, Jo Johnson cited an “unresolvable tension” over Britain’s departure from the European Union. He had also held the higher-education post under two previous prime ministers and was seen as an advocate for higher education and research.

Groups Urge U.S. Government to Balance National Security and Scientific Collaboration
More than 60 science, engineering, and international-education organizations have signed a letter to the federal government’s science agencies warning that national-security policies could end up harming the scientific enterprise. The letter asks the agencies to listen to the perspectives of stakeholders when developing policies related to international research. “While we must be vigilant to safeguard research,” the associations write, “we must also ensure that the U.S. remains a desirable and welcoming destination for researchers from around the world.”

Hungarian Academy of Sciences Protests Stripping of Research Institutes
The president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences has asked the country’s Constitutional Court to annul a recently passed law that stripped the academy of its research institutes. The measure to restructure Hungary’s largest and oldest academic institution was seen as part of a broader effort by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government to exercise more control over academics. Central European University, a liberal-arts institution started by the philanthropist George Soros, was forced to relocate from Budapest to Vienna under government pressure.

U.S. Spends More on College, but Much of Cost Is Borne by Families, Report Says
Only Luxembourg spends more per college student than does the United States, according to a new report on education trends across nearly 50 countries by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. But 65 percent of all American spending on higher-education institutions comes from the private sector, more than double the OECD average. And of the private-sector funding, two-thirds comes from households, yet another sign of how much American students and their families have come to bear the cost of a college degree. I’ll have more analysis of the latest “Education at a Glance” report in the next issue of latitude(s), my global-education newsletter.

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Written by Karin Fischer,
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