‘Aspirational’ students cause jump in university applications for Oxbridge and medicine in 2021

Students are being “aspirational” with their university choices for 2021, with applications to the most competitive courses seeing a significant jump, Ucas has said. 

According to figures released by the admissions service, a total of 44,220 UK students – up 14 per cent on last year – have applied to undergraduate courses with the early application deadline of 15 October. 

This is the deadline for those wanting to study at Oxford, Cambridge and for most medicine, dentistry and veterinary courses at other universities.

Applications up

A record 2,800 18 year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds in the UK have applied (Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire)

The increase in applications has come despite grim scenes of rampant Covid-19 outbreaks at many universities and locked down student halls. 

A record 2,800 18 year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds in the UK have applied – an increase of 19 per cent on last year. This compared to an 8 per cent increase in applicants from the most privileged backgrounds to reach 17,140. 

International applicants from outside the EU increased by 20 per cent to 17,510, but EU applicants dropped by 19 per cent to 5,220. 

‘Students aim high’

Clare Marchant, the chief executive of Ucas, said: “It’s great news to see students aim high and aspire to a future beyond the current limits of Covid with their choices for next year.” 

The main deadline for university applications is 15 January 2021. 

The figures from Ucas came as a survey found the majority of young people who applied to university this year think it would be fairer to overhaul the system so students only submit an application once they have their final grades. 

Post qualification applications

The research from the Sutton Trust social mobility found that working-class applicants were more likely to say they would have applied to a more selective university if they had known their A-level results when making decisions. 

Two in three (66 per cent) of university applicants said they favour a move to a post-qualification applications (PQA) system rather than university offers based on predicted grades. 

Sir Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “The utter chaos of this year’s university admissions exposed major flaws with the system that are due principally to our reliance on predicted grades. Two thirds of young people support PQA which allows both them and universities to make decisions based on actual grades. It’s as if applicants have real currency in their possession, rather than counterfeit currency as is now the case. 

“PQA would benefit high achieving low income students as their grades are often underpredicted. PQA would also result in admissions becoming more efficient, simpler and fairer for all students.” 

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NowPow Expands Community Care Networks in Washington to Support Students and Other People with Behavioral Health Needs

NowPow, the personalized community referral platform powering care across the nation, is expanding its digital footprint in the state of Washington. NowPow is launching a new, first-of-its-kind partnership with Educational Service District (ESD) 105, a state agency serving 25 public school districts and over 20 private and tribal schools. The company is also furthering its work with Ideal Option, one of the nation’s largest outpatient medication-assisted treatment providers for substance use disorder.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201028005157/en/

Washington State Skyline – Powering Communities With Knowledge (Graphic: Business Wire)

This means hundreds of thousands of Washington residents can now be connected with personalized services that are highly matched to both their health and social needs, as well as age, gender, eligibility, location, languages spoken, and insurance coverage. ESD 105 and Ideal Option will also work closely with community-based and government organizations to “close the referral loop,” utilizing NowPow to track engagement throughout the process so that providers and community-based partners are able to monitor the outcome of referrals and follow-up as needed.

“Often the biggest obstacle to resource access is a knowledge gap. People don’t know what’s available to them or how to find it. Our mission at NowPow is to support community health and wellness by powering those connections,” said Rachel Kohler, CEO, NowPow. “Thanks to these unique cross-sector partnerships, NowPow is now able to connect vulnerable populations, like students and people with behavioral health needs, to community-based organizations throughout Washington.”

NowPow’s partnership with ESD 105 has the potential to connect more than 66,000 K-12 students and their families to behavioral health resources in the community. Even before the pandemic, 93 percent of school districts in the state had insufficient systems to address behavioral health needs, which have now been compounded by the crisis. After the initial launch, ESD 105 also plans to utilize NowPow’s referral network to address things like food and housing insecurity.

“During these unprecedented times, it is critical that our students have access to behavioral health services to facilitate learning and support overall wellbeing,” said Kevin Chase, Superintendent, ESD 105. “Our partnership with NowPow will help our students and their families address social risk factors and overcome systemic barriers to these critical resources.”

“Knowing the available resources is a challenge. NowPow makes this an easier and more personalized process,” added Chris De Villeneuve, Division Director, Behavioral Health and Integrated Care, Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington.

Ideal Option has seen the value of the NowPow platform at work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Ideal Option and its sister company, Ideal Balance, have leveraged NowPow’s platform to administer comprehensive screening to more than 420 patients with opioid use disorder in the Greater Columbia region and match them to more than 3,600 critical community resources like housing and job assistance. On the heels of this success, Ideal Option brought the NowPow referral network to patients in five more counties in the North Puget Sound region.

“NowPow has been a lifeline

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VIDA Fitness Partners with the National Academy of Sports Medicine to Offer 20 Scholarships for Black Students Seeking Careers as Personal Trainers

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct 26, 2020–

VIDA Fitness is launching the Personal Training & Scholarship Mentorship Program in partnership with National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). The purpose of the program is to create more opportunities for Black aspiring personal trainers to have access to the certification program, textbooks, and mentorship necessary to launch a successful career in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

“We want to bring more diversity into the fitness industry,” said David von Storch, President and Founder of VIDA Fitness. “This program will be a launchpad for individuals who are looking for ways to start successful careers. It will also help us meet hardworking, innovative Black trainers who may become future team members in the fitness industry.”

VIDA encourages Black students, returning citizens, fitness freelancers, and anyone who has demonstrated dedication, experience, and interest in pursuing a career in health and fitness to apply.

VIDA has appointed a Diversity & Inclusion Board that will review and interview the applications on a rolling basis. Over the next 6 – 12 months, twenty scholarship recipients will enter NASM’s Personal Training program, which is the fitness industry’s most respected certification. Upon successful completion of the NASM program and the certification exam, graduates will be invited to VIDA for a personal training mentorship.

“Our community of fitness professionals is strengthened by its diversity and its ongoing commitment to continuing education,” said Laurie McCartney, President of NASM. “We are proud to partner with VIDA Fitness on this very important initiative that will truly transform lives.”

VIDA Fitness will review applications on a monthly basis. For details about eligibility requirements and the application process, https://vidafitness.com/scholarship.

About VIDA Fitness: With 6 uniquely designed and thoughtfully laid out locations in downtown Washington, DC and Arlington, VA, VIDA Fitness provides industry-leading facilities and programming, all powered by the best fitness professionals to support you in achieving your goals, and creating a community where people of shared values can make meaningful personal connections.

About NASM: Now in its 33rd year, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has remained the international standard in fitness education due to the high quality of fitness professionals they produce and the scientific rigor of their programs. NASM offers a best in class Certified Personal Training program along with major specializations in Nutrition Coaching (CNC), Sports Performance (PES), and Corrective Exercise (CES).

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CONTACT: Alyson Campbell

Heart & Soul PR for NASM

646.895.2841

KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA MARYLAND VIRGINIA DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

INDUSTRY KEYWORD: EDUCATION HEALTH SPORTS OTHER SPORTS FITNESS & NUTRITION CONTINUING TRAINING

SOURCE: National Academy of Sports Medicine

Copyright Business Wire 2020.

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VIDA Fitness Partners with the National Academy of Sports Medicine to Offer 20 Scholarships for Black Students Seeking Careers as Personal Trainers – Press Release

WASHINGTON–(Business Wire)–VIDA Fitness is launching the Personal Training & Scholarship Mentorship Program in partnership with National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). The purpose of the program is to create more opportunities for Black aspiring personal trainers to have access to the certification program, textbooks, and mentorship necessary to launch a successful career in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

“We want to bring more diversity into the fitness industry,” said David von Storch, President and Founder of VIDA Fitness. “This program will be a launchpad for individuals who are looking for ways to start successful careers. It will also help us meet hardworking, innovative Black trainers who may become future team members in the fitness industry.”

VIDA encourages Black students, returning citizens, fitness freelancers, and anyone who has demonstrated dedication, experience, and interest in pursuing a career in health and fitness to apply.

VIDA has appointed a Diversity & Inclusion Board that will review and interview the applications on a rolling basis. Over the next 6 – 12 months, twenty scholarship recipients will enter NASM’s Personal Training program, which is the fitness industry’s most respected certification. Upon successful completion of the NASM program and the certification exam, graduates will be invited to VIDA for a personal training mentorship.

“Our community of fitness professionals is strengthened by its diversity and its ongoing commitment to continuing education,” said Laurie McCartney, President of NASM. “We are proud to partner with VIDA Fitness on this very important initiative that will truly transform lives.”

VIDA Fitness will review applications on a monthly basis. For details about eligibility requirements and the application process, https://vidafitness.com/scholarship.

About VIDA Fitness: With 6 uniquely designed and thoughtfully laid out locations in downtown Washington, DC and Arlington, VA, VIDA Fitness provides industry-leading facilities and programming, all powered by the best fitness professionals to support you in achieving your goals, and creating a community where people of shared values can make meaningful personal connections.

About NASM: Now in its 33rd year, the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) has remained the international standard in fitness education due to the high quality of fitness professionals they produce and the scientific rigor of their programs. NASM offers a best in class Certified Personal Training program along with major specializations in Nutrition Coaching (CNC), Sports Performance (PES), and Corrective Exercise (CES).

Alyson Campbell

Heart & Soul PR for NASM

646.895.2841

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Waukesha South Students Organize Unofficial Homecoming Dance

WAUKESHA,WI— A group of students from Waukesha South High School plan to hold an unofficial homecoming dance in November after their scheduled dance was canceled due to the pandemic. A GoFundMe page was set up last week by a Waukesha South student to pay for the venue, speakers and decorations.

“This pandemic has taken a huge toll on our high school experience as it is,” the GoFundMe post said. “With school every other day, and having to navigate through a multitude of websites to maintain steady grades in an unchanged, and unadapted curriculum. It’s stressful.”

The fundraiser post said seniors were already “deprived” of their junior prom. Patch reached out to the student who created the post but had not heard back as of Thursday.

The student-organized event is being held Nov. 21 at the Waukesha Elks Lodge, 2301 Springdale Road, Waukesha.

“With all the changes happening in laws about gatherings and social distancing, we are prepared for everything,” the GoFundMe posting said. “After the latest mandate we are still on track of holding the event, however if something were to change we will be donating the money to The National Alliance for Mental Health to help the teenage mental health affected negatively by the pandemic.”

According to a WISN 12 News report, staff at Elks Lodge said they will require masks and a maximum of 50 people in a facility that has a capacity for 450.

Patch reached out to the district, which released the following statement:

“Neither Waukesha South High School nor the School District of Waukesha is endorsing the planned Homecoming event, or the GoFundMe created. The District is working consistently to remind our kids, families, and community that we need to stay vigilant with our mitigation strategies at school, at home, and in the community to keep moving forward together. “

Coronavirus concerns

The cases of coronavirus continue to increase.

There are 22 student and eight staff coronavirus cases in the Waukesha School District, according to the district’s website. There are 415 students and 56 staff members quarantined.

Waukesha South has the highest number of cases in the school district, with 10 student coronavirus cases and 125 students being quarantined. For Waukesha South staff, there is one coronavirus case and nine being quarantined.

The district has drawn attention regarding its plan, which began Oct. 19, to increase in-person learning for middle and high school students to four days a week. Prior to Monday, middle and high school students were using a hybrid model, attending in person two days a week and doing virtual learning from home the other three days.

Parents expressed concern about the reopening plans at an Oct. 14 school board meeting. The school board is to determine at the Nov. 11 meeting if it is safe to return to a full five days of in-person learning.

A Change.org petition was created to request “gating criteria” from the district. The petition, which has had 756 signatures, is asking what data is being

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Fort Bend ISD’s complex scheduling process weakens mental health support for students, officials say

Fort Bend ISD officials say using separate schedules for virtual and on-campus classes offer increased learning opportunities that allow online students to return to campus for band or football and other extracurricular classes.

However, maintaining the complicated system means campus counselors now spend all their time “hand scheduling” classes for the district’s more than 76,000 students. That leaves teachers as the sole mental health support for students, administrators said during a school board meeting Monday, Oct. 19.

When questioned as to what kind of mental health support was available for teachers facing an exponential increase in their work load and stress level, administrators recommended deep-breathing exercises, among other things.

“We have wellness moments that we use to open every meeting,” Assistant Superintendent Diana Sayavedra said. “We employ breathing exercises. We communicate the importance of self-wellness and finding the balance between work and home and our ‘Live Well’ (cell phone) app constantly sends reminders and updates to our employees about was they can do to reduce stress.”

One trustee spoke up to question the approach.


“Not to discount breathing, but it reminds me of what they told me when I was in labor, ‘Just breathe through it,’” trustee Kristin Tassin said. “And that doesn’t always cut it.”

Sayavedra said she and other administrators are also currently evaluating ways to possibly offload some teacher duties to other district staffers in the future.

Trustee Grayle James said she had received a lot of messages from teachers who were feeling overwhelmed and asked if a schedule change to allow teachers some extra down time was a possibility.

Superintendent Charles Dupre said he and his staff would consider it, adding he’d also heard from many teachers struggling with stress and anxiety.

“My consistent message to teachers is to ask the teachers to give themselves grace,” Dupre said. “Because when I talk to teachers and I get the largest outcry from teachers, it’s often teachers who’ve set a very high bar for themselves that they’re unwilling to lower.”

The decision to implement separate schedules for on-campus classes and virtual learning continued to be a source of concern for administrators and trustees during Monday’s meeting. The process requires campus counselors to evaluate each student’s schedule individually and resolve various conflicts between the dual scheduling system such as monitoring class sizes and making adjustments for students with overlapping classes.

The process has been so time-consuming campus counselors have no time for their regular mental health support duties, leaving teachers as the sole support for students. The scheduling process is expected to continue to drain resources from mental health support systems in the coming months as new schedules are drawn for the upcoming semester, according to Pilar Westbrook, who serves as Fort Bend ISD’s Executive Director of Social Emotional Learning and Comprehensive Health.

“We know that our counselors are our tier-one for mental health support, but we won’t acknowledge the fact that they have been inundated with

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There are enough homeless students in California to fill Dodger Stadium 5 times, study says

There were 269,269 K-12 students experiencing homelessness in California at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, according to a new study from UCLA. That’s enough students to fill the entire Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles about five times.

The report, released Wednesday by UCLA’s Center for the Transformation of Schools, found the number of homeless students has risen by 50% in the last 10 years. With the number of homeless students surpassing 269,000, researchers hope the report will highlight the inadequacy of current programs for homeless youth and emphasize additional funding for programs and new policies on both the federal and state level. 

“Dodger Stadium is empty these days but can hold some 56,000 people for a big game. California could fill the stadium with students experiencing homelessness almost five times and still probably need to use the parking lot for overflow,” the study’s lead author, Joseph Bishop, said in a statement.”But our students are not in Dodger Stadium. We are talking about young people who may be sleeping on the streets, in cars, or in shelters. This is a crisis that deserves immediate action.”

The report also shines a light on cracks within federal laws such as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which provides funding for homeless shelters. Researchers found that only 106 of 1,037 school districts in California received funding from the law and two out of three homeless students do not attend schools that receive funds. 

The authors of the report said the coronavirus pandemic is likely to bring more hardships for students and families experiencing homelessness. The UCLA report found that students experiencing homelessness were disproportionately Black and Latinx, making up 9% and 70% percent of students respectively.

“Homelessness impacts Latinx and Black students most with real and negative consequences,” said Lorena Camargo Gonzalez, a UCLA researcher and co-author of the report. “The prevalence of Latinx and Black youth experiencing homelessness requires more racially and culturally responsive strategies in education practice and policy.”

With this data, researchers hope to bridge the gap between available federal and state programs and students who have yet to receive aid. As homeless and housing instability has been proven to contribute to low attendance, poor grades, absentee rates, and graduation percentages, researchers hope the report can encourage schools to prioritize their at-risk students while still providing them with the learning experience they need to thrive.

“Even in these tense and difficult times, the large and growing number of students experiencing homelessness in our state is a crisis that should shock all of us,” said Tyrone Howard, faculty director of the school.  “We hope this report will create greater awareness of student homelessness, the racial disparities that exist with students experiencing homelessness, and provide policymakers with meaningful insight and information. Aggressive, immediate and effective action is needed by leaders at every level of government and in our community to dismantle this unacceptable crisis.”

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Homeless California students could fill Dodger Stadium 5 times, study says

There were 269,269 K-12 students experiencing homelessness in California at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, according to a new study from UCLA. That’s enough students to fill the entire Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles about five times.



a group of people riding skis on a snowy surface: California homelessness


© FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty
California homelessness

The report, released Wednesday by UCLA’s Center for the Transformation of Schools, found the number of homeless students has risen by 50% in the last 10 years. With the number of homeless students surpassing 269,000, researchers hope the report will highlight the inadequacy of current programs for homeless youth and emphasize additional funding for programs and new policies on both the federal and state level. 

“Dodger Stadium is empty these days but can hold some 56,000 people for a big game. California could fill the stadium with students experiencing homelessness almost five times and still probably need to use the parking lot for overflow,” the study’s lead author, Joseph Bishop, said in a statement.”But our students are not in Dodger Stadium. We are talking about young people who may be sleeping on the streets, in cars, or in shelters. This is a crisis that deserves immediate action.”

The report also shines a light on cracks within federal laws such as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which provides funding for homeless shelters. Researchers found that only 106 of 1,037 school districts in California received funding from the law and two out of three homeless students do not attend schools that receive funds. 

The authors of the report said the coronavirus pandemic is likely to bring more hardships for students and families experiencing homelessness. The UCLA report found that students experiencing homelessness were disproportionately Black and Latinx, making up 9% and 70% percent of students respectively.

“Homelessness impacts Latinx and Black students most with real and negative consequences,” said Lorena Camargo Gonzalez, a UCLA researcher and co-author of the report. “The prevalence of Latinx and Black youth experiencing homelessness requires more racially and culturally responsive strategies in education practice and policy.”

With this data, researchers hope to bridge the gap between available federal and state programs and students who have yet to receive aid. As homeless and housing instability has been proven to contribute to low attendance, poor grades, absentee rates, and graduation percentages, researchers hope the report can encourage schools to prioritize their at-risk students while still providing them with the learning experience they need to thrive.

“Even in these tense and difficult times, the large and growing number of students experiencing homelessness in our state is a crisis that should shock all of us,” said Tyrone Howard, faculty director of the school.  “We hope this report will create greater awareness of student homelessness, the racial disparities that exist with students experiencing homelessness, and provide policymakers with meaningful insight and information. Aggressive, immediate and effective action is needed by leaders at every level of government and in our community to dismantle this unacceptable crisis.”

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PowerUp Fitness keeping students in virtual learning fit during COVID-19 pandemic

PowerUp Fitness is usually in schools, teaching students about shapes, colors and even geometry. But COVID-19 meant they’d have to pivot to online teaching.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Evelyn Price is four years old and serious about two things: drawing pictures of dogs and staying active while learning from home. 

Price’s family is one of more than 2,000 participating in PowerUp Fitness, a school-based physical learning program across hundreds of schools in East Tennessee and throughout the U.S. 

A global pandemic forced what would typically happen in the school gym online.

Evelyn and her mom Alicia use virtual fitness learning videos from Power Up,
a local program helping students learn while being active in school.

“All of our programs are academic, whether it’s ABC’s or geometry,” founder Stacy Baugues said. 

The COVID-19 pandemic means educators need to take different approaches towards keeping kids active. Instead of typical activities, on-demand virtual videos to keep virtual students like Evelyn up and moving.

“Families can pick videos based on age or academic integration,” Baugues said. 

She said that is important to combat learning loss, but it’s also important to keep kids moving in a time when many are learning from home. Experts said that she is not wrong. 

Since the pandemic began, studies everywhere from the University of California to the National Library of Medicine show kids are less active right now and Baugues said there are ways communities can change that.

“They can have lots of fun and get moving and get learning together,” she said.

That is something that is important for Evelyn’s mom, Alicia, too.

“While the pandemic is a very stressful time this helps bring some light to it quite frankly,” she said. 

Power Up Fitness is currently offered in several East Tennessee schools like Oak Ridge and Lenoir City. Families can also find it at the YMCA and Centro Hispano.

RELATED: Students leap into learning at Lenoir City Elementary with PowerUp Fitness

RELATED: Keeping Kids Connected: Top 5 helpful study apps and websites for students

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Program Nationally Recognized for Bringing American Indian Students to Careers in Science and Medicine

Media Contacts

Julie Kiefer

Associate Director, Science Communications, University of Utah Health
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 801-587-1293

Oct 21, 2020 10:00 PM

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NARI 2019

A University of Utah Health Department of Pediatrics program that supports academic, career, and personal development of American Indian / Alaska Native (AI/AN) undergraduates from across the country has received recognition from the National Indian Health Board. The National Impact Award honors individuals and organizations whose work has made an impact on AI/AN health care on a national level. The Native American Research Internship (NARI) program was one of six recipients to receive the prestigious honor this year.

This award elevates the visibility of American Indian health care issues in the state of Utah and across the country,” says Scott Willie, NARI alumni and program coordinator. “NARI represents a small piece in the circle that has significantly increased the awareness of the need for more AI/AN researchers and health care providers. This award signifies the hope and prayers that our ancestors had for the future health and wellness of our communities.

Launched in 2010, NARI was built on the guiding principal that eliminating health disparities hinges on recruitment, education, and training of the most talented scientists in the US. The program accomplishes this goal by providing hands-on research experience with University of Utah faculty and intensive mentoring to American Indian students who are interested in health science careers. The National Institutes of Health-funded program brings students to the U from around the country for 10 weeks each summer.

““The fires ignited here can bring light to our tribes for generations.”

Unique to the program is the mentoring support provided to students as many navigate the world of biomedical research for the first time. Students meet with academic mentors about research in addition to mentors from the larger regional AI/AN community, who help them integrate their identity inside and outside of the research environment. In weekly talking circles, interns learn from one another as they discuss challenges and shared experiences. NARI students credit the personalized approach for making all the difference.

“…Even more important than the networking this program has provided is the great job it has done in fostering and strengthening our self-identity as future physicians,” one participant said in a survey. “The fires ignited here can bring light to our tribes for generation.

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Gloria Slattum, PhD, Maija Holsti, MD, Scott Willie

In its ten years, NARI has been a resounding success, with 128 participants representing 46 different tribal nations and 57 colleges and universities completing the internship. Of those, none have dropped out of college; so far, 53% have gone on to either medical or graduate school and 28% are employed in biomedical research. In addition, all students surveyed last year reported improvements in research skills, oral and written presentations, and knowledge of health disparities within AI/AN communities.

“I am most proud of the resilience, perseverance, and wonderful accomplishments of our NARI students,” says Maija Holsti, M.D., NARI director. “The NARI program hopes to continue to

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