Arts and Entertainment

The Venetian contralto Sara Mingardo is one of a kind, and the nearest approximation to her clarion sound is to be found in the recordings of countertenor James Bowman in his prime; down in the baritone register her voice has masculine firmness, and when she opens up at the top her timbre is thrilling.

Average student debt now £4,500 a year

Student debt levels have rocketed by almost twice the level of inflation during the past year – with those starting university this autumn expected to owe more than £20,000 by the time they graduate.

North Sea gas and oil boom threatens dolphins

Marine conservationists have called for permanent protection of one of the UK's most important colonies of dolphins which is being threatened by a boom in North Sea oil and gas exploration.

Go Higher: A complete guide to higher education

OVER THE next six editions, Go Higher will concentrate on specific areas of higher education to help you make the right decisions.

Education Letter: Are standards declining?

IN RECENT years there has been growing public concern about the alleged dilution of academic standards in British universities and degree- awarding colleges. While not, at this stage, taking a view on this issue, we nevertheless believe there is a need to find out if the allegation of dilution is well founded.

Going Higher: help desk

Q. I left school/college a year ago and I am now working. Who should give me a reference?

Parents' Guide: What to do when they leave

Make time to talk about what a son or daughter going away to university means for the family

Universities to be rewarded for low student drop-out rates

NEW FINANCIAL rewards for universities with low drop-out rates will be outlined by a government quango next week.

Student choices: Prophets of doom were all so wrong

Pessimists predicted a huge fall in college applications - but it just isn't happening

Student choices: Children and parents put off by new fees and loans

How great a deterrent is David Blunkett's new financial package for students? The fear of those who have opposed it in Parliament and in education has been that some of those who might be qualified and able to benefit from a university education will be put off.

Student choices: Raid the family fortune?

There are going to be some interesting family discussions when the university bills come in if The Independent's survey is anything to go by. If the top universities are ever permitted to go ahead with the imposition of top-up fees - the idea will be banned by the Education Bill going through Parliament - 70 per cent of students interviewed are confident their long-suffering parents will pay for them.

Letter: University fees

Sir: Thank you for your praise in your leader on student tuition fees. But contrary to your implication, it is not the intention of the National Union of Students to frighten would-be students away from higher education to make a point in our campaign; the evidence is clear that the prospect of paying university tuition fees is killing ambition among potential students.

Letter: High price of a university degree

Letter: High price of a university

University shamed over ban

A Hong Kong university overturned an earlier ban and agreed to allow its students to display on campus a sculpture symbolising oppression, a student leader said. The University of Hong Kong made the decision on the "Pillar of Shame" monument after a meeting with students.

Inquiry into jet-setting college chief 'flawed'

An investigation into the expenses claimed by a jet-setting university vice-chancellor involved "errors of judgement", the Government's public spending watchdog said yesterday.

University inquiry into expenses was misjudged

An investigation into the expenses claimed by a jet-setting university vice-chancellor involved "errors of judgement", the Government's public spending watchdog said yesterday.
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