Thursday, May 22, 2003

Am I the only student in the country to give at least qualified support to the Government's plans to increase tuition fees for universities? Students are being extremely selfish if they want to keep the current system, or even go back to the old one, for two reasons: Governments will never give enough money to universities ("enough money" meaning market prices), thereby decreasing their standards; and a marketplace in courses can't exist, as there are no market pressures (or at least, market pressures are extremely indirect at best) for new courses or for the scrapping of unpopular ones. Moreover, as shown in a new report (which can be found here) a degree is a very cost-effective investment over one's lifetime. I never ever thought I'd quote Margaret Hodge, the higher education minister (a political hack if ever I saw one) with praise, but she's absolutely right when she says: "The wool has been pulled over peoples eyes for too long. "By asking everyone to pay the same tuition fee regardless of the university they go to we have been implying the benefits of every university are the same. They are not. "By enabling universities to charge differential fees, we are lifting the wool from people's eyes, recognising difference, diversity and the premium that some universities can give you over others. "This is an economic justification for allowing some universities to charge more than others. "If potential students thought and acted rationally, then they would be willing to invest more in universities that offered them a better return on their investment." Praise be, a minister talking sense! More please. Maybe I should start a petition called A good way to show the world not all students are either misguided ideologues or selfish money-suckers, methinks.


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