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Is higher education worth the money students pay?

Is higher education worth the money students pay?

(9:56) Newsnight debate on student fees.

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Guest: Billy9283674 (95 days ago)

(In the UK) I had a basic education and could find a job very quickly. I then went and got a a Masters Degree in Law - Since that day (17 years ago) I have been out of work! I am "over-qualified" ; for all jobs. And for jobs according to my qualifications - They want youngsters - who just left school.

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(In the UK) I had a basic education and could find a job very quickly. I then went and got a a Masters Degree in Law - Since that day (17 years ago) I have been out of work! I am "over-qualified" ; for all jobs. And for jobs according to my qualifications - They want youngsters - who just left school.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (94 days ago)

I don't get the student loan system we have. It makes no sense.

Automation and AI will decimate jobs over the next few decades - so how will the Student Loans Company, a non-profit UK government owned company, be expected to balance the books? A graduate who earns less than a certain amount does not pay back their loan, so as UBI, or variation of, becomes the system we employ, which no doubt it will - most of those loans will never be repaid.

Put it this way - the tax payer funds student loans today, only to be sure that in a world with high unemployment (50%+ predicted by 2050), most of that money will never be repaid. It doesn't save tax payers money today, or in the future.

I like the graduate tax concept, that graduates pay a percentage of the income tax rate they are on. It would be a progressive tax - higher income tax rates having a higher graduate tax. This money would partly fund universities, the rest coming from the general tax pot.

Original comment

I don't get the student loan system we have. It makes no sense.

Automation and AI will decimate jobs over the next few decades - so how will the Student Loans Company, a non-profit UK government owned company, be expected to balance the books? A graduate who earns less than a certain amount does not pay back their loan, so as UBI, or variation of, becomes the system we employ, which no doubt it will - most of those loans will never be repaid.

Put it this way - the tax payer funds student loans today, only to be sure that in a world with high unemployment (50%+ predicted by 2050), most of that money will never be repaid. It doesn't save tax payers money today, or in the future.

I like the graduate tax concept, that graduates pay a percentage of the income tax rate they are on. It would be a progressive tax - higher income tax rates having a higher graduate tax. This money would partly fund universities, the rest coming from the general tax pot.

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COncernedCitizen COncernedCitizen (94 days ago)

Previously, the Boreme crowd has stated all education in the USA, public and private, should be free. That led me to believe it was already free in the UK but apparently it's not. Try practicing what you preach first.

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Previously, the Boreme crowd has stated all education in the USA, public and private, should be free. That led me to believe it was already free in the UK but apparently it's not. Try practicing what you preach first.

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WalterEgo WalterEgo (94 days ago)

Why would someone say education SHOULD be free if it already is? Anyway, this is about university education. School education in the UK is free (paid for from general taxation.)

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Why would someone say education SHOULD be free if it already is? Anyway, this is about university education. School education in the UK is free (paid for from general taxation.)

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COncernedCitizen COncernedCitizen (93 days ago)

All those discussions about Bernie and having higher education free led me to believe it was already free in the UK. Now that I know you have to pay there too, then you're the same as the USA. That is very enlightening.

13 years of school is 100% free in the USA too. Community college which is a public school offers degrees for very little money. It is only when you want to go to an expensive university like Harvard, Stanford, Dartmoth, and MIT that you will probably need to get a student loan.

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All those discussions about Bernie and having higher education free led me to believe it was already free in the UK. Now that I know you have to pay there too, then you're the same as the USA. That is very enlightening.

13 years of school is 100% free in the USA too. Community college which is a public school offers degrees for very little money. It is only when you want to go to an expensive university like Harvard, Stanford, Dartmoth, and MIT that you will probably need to get a student loan.

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Guest: (93 days ago)

I thought UK higher education seemed expensive (even though it's capped by the government), because I studied before the tuition fees came in.

I am stunned to see that the USA has no such caps which means places like Harvard are able to charge $60K for an undergraduate. Absolutely crazy. In the UK, it costs the same to attend a small new university as it does to go to Oxford so the only difference is entry grades, not cash. Seems so much fairer.

ConcernedCitizen always manages to teach me something awful about the USA that I wasn't already aware of.

Original comment

I thought UK higher education seemed expensive (even though it's capped by the government), because I studied before the tuition fees came in.

I am stunned to see that the USA has no such caps which means places like Harvard are able to charge $60K for an undergraduate. Absolutely crazy. In the UK, it costs the same to attend a small new university as it does to go to Oxford so the only difference is entry grades, not cash. Seems so much fairer.

ConcernedCitizen always manages to teach me something awful about the USA that I wasn't already aware of.

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COncernedCitizen COncernedCitizen (93 days ago)

We have choices in the USA. We can go to a relatively free school in our local community or we can pay out the nose to go to an expensive university. You can get your degree from either but one will cost you more than the other.

This is the same with almost every aspect in our lives. We can have a used cheap car or an expensive luxury vehicle. We can live in a mobile home or we can live in a mansion. These are all decisions we can make in our lives without the government dictating prices.

We also have private grade schools too. But those are not free to attend. You can send your children to a free one if you want or you can pay for a private school. It's your choice and the governement doesn't care which you pick.

Just get used to the idea that no matter what happens, there will always be a multi-tiered system. Better products and services available to the rich. If you provide free healthcare, the rich will still go to private doctors that are not paid by the government because they can afford it.

Original comment

We have choices in the USA. We can go to a relatively free school in our local community or we can pay out the nose to go to an expensive university. You can get your degree from either but one will cost you more than the other.

This is the same with almost every aspect in our lives. We can have a used cheap car or an expensive luxury vehicle. We can live in a mobile home or we can live in a mansion. These are all decisions we can make in our lives without the government dictating prices.

We also have private grade schools too. But those are not free to attend. You can send your children to a free one if you want or you can pay for a private school. It's your choice and the governement doesn't care which you pick.

Just get used to the idea that no matter what happens, there will always be a multi-tiered system. Better products and services available to the rich. If you provide free healthcare, the rich will still go to private doctors that are not paid by the government because they can afford it.

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Guest: (93 days ago)

You seem to have much less choice in the USA. I really had no idea. For example, if you're a genius from a deprived background, you basically have no choice to get into Harvard. Your choices for your education are dictated by your family's wallet. The fact you're comparing education to buying cars and homes shows how commercialised it must be these days.

In the UK, if you can afford to get into any university at all, you can afford to go to the very best. It is purely down to your grades. Now THAT is what you call a choice!

I still think the capped tuition fees in the UK are too much, but thanks to what you have shown me I now realise how much worse things could be. We Brits ought to count our blessings.

Original comment

You seem to have much less choice in the USA. I really had no idea. For example, if you're a genius from a deprived background, you basically have no choice to get into Harvard. Your choices for your education are dictated by your family's wallet. The fact you're comparing education to buying cars and homes shows how commercialised it must be these days.

In the UK, if you can afford to get into any university at all, you can afford to go to the very best. It is purely down to your grades. Now THAT is what you call a choice!

I still think the capped tuition fees in the UK are too much, but thanks to what you have shown me I now realise how much worse things could be. We Brits ought to count our blessings.

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COncernedCitizen COncernedCitizen (92 days ago)

The admissions process for schools like Harvard use many criteria besides grades. They can use extra curricular activities, your volunteer time in the community, your admission letter, minority status, athletic ability, etc. If you are that genius that you mention, Harvard will probably invite you to attend by giving you a scholarship so you don't have to pay a penny. There are also grants that are given to brilliant students that don't have the money.

Original comment

The admissions process for schools like Harvard use many criteria besides grades. They can use extra curricular activities, your volunteer time in the community, your admission letter, minority status, athletic ability, etc. If you are that genius that you mention, Harvard will probably invite you to attend by giving you a scholarship so you don't have to pay a penny. There are also grants that are given to brilliant students that don't have the money.

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Guest: (92 days ago)

You're missing the point. Like any university, Harvard can have varied entry requirements, but if a course costs $60K then the most important criteria is being wealthy or lucky. Sure, like any country there are grants and scholarships available for the lucky few but those rarely cover the full cost and it hardly makes it a level playing field. Then there's the problem of the squeezed middle, whereby capital 'rich' but cash poor families may be just above the threshold so it doesn't matter how gifted their child is, most of them won't get a cent towards their education because most scholarships and grants are finance-based rather than merit-based. I found an interesting Time article about the most generous colleges and it's a sobering read. The more I learn about your system, the more I realise how fortune we Brits are. Here, higher education isn't a commercial commodity... yet.

Original comment

You're missing the point. Like any university, Harvard can have varied entry requirements, but if a course costs $60K then the most important criteria is being wealthy or lucky. Sure, like any country there are grants and scholarships available for the lucky few but those rarely cover the full cost and it hardly makes it a level playing field. Then there's the problem of the squeezed middle, whereby capital 'rich' but cash poor families may be just above the threshold so it doesn't matter how gifted their child is, most of them won't get a cent towards their education because most scholarships and grants are finance-based rather than merit-based. I found an interesting Time article about the most generous colleges and it's a sobering read. The more I learn about your system, the more I realise how fortune we Brits are. Here, higher education isn't a commercial commodity... yet.

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COncernedCitizen COncernedCitizen (91 days ago)

"Harvard can have varied entry requirements, but if a course costs $60K then the most important criteria is being wealthy or lucky." I think you missed a major point in my comment about scholarships to those that have athletic skills, geniuses, and minorities. Those have nothing to do with being wealthy or lucky (except maybe you can consider being born a minority a form of luck).

"like any country there are grants and scholarships available for the lucky few but those rarely cover the full cost" Maybe for some people but there are scholarships and grants that do cover 100% of the costs. I personally know several people who got their education free from scholarships because of their genius. Even paid for their room and board and had cash given for food and other expenses.

Original comment

"Harvard can have varied entry requirements, but if a course costs $60K then the most important criteria is being wealthy or lucky." I think you missed a major point in my comment about scholarships to those that have athletic skills, geniuses, and minorities. Those have nothing to do with being wealthy or lucky (except maybe you can consider being born a minority a form of luck).

"like any country there are grants and scholarships available for the lucky few but those rarely cover the full cost" Maybe for some people but there are scholarships and grants that do cover 100% of the costs. I personally know several people who got their education free from scholarships because of their genius. Even paid for their room and board and had cash given for food and other expenses.

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Guest: (91 days ago)
Latest comment:

Getting a scholarship is of course partly down to luck because there is so much competition, and you're not eligible for everything. There aren't enough to go round, and barely any of them cover the cost, even if you're lucky enough to get them. Time reported that the "average college provides only enough scholarships or grants to meet 70% of what low- and moderate-income students need to pay the bills". The Washington Post says it's even worse; "Of the students enrolled full time at four-year colleges in the 2007-08 school year, only 0.3 percent received enough money to cover the full cost of attendance". There is no guaranteed financial support, nor is there a cap on what colleges can charge. That's pretty shocking. As you said, accessing a decent education in the US is like buying a car.

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Latest comment:

Getting a scholarship is of course partly down to luck because there is so much competition, and you're not eligible for everything. There aren't enough to go round, and barely any of them cover the cost, even if you're lucky enough to get them. Time reported that the "average college provides only enough scholarships or grants to meet 70% of what low- and moderate-income students need to pay the bills". The Washington Post says it's even worse; "Of the students enrolled full time at four-year colleges in the 2007-08 school year, only 0.3 percent received enough money to cover the full cost of attendance". There is no guaranteed financial support, nor is there a cap on what colleges can charge. That's pretty shocking. As you said, accessing a decent education in the US is like buying a car.

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Guest: (94 days ago)

Always astonishing to see another topic that ConcernedCitizen doesn't understand. Does he live under a rock?

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Always astonishing to see another topic that ConcernedCitizen doesn't understand. Does he live under a rock?

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