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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Uk university tuition costs to hit £36,000



As if it wasn't bad enough that there are proposals to reduce UK degrees from 3 to 2 years, that there is a shortfall of government funding to the tune of more than 30% over the current government's term in office, and that the quality of education is suffering with large intakes of foreign, mostly Chinese, students with the concomitant drop in standards.

Now we find that the costs of UK degrees are set to spiral out of control to the tune of £36,000 for a typical three-year degree course!!

"Virtually all taxpayer funding will be removed from the majority of degrees and students will have to borrow tens of thousands of pounds to cover the doubled cost of courses. Universities will have to charge at least £7,000 a year to cover the loss of central government funding and some elite degrees are expected to cost up to £12,000 a year."

These are understood to be the key findings from a long-awaited review of university funding conducted by Lord Browne, the former head of BP. But you have to ask yourself why anyone would send their kids to a uni in the UK any more when there are far more attractive options elsewhere in the European union?

I predict a mass exodus of undergraduates spreading their money around the European union and it will hurt the UK economy even more at a time when every pound is need domestically to be spent at home! Again this is just another example where the UK government is displaying remarkable shortsightedness(a recurrent theme on this blog if you wish to read more on this topic).

7 comments:

Robert said...

As a person who is STILL paying off his student loans, I say "here, here!"
The higher education system in the U.S. has a similar problem in that most for-profit universities are shortening their degree programs to run through what amounts to a McDonald's-like diploma mill. It is not at all unusual for a student to go from a high-school education to a master's in around three to four years. These programs are notoriously easy to get into. One only needs only to present previous education records, i.e., U.S. high school or previous college. It does not matter much what the grades were. There is no prerequisite entrance exam. This does not bode well for the rigors of academic institutions such as public institutions.
The other side of this issue is cost. Tuition at these so-called universities is up to four times as much as the public universities. You want a loan to pay for your education? No problem! Just sign on the dotted line! However, when it comes time to pay the now exorbitant loan, you cannot afford the payments because there are no jobs available to cover your payments. This is one of the reasons why for-profit universities have the highest default rate of all types of universities (public, private, and for-profit). According to a U.S. Department of Education article, "students at for-profit schools represented 26 percent of the borrower population and 43 percent of all defaulters".
Department of Ed link The biggest for-profit college, University of Phoenix, has gotten much of the heat for this issue, and now has a class-action lawsuit against them as seen here: News link
I understand that the free economy allows for such institutions to exist. I also concede that some of these schools are legitimate institutions that have the interests of the students in mind. However, what I cannot stomach is the fact that many for-profit universities are taking money from the U.S. government in the form of loans, and leaving the students high and dry - undereducated, underpayed, and sometimes worse off from where they started.

Urban Crazy Man said...

Yeah, I hear you Robert. It's all indicative of a political climate, post Credit Crunch, where social spending projects are nosediving and/or becoming largely otiose.

There are two arguments here. The first is that these cuts on social projects (housing for the poor, hospitals, education et al) are simply necessary to plug a huge whole in the economies of those nations who were hardest hit: in France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece etc. Put quite simply, the money has been taken out of the system and therefore there's no other choice but to cut back on spending. Period.

The second argument, and it has a pedigree of sorts in Naomi Klein, is that this is no accident and in fact was all planned in meetings like the G20 etc., by our dear world leaders, with the specific aim of ensuring domestic economies be run more businesses e.g. oriented to be more in line with Monetarist policies. In other words, a decision has been made at the global political as well as economic level, by the world's elite that the world cannot any longer afford non-business related policies that do not in themselves generate wealth. What results is capitalism gone mad!

Naomi Klein has already said this was coming in her amazing book - "The Shock Doctrine". She cites in the USA, the huge increase in charter schools which are privately run nowadays in poorer states like Florida, post Hurricane Katrina, relieving the federal government of the need to pump millions of dollars into an already underfunded education system and removing the local government's responsibility to educate the local populace.

When the criteria for whether a young child receives an education or not is based on market forces or "pure market economics" (whether there is money available or not)as opposed to "free education for all" (regardless of how much money is actually available) there is a serious problem to deal with. The same problem happens when patients are denied beds on economic as opposed to medical needs. Hospitals do not work well when they are run purely as business models.

It's a sad and scary thought, but there appears to be well-thought out plans afoot to dumb down the electorate even further and produce an electorate that has no education and cannot therefore challenge the status quo. This leaves the politicians to run riot even more than they already do.

This is another reason why I hate politicians!

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