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  1. #21
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntrovertedThinker View Post
    Interesting! How's the quality?
    Exceptional. (That's because we charge foreigners)
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  2. #22
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Universities dont simply provide training for employment, in a lot of western nations they provide a stop gap between schooling and "life", it saves the labour market being glutted for a year or two when there are insufficient jobs for candidates.

    Longevity in the UK has challenged it because people are working longer and the courses arent becoming longer, well some of them are but you get the idea, plus students dont necessarily want to study longer with the poverty and pressures that go with it.

    This is the social policy and employment in the economy dimension of further and higher education and was maximised by Labour in the UK, it wasnt popular with some employers or elites because selection and recruitment became more difficult, in theory the declining scarcity of degrees and qualifications should have had a knock on effect in their costs but it didnt happen. The degrees in less vocational topics should have been naturally de-selected. Its a funny old thing the ways that the UK labour government tried to use consumerism and shopping to effect academic change.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntrovertedThinker View Post
    Should higher education be free?
    I'm not in agreement with free education, infact I dont like mislabelling things as free when they are at no extra cost most of the time, a gift with some sort of reciprocal obligation. In this instance I think it should be provided from tax revenue and talk about it BEING tax revenue.

    In the developed world its impossible to compete with the wage costs of the developing world, so in theory they do it on the basis of skills, those skills training bills being provided at national taxpayer expense are a cost saving to international investors in a world economy able to shop between tax regimes.

    So I think there are pragmatic and economic reasons for providing tax funded training including university places.

    However, I would say that there is an equality issue, in the past it is true that public funded bursuries or tuition fees where a regressive form of redistribution from working families and the lower classes to the middle classes. By comparison with a lot of private secondary or boarding schools in the UK it was very cheap for middle classes to get a university education. It also led to the messing up of the primary and secondary school system in the UK as the middle classes deserted public schools and then attacked the tax funding of public schools, simply because it was affordable to do so.

    The reforms that the UK government introduced where great but not popularly understood or supported, they appeared to abolish tax funded education altogether but they introduced child trust funds for the population with would mature at the age at which people would be eligible for university education, they could spend it on university tuition fees or they could invest it in a business or use it for a gap year. So it was no longer a regressive redistribution because everyone would be entitled irrespective of class and priorities. Education would be tax funded for those valuing/prioritising that. There was some sort of an idea that the trust funds would also encourage saving, fiscal literacy and home economy too but that didnt happen.

    Popularly misunderstood and attacked in the press as yet another entitlement for loafers the conservatives where able to abolish them altogether without any hesitation or complaint from the electorate.

  4. #24
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I don't know if we should assume that if an education isn't free to the public its going to better than it would have been in the case where it was paid for by the customers. If university education is to be rendered free to the public, isn't it a possibility that the government will provide enough money for Universities to perform at the level they do now? I think that we can accept that as a possibility at least, the real question is whether or not the U.S government will be able to match the funds that Universities earn by forcing tuition fees on their customers. Do you see that as a likely outcome?
    I'd like to say two things to this.

    1) Do you think k-12 education is adequately funded? If not then why would university education be any different.

    2) Tuition rates for universities are growing at an alarming rate, and they are going to continue to do so. Either taxation would get out of control or quality would suffer because of underfunding.

    Quote Originally Posted by IntrovertedThinker View Post
    It's an oversimplified understanding of a very complex issue.
    Essentially, k - 12 is free and it largely lowers its standards because its geared towards average people, and the funding for it isn't really great here in America, because Americans dislike taxation. Hence, these two reasons explain the lower quality.

    1. Average people need to graduate (so says the government). As a result, we will lower standards so that they can all graduate.

    2. Americans dislike taxation, which means public schooling will be lower in quality.

    Thus, the U.S. government simply doesn't have much of the budget to be spending on public schooling. So it's obvious why it wouldn't be so great in terms of quality.

    However, if Americans simply learned that more taxes generally = higher quality social programs (since we're so afraid of socialism, OOOH so scary), we'd have public education with a lot more quality.
    Your solution seems to be that we should somehow change the opinion of most Americans. That task seems much more difficult than the task of making higher education free.

    But if we could magically change the opinion of most people then funding higher education would be easy, and we'd know beforehand if it would work. Because if people were willing to pay higher taxes, then we'd first fund k-12. And if that went well then people would be naturally willing to pay taxes for higher education. (Well, this sounds good in writing, but really this is not a practical solution in any way, shape, or form.)

    Thus, the real question is: why should we prefer a system that enables only the wealthiest members of society to get a really great education at the expense of the least wealthiest members instead of a system that grants all members of society a decent education in general?

    Answer that.
    Hey this is actually pretty similar to the question I already posed.
    Quote Originally Posted by "The_Liquid_Laser"
    So the question is what is better: quality education or universal education?
    You seem to be suggesting that universal education is better than quality education. There is nothing wrong with that opinion, but I believe that if you really want decent, affordable education then you are better off leaving things alone and letting things take their natural course.

    Two-year community colleges offer decent quality education for the first two years and are very affordable. It's the last two years at a university that really cost, but I think that will work itself out in time. Either four year universities will wise up and lower costs, or (the more likely case) two year colleges will start to become four year universities but with a better cost structure, and the old model will disappear.
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  5. #25
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    I quite like the system here, it's called HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) or HELP (Higher Education Loan Program). The idea is the government pays your fees to your higher education provider, you study, eventually leave and start earning money and then once you hit a threshold (Approx $45k atm) you begin repaying your debt which is automatically deducted from your pay, the percentage you are required to pay per year is directly related to your annual income and is no more than 8%.

    Naturally foreigners are not eligible and must pay up front.

    From a student pov free study would be great, from a tax payer pov the individual getting the opportunity to study should pay, therefore the system here seems like the best of both worlds. Those who are studying are incurring a debt so frivolous study is not encouraged but the system is set up so if you never earn over the threshold the debt will never be collectable meaning low income earners do not end up in a worse position.

  6. #26
    Member IntrovertedThinker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Your solution seems to be that we should somehow change the opinion of most Americans. That task seems much more difficult than the task of making higher education free.
    Precisely. And it's sad that people are such stubborn, short-sighted monkies. Ideology definitely keeps people bounded and chained in America.

  7. #27
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    Here in Germany (or in my part of the country, since education falls into the domain of the federal states and must not be regulated on a national level) they introduced fees of 500 Euros/semester shortly after I graduated. These are to be used on top of government subsidies and are explicitely meant to be used for investments the universities couldn´t afford otherwise, not as a subsitute for government funding (needless to say they are used for that anyway).

    Germany has a lower percentage of university graduates than its neigbors, but since the number of students has increased dramatically compared to the 50s or 60s (when only an elite could go and basically had a good job guaranteed afterwards) and the basic structure has remained the same, our unis still can´t cope. The government´s solution was to introduce relatively small fees (which do keep some people away) and increase funding for a few select universities to create a German equivalent to an ivy league. But even this money is used selectively.

    I graduated from Heidelberg University. That´s one of the best in Europe for medicine and a few other disciplines, but most of the humanities are severely underfunded (including my own department - translation), all the extra money goes into a few "clusters of excellence" (a very fashionable concept around here).

    I consider education, including tertiary education, to be a civil right. On the other hand, there is a very strong link in my country between social background and education. In other words: The supermarket casheer pays taxes to finance the studies of the lawyer´s kids at a university his or her own kids will never enter.

    So if you want broad access to education, you would have to start with reducing the number of dropouts, invest more in teachers to get more and better educated highschool graduates to begin with, encourage upward mobility from one school type to another (another German specialty - we have different school types you go to depending on how slow or gifted you are) and then make sure nobody stays away from university for financial reasons (either tax financed, which has it´s disadvantages in its current form, or through easy government credits as they do in Australia plus a good system of scholarships, of which there are very few in Germany).

    Sorry for the long post, but this is a hot buttom issue were I live.
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  8. #28
    Yeah, I can fly. Aleksei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IntrovertedThinker View Post
    Should higher education be free?
    For science degrees, yes (with strict entry qualifications). For arts degrees, no.
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  9. #29
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    Irish people get free fees at third level here, which works out well for me. Although it meant I couldn't justify going to Paris to study French and if I get into Law and French I'll have to make do with a year there...definitely not complaining though, if free fees weren't in place I'd have no hope of being able to go to university in September. Apparently they're considering re-introducing fees but hopefully that won't happen for a while.

    Post graduate fees aren't paid by the government though.

  10. #30
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    I'd like to say two things to this.

    1) Do you think k-12 education is adequately funded? If not then why would university education be any different..
    Could it be possible to change the plan regarding management of government resources? That way, the government might find enough money to adequately fund the K-12 and university systems. You mentioned that tuition fees are growing in alarming rate, but is it truly necessary for tuition rates to continue increasing in order to maintain the same quality of education? If so, why?
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