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Higher education market competition not working, says OCA Chief Exec thumb

Higher education market competition not working, says OCA Chief Exec

In a blog post published today by the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA), OCA Chief Executive Gareth Dent argues that if Higher Education Minister David Willetts had remembered his basic economics from his own days at university, he would have been able to predict that the majority of universities would set their fees at the maximum level of £9,000 a year.
The RSA aims to bring ‘new ideas and urgent and provocative debates to mass audience’. Read the full post and add your opinion at http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/2011/06/21/higher-education-dismal-equilibrium/.


Posted by author: Elizabeth Underwood
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6 thoughts on “Higher education market competition not working, says OCA Chief Exec

  • It seems clear to me that where services impact on the health and well being of society it’s not to the long term benefit of the economy to place your faith in commoditizing them and letting the market decide, driven as it is by short termism.
    It’s a dogmatic adherence to an inherited shibboleth, a default position with no intellectual bottom, only vested interest.

  • It seems to me that the ‘upgrading’ of the Polytechnics to University status was the first blunder. The change of status required the new institutions to undertake research instead of concentrating on teaching per se. As a result there have been some quite spurious topics for research. The costs of this have escalated the fees that students have to pay to gain a first degree.
    It is only logical that the high numbers of students at University involves a cost that cannot be sustained by society as a whole as in the past when the numbers were in the low percentages. The comparison with the USA shows that fees are not out of proportion. The figures of students from abroad shows that the world holds British education is held in high esteem. It is now being realised that the fees are not to be paid up front and it are in fact a graduate tax on the successful graduates which is set at a fair and reasonable level.
    Thus the present situation is rooted in the past expansion of inapropriate institutions, and is not as dire as put forward by the popularist press.

  • As I understand it, Universities do not (or are not supposed to) use Tuition Fees to fund Research. If my understanding is correct then the point about Polytechnics is incorrect and we should not expect tuition fees to escalate as a result of Polytechnics upgrading to Universities.
    What we need is greater transparency regarding what it actually costs to deliver University tuition. My son receives approximately 350 hours of contact time per academic year (a lot more than some). He shares this tuition with approx 100 other students. At £9000 per year the University is receiving just short of 1 million pounds for 350 hours work. That is, a one hour lecture costs £2500.
    I am not sure what University lecturers get paid, but I am fairly sure that it is a lot less than £2500 per hour.
    Where is the money going?

  • Re fees
    My son has just finished his degree in his fianl year he recieved one hour of tuition per week!
    I consider this POOR value for money.
    Also universitiies need to get their collective heads around the fact that students are infact paying customers all beit for some postponed until they begin earning However for students who have to pay up front it is cob smackingly amazing the lack of teaching and support Some univeristies offer to students.
    With the increase in fees I personally think students need to have a greater voice in what they recieve for their or OUR/taxpayers money. And so should the taxpayer I think education should be availbale to all and the current fee levels are not going to enable some students who are capable of achieving to attend this is a great shame and it will lead to a brain drain as students go abraod to study and probaley wont come back again.
    lets face it the fees wont ever be reduced again we are now stuck with this system doesnt take a university education to see its a mistake.

  • I agree nobody likes tuition hikes, I’ve had to leave courses because of unaffordable tuition. Tuition rates in both the United States and Canada (where I live) are extremely high. I try to keep in mind that tuition does not just cover the costs of teaching the course, but it’s split up into helping fund the university programs and staff. Besides utilities other expenses for universities and colleges are: the registration department, the advertising department, human resources department, student counselling department, general administration department, parking services department, and security departments, all academic departments and faculties, just to name a few. Each of these departments of course contain full time staff, which in all honesty have to be paid fair livable wages. Its not uncommon for bigger universities to have anywhere from 100 to 1000 or more employees. Also many universities and colleges run various campuses within larger cities. A large amount of funds can be consumed from computing services, which keeps the entire university and all of its students and departments online. Creating and implementing computer programs and resources of this nature can cost up to $1000000. Then finally we get to the professors, which there are often many for each department whose salaries start at around $60000 on up depending on their education, experience, and department. In addition there are numerous fees universities and colleges must pay to keep current with education needs in the form of conferences and training for each department. Regulations and requirements can change for being a degree granting institution meaning you must maintain a certain standard for facilities such as dorms and gyms, to libraries and archives, this means renovation costs. This example of expenses would be typical of a larger Canadian University or College, incomplete though it is, but I imagine similar issues apply to smaller institutions as well. I agree I hate to see tuition rates rise, and I am not saying I agree with tuition hikes, but these are some other factors to consider when discussing tuition rates. However, I still agree with the need for affordable tuition, but just thought I would mention these things for consideration.

  • “we get to the professors (lecturers in British universities) , which there are often many for each department whose salaries start at around $60000″….how I wish 🙁

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