Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tuition Fees

It looks like there will be an announcement soon on university tuition fees. My opinion is simple, as you might expect.

Let the universities charge whatever they like for a degree and they can compete with each other. Fund the students on a sliding scale from 100% of fees and say £5000 a year for the top 1% (based on both their GCSE and A Level results) sliding down steadily to nothing for anyone outside the top 20%.

The taxpayer wouldn't be wasting their money on people who shouldn't be at university and the students who should be there won't be leaving with huge debts.

17 comments:

Dack said...

Following on the football theme - will it mean the end of 'David Beckham Studies' at Staffordshire Uni?

I was banking 'The Phallus' degree course coming over from Occidental.

Anonymous said...

Frank,

That's a superb idea. It gets my vote.

Cynical

ColdWater said...

Can I point out a flaw in the argument:

Nowadays, everyone who writes their name at the top of the answer paper gets a A*. Even those who cannot write their own name at the top also get an A*, because they have a scribe to write it so that they are not 'disadvantaged'.

amigauser said...

yeah

lets return to how it use to be, when only then very wealthy got to go to university, whilst the rest rotted away in hell hole factories, with skills acquired on the job.
THAT system worked so well that the GERMAN industries was able to clean our clock.

I always feel its funny that people who went to university on the grant system, then think nothing of putting the next generation deeply in debt ( a bit new labour their FRANK).

By the way Frank, if students are deeply in debt, don't you think they will demand higher wages to help pay it off?
How high will your National Insurance go before it become worthwhile to just DIE?

Anonymous said...

"yeah, lets return to how it use to be, when only then very wealthy got to go to university"

Unfortunately, it is indeed the wealthy who will be in a position to entirely fill those top 1% of places with kids who've been nurtured through a private education to straight A*s and a tonne of extra-curricular experiences, while Joe and Joanne Average from Bog-Standard comprehensive who've worked their working class asses off to get their results will be pushed down the list.

Here's an idea: Take each kid's exam result, and divide it by the percentage of kids from that school who've done better than that in the last five years.
Dwayne and Shazza won't do very well, because their low score will be divided by a reasonably high number.
Tarquin and Araminta will of course get very good results, but since everyone else at St. Poshboys does, their actual score won't be that impressive.
Alan, at Bog Standard Comp, gets the best result the school has ever head and automatically goes to the head of the queue for Oxbridge, where he is joined by Jocasta, who, even by the standards of St. Poshgirls, is brilliant, and therefore also deserves her place.

Won't ever happen because it's Tarquin and Araminta's parents who are in charge, and we can't have that oik Alan queue jumping, can we?

Anonymous said...

German industries wiped the floor with us because they didn't have unions bringing their workers out on strike every 5 minutes.

Their productivity per worker was a third higher than ours in the 1980s.

Anonymous said...

And why can "Bog standard Comprehensives" not compete with private schools?

Dare I suggest that it might be the quality of teachers they recruit? ie ones that don't know enough about their subjects to teach pupils to get a top A Level grade.

After all if you got a 'D' yourself, then you're not going to be able to teach someone to get an 'A' are you?

ColdWater said...

I was the first person from my family who went to University (when Universities were just that and not "Uni").

Since then, I've been paying significantly more tax over the past 30 years than I would had I not gone to University.

I've paid back my £1800/year grant many times over. I think it was a good investment by the government of the day.

marc said...

"Here's an idea: Take each kid's exam result, and divide it by the percentage of kids from that school who've done better than that in the last five years.
Dwayne and Shazza won't do very well, because their low score will be divided by a reasonably high number.
Tarquin and Araminta will of course get very good results, but since everyone else at St. Poshboys does, their actual score won't be that impressive.
Alan, at Bog Standard Comp, gets the best result the school has ever head and automatically goes to the head of the queue for Oxbridge, where he is joined by Jocasta, who, even by the standards of St. Poshgirls, is brilliant, and therefore also deserves her place"

This would be quite funny because instead of people trying the get their kids into the best schools (but lying about addresses, etc.) they'd all be fighting to get them into the worst, roughest comp around just so they stand out. Of course if they do stand out they'll get a shoeing every day for 7 years but what the hey!

The artificial "50% of children should go to university" is a mistake. There were plenty of people I was at school with 15 years ago that shouldn't have gone to university, and there's probably more now.

MissBrodie said...

I hate the idea of kids not getting an education because they don't have the wherewithal to pay for it, but there is a downside to completely free university which is very evident where I live. Basically, what costs nothing and is pretty much available to everyone on a non selective basis, is not valued.

This is the case of French universities and indeed secondary education, but the later is a much more delicate issue. In France university places are so easy to come by that everybody goes along, regardless of their abilities and absence of long term objectives. The numbers are unmanageable, standards abysmal, and the drop out rate and cost to the tax payer are horrendous.

On the other hand a pupil who has had to fight to get the right grades, which certainly used to be the case in the UK, and has taken financial responsibility for at least some of his or her education, is more likely to choose the course carefully and finish it. If you have to pay back a debt you will not only make sure that you qualify, but that your qualification is saleable in the workplace.

The UK university system still seems to be a cut above most other European countries but it needs to be nurtured with well qualified students and a fair financial contribution!

Boy on a bike said...

University bubble about to burst?

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Sunday_Reflections/Higher-education_s-bubble-is-about-to-burst-95639354.html

Anonymous said...

Miss Brodie gets it in one 9about everything, not just education):

'Basically, what costs nothing and is pretty much available to everyone on a non selective basis, is not valued.'

Anonymous said...

Got it in one Frank!

I'm so pissed off meeting youngsters and / or their parents who are complain that they or their offspring have just spent three years at university, but can't get a job (you know what's coming next, don't you?):

"Hmm" Says yours truly; "So eh...what did you / your son / daughter take at university?"

The replies crack me up; "Music Journalism," "Media Studies," "American Studies," "Business Studies!"

"Hmmm. Do you think possibly the reason you or yours can't find employment (and is now saddled with £30,000 worth of debt at 21!) is because they wasted three years of their life studying a pointless, feckless degree? Not only is it not related to a vocation, it doesn't even educate you / yours in something worthwhile like a foreign language or English or a Sciene. Something that you can take into a job like teaching, or working for an airline or copywriting ect?

Saddly any prospective employer does what I just did; he looks at the CV's on his desk and selects the 21 year olds who can show three years of pratical work experience and a work ethic. Anyone who's just spent three years at uni partying under the umbrella of a micky mouse degree doesn't even get a look in!

Jono said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jono said...

Tuition fees are only having to go up because of Universities' self inflicted deficit.

For the last 20 years or so, almost every university in the country has expanded to unsustainable levels; a new building here, some extra admin staff there. They were complaining about the pinch before the recession, and now that the public purse strings are getting tighter, they're crowing even louder.

The structure of British higher education is flawed. It should be producing the graduates vital to the economy. It isn't, and that won't change until:

A) Government and universities stop quibbling about the standards of educaiton amongst school leavers, and actually get together to do something about it!

B) The funding system stops incentivising universities to close down hard subjects with lower intakes like chemistry and maths, replacing them with easy degrees with more potential students. Funding should be per-pupil, but vary between degrees.

C)More honesty and clarity brought into the sector. I.E. stop pretending that all institutions and degrees have equal educational and economic value. Publish yearly degree results (to check types of dergee taken, and grade inflation), follow up graduates at regular intervals (which ones are investment bankers and which ones are working in starbucks), and publish that information prominently in the UCAS literature. Lets get away from this nonsense ambiguous statistics that rate 'university experience' more prominently than research and teaching quality!

Only then can we have any kind of sanity in the funding system.

Neil80 said...

Your ideas sound like a recipe for inequality to me.

Tinkering with the system won't work. What we need is a radical reappraisal of education. Why three year degrees for every subject? Why only teach between September and June? Universities need to be more flexible, commercial and responsive to the market. In turn government needs to provide a degree of funding to ensure academic independence, fair access, and a to provide a more long-term strategic view.

The current system is inflexible and outdated. Changing funding won't resolve the issues.

Anonymous said...

I think that keying education to money is a mistake. Let's do it based on test scores. The most intelligent get to go on a free ticket, the less intelligent but hard-working get grants and loans, and everyone else can become a school-teacher.