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#31 Latecomer

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 08:54 PM

Graduate tax....those who benefit from degree pay more money than those who don't. Doesn't depend on parents wealth. It isn't a "stealth graduate tax that can be avoided by rich people whose parents pay the fees up front". Bite the bullet.
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#32 igb

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:21 PM

View PostLatecomer, on 25 October 2012 - 08:54 PM, said:

Graduate tax....those who benefit from degree pay more money than those who don't. Doesn't depend on parents wealth. It isn't a "stealth graduate tax that can be avoided by rich people whose parents pay the fees up front".

Yes, it is, and trivially: parents could simply pay the international student rate, which isn't substantially higher than 9K plus a modicum of interest and is massively less than the school fees such parents are paying already.  International rate is between 13K and 20K in most universities, which is less than most HMC boarding schools charge.   It's hard to imagine how you could draft legislation which would forbid people, not in receipt of any state aid, from paying a UK university the going rate for a service they charge out at that price to non-UK citizens.  Indeed, one hears rumours of rich parents already doing this to secure places for students who have missed their grades for HEFCE-funded places, but nonetheless have grades good enough to convince an admission tutor to cut them a place out of the unsubsidised (and therefore infinitely expansible) pool of international places.  There's no rule that says that international students can't be British citizens.

And an industry would grow up making private loans, possibly secured on the parents' house, to people to fund this scheme, as for those that want to gamble on being well paid --- prospective doctors, lawyers, economists, etc --- it would make sense to borrow £75K at commercial rates rather than  be saddled with, say, an extra 6% on income tax for life.  Parents who might not simply cough up £75K would nonetheless be willing to guarantee it, with quite a low chance of being called on it.

And of course, this would also massively accelerate the process of people doing degrees overseas, which is a double whammy: people who qualify abroad tend to stay abroad (brain drain), and the numbers in, particularly, mid-range UK universities (ie, the Russell Group) would be hit quite badly.  Going to eastern Europe to study medicine is already quite popular in some communities in the UK, and HMC schools are sending significant numbers of students of Ivys and public Ivys in the US, and that's before we consider the number of Dutch, German and Italian universities very keen to deliver high-quality courses in English so as to access not only the British, but also the Chinese and Indian markets.  Maybe Oxford and Cambridge are unique enough that this process wouldn't affect them: precious few other UK universities are.

#33 Matthew Winn

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 09:32 PM

View Postigb, on 25 October 2012 - 08:24 PM, said:

The Robbins principle is, to me, sacred: higher education (in fact, education in general) "should be available to all who [are] qualified for [it] by ability and attainment".

I kind of disagree with that, in that although I don't think education should be rationed I do think we need to get away from the attitude that learning is something so incredibly difficult that the only way you can acquire knowledge is by paying large sums of money to have someone dispense it to you.

In my line of work (software design and development) people who have been to university generally get paid more, but they aren't actually any better or any more valuable. Once someone gets into the workplace what really matters is intelligence and an ability to learn on their own. The very best people are self-motivated learners: the problem-solvers who can find things out for themselves rather than have someone pass the knowledge to them; the ones who can create knowledge rather than ask for it. I've worked with some brilliant graduates and non-graduates, and with some worthless graduates and non-graduates. The best people are those who, regardless of whether they had education, don't actually need it. The worst people are those who can't do anything without waiting to be taught. When I'm working with someone I don't care what they've been taught. I'm only interested in what they can figure out. You can't teach resourcefulness, initiative, adaptability, intelligence and creativity, and those are the things that matter.

And I think that goes for most professions. The workplace is a completely different environment from university, and it often turns out that people can excel in one and be dismal failures in the other. For most things an apprenticeship is actually a better way of learning than full-time education: it teaches you everything you need to know, you get paid while you do it, and it's clear from the start whether you're any good at what you're doing.

If you want to learn you can learn without having to spend a fortune. You can learn to enhance your value as an employee or just for the sheer enjoyment of understanding the world. But in my experience you don't need to be taught in order to learn, and I find it rather saddening that this seems to be an unpopular point of view.
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#34 igb

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:01 AM

For what it's worth, my calculations are off: I used "6% of income over £21000" as the repayment schedule, but it is in fact 9%.  However, the basic thrust remains the same: the cost to the student of taking all available loans, rather than minimising them in some sense, is the same unless they will have an average income through their career of about £40K or more (in constant-value, rather than nominal, pounds).  My spreadsheet, which I suspect the funding bodies don't want to make too easy to replicate, shows that the cheapest thing to do is to take the maximum loans.

#35 Latecomer

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 09:00 AM

Daughter said to me...."I can do a three year physics degree BSc or a better four year physics degree and come out with an MSc. There's no reason not to do the four year course as the last year will basically be free". She is now in first term of four year degree....
B)




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