Study: One quarter of U.S. tech start-ups founded by an immigrant

A new study showing that immigrants founded one quarter of U.S. technology start-up companies could fuel calls to relax immigration rules ahead of next month’s U.S. presidential elections, where the economy and immigration are key issues, Reuters reports. The study “America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Then and Now,” shows that 24.3 percent of engineering and technology start-up companies have at least one immigrant founder serving in a key role. The study paid particular attention to Silicon Valley, where it analyzed 335 engineering and technology start-ups. It found 43.9 percent were founded by at least one immigrant.

“High-skilled immigrants will remain a critical asset for maintaining U.S. competitiveness in the global economy,” wrote the authors of the study, sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes entrepreneurship. One of the authors, Singularity University’s Vivek Wadhwa, called for a visa designed for entrepreneurs…

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U.S. colleges see opportunity as Brazil sends students abroad

U.S. colleges, holding onto a shrinking lead as the world’s biggest educator of international students, are eyeing a promising new market in Brazil, an emerging economy with big hopes for the future but a shortage of skilled labor, Reuters reports. U.S. Commerce Undersecretary Francisco Sanchez will lead officials from 66 U.S. colleges and universities to Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro beginning Thursday on what he told Reuters is the biggest trade mission of the Obama administration. The seven-day visit capitalizes on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s “Science Without Borders” initiative aimed at reducing her nation’s skills deficit by sending as many as 101,000 students to study abroad over the next four years.

“She’s stated publicly that she wants half of those to go to the United States and specifically to study in the STEM areas: science, technology, engineering and math,” Sanchez said. Brazil’s skilled-worker shortage is a major challenge on the country’s path to developed-nation status. In addition to spurring Brazil to seek educational opportunities abroad, the shortage has encouraged the government to explore ways to ease immigration rules to attract more foreign professionals…

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Paper airline tickets, bound encyclopedias passe for new U.S. college students

Incoming U.S. college students have never seen a paper airline ticket, like to watch television on almost anything but a television and consider exposed bra straps a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction, according to an annual list released on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

“This year’s entering college class of 2016 was born into cyberspace and they have therefore measured their output in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds,” said humanities professor Tom McBride and public affairs director Ron Nief of Beloit College in Wisconsin, who have prepared the “Mindset” list since 1998.

The 75 items on the list are said to represent the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of students entering college this autumn, most of whom were born in 1994.…Read More

Stylus, split-screen stand new Samsung tablet apart

Samsung Electronics launched its new Galaxy Note tablet in three major markets on Thursday, hoping that a stylus-type pen and split-screen function will stand the new device apart from rival Apple Inc’s iPad, Reuters reports. The company, facing accusations that it copied the design and some features of Apple’s iPad and iPhone, said the Galaxy Note 10.1 would be a “game changer” from rival tablets, on which users usually only view one application at a time. The device can have two apps active on a split-screen, while an ‘S-Pen’ seeks to solve tablet and smart-phones’ sometimes clunky keyboard and input functions by allowing users to write and sketch on the screen. Analysts, however, were skeptical of its ability to make inroads into Apple’s huge lead in the tablet market given plans to price it at $499 for 16 gigabytes of memory and WiFi-only – the same as the iPad.

“When you look at the price and overall consumer awareness about Samsung tablets, it’s not likely to be a big success,” said Park Young, an analyst at Woori Investment & Securities in Seoul…

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Ex-Google exec’s new venture helps students avoid corporate life

Four months after leaving Google Inc, the former head of its enterprise business has a new mission – helping college graduates avoid big corporations like Google, Reuters reports. Upstart, a service that is launching in limited form on Wednesday, lets university graduates raise money from other people online so that they can start their own businesses, pursue a research project, or chase a personal dream, rather than take a “safe” job in the corporate world.

“There’s this overwhelming desire to not follow the traditional path of bolting yourself to a desk and climbing the corporate ladder,” said Upstart founder Dave Girouard.

But he said too many graduating students have college loans they need to repay and do not feel they can take a chance. Part social network, part crowdfunding service in the style of Kickstarter, Upstart provides an online forum where participants post personal profiles with their background and goals in the hope of attracting at least five financial backers……Read More

Moody’s: Public colleges face ‘intensified’ credit hurdles

Credit challenges for public colleges and universities have “intensified,” Moody’s Investors Service said on Thursday, and majority of the institutions it rates have a negative outlook due to their reliance on student tuition and government funding, Reuters reports. Only a minority of so-called market-leading universities, mainly rated Aaa or Aa, have a stable outlook because of their strong balance sheets and diversified revenue. Moody’s said this smaller group can better withstand the pressures affecting the entire higher education sector: the stumbling economic recovery, meager investment returns in their portfolios, funding cuts and a decline in households’ net worth…

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Google’s Schmidt challenges: no screen time for 1 hour a day

Google Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt challenged college graduates on Sunday to take the radical step — at least for their generation — of tearing their eyes away from their smartphones and computer screens, Reuters reports.

“Take one hour a day and turn that thing off,” Schmidt told graduates at Boston University, where he received an honorary degree and was applauded by an audience that had grown up relying on the technology company’s search engine, e-mail and other services.

“Take your eyes off that screen and look into the eyes of the person you love. Have a conversation, a real conversation,” Schmidt said.…Read More

Divided Congress likely to agree on student loans

One way or another, the Congress seems certain to prevent a low interest rate for federal student loans from doubling on July 1, aides and analysts say, largely because lawmakers do not want to rile young voters before the November 6 elections, Reuters reports. Yet it remains unclear how – or even if – Congress will pay for a one-year-renewal of the 3.4 percent rate for about 7.4 million students, which would cost about $6 billion. Senate Republicans on Tuesday are expected to block a proposal by President Barack Obama’s Democrats to cover the cost by plugging what they call a tax loophole for the rich. Senate Democrats are expected to reject a bill passed two weeks ago by the Republican-led House of Representatives to fund it by taking money away from Obama’s healthcare overhaul…

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School district fights subpoena of Penn State victim records

A Pennsylvania school district on Monday moved to quash a subpoena asking for psychological and other records of one of the 10 boys Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of sexually abusing, Reuters reports. The subpoena targeting the school district superintendent raised objections last week from prosecutors who accused Sandusky’s lawyer, Joe Amendola, of embarking on a “fishing expedition” for information to defend Sandusky. Prosecutors also criticized Sandusky’s lawyer for revealing the name of Victim 1 in the subpoena, which authorities redacted before including it in the court file. Victim 1 is among 10 boys Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing between 1994 and 2008. A grand jury indictment said Sandusky performed oral sex on him more than 20 times when he was 13 or 14 years old, had Victim 1 perform oral sex on him one day and also touched the child’s genitals. Sandusky was barred from Victim 1’s school district, headquartered in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, not far from Penn State, after the child’s mother reported the allegations to the school…

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Top U.S. colleges to offer free classes online

Five prestigious U.S. universities will create free online courses for students worldwide through a new, interactive education platform dubbed Coursera, the founders announced Wednesday, Reuters reports. The two founders, both professors of computer science at Stanford University, also announced that they had received $16 million in financing from two Silicon Valley venture capital firms. Coursera will offer more than three dozen college courses in the coming year through its website at, on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to neurology, from calculus to contemporary American poetry. The classes are designed and taught by professors at Stanford, Princeton, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan…

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