Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

US Turns Drama Study into a Crisis

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

US Turns Drama Study into a Crisis

Article excerpt

Elizabeth Gibney on new loan restrictions affecting Americans attending renowned UK conservatoires.

Specialist UK institutions that do not hold their own degree-awarding powers are appealing a decision by the US Department of Education that would stop their American students accessing US government loans.

The department tightened its criteria in November 2011, requiring that foreign institutions not only award recognised education credentials to be eligible for the Federal Direct Loan scheme, but that they award those credentials directly.

According to one estimate, the move, backdated to include courses starting from July 2011, would affect hundreds of US students at specialist institutions and conservatoires whose degrees are validated by other universities, including those already midway through their degrees.

The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (Lamda) is warning 15 postgraduate students embarking on its long-standing MA programme tailored to US students that they may have to find alternative means of funding.

"In this country, conservatoires like Lamda or the London Film School, where you're teaching something specific and discrete, are quite small bodies and it's rare to have degree-awarding status," Joanna Read, principal of Lamda, told Times Higher Education.

"I can't imagine (the US Department of Education) would want to deny American students access to the quality of education provided at these institutions."

Institutions are in the process of receiving official notice of the change and will be given the chance to appeal.

Other affected institutions include the Royal Northern College of Music, Guildhall School of Speech and Drama, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. …

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