One Thought To Start Your Day
If I could ban one word from higher education discussions, it’s “affordability”. It’s a word without precision, and, particularly when used as a synonym for “accessibility”, it’s downright misleading and harmful.
The worst is when someone uses the raw price of a good – in this case tuition – to indicate “affordability”; as in: “tuition went up 5% last year, and that makes it less affordable”. This is simply asinine. When the price of milk or gas goes up, we … [ Read More ]
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) turns 20 early next year (January or June, depending on what you take as a founding date). But since the real founding events actually happened the previous November, I thought it would be worth offering some thoughts on it now.
Until the early 1990s, there had never been more than one national student association. There was a National Federation of Canadian University Students dating from the 30s; this eventually became the Canadian Union … [ Read More ]
There’s a line I hear every once in awhile from profs (mainly, but not exclusively, in the humanities) saying something to the effect of: their job is not to prepare students for the world of work; rather, they want to prepare students’ minds to be critical thinkers or better citizens, or something like that. Actually, it’s usually phrased less delicately, like: “I’m not preparing kids to be cannon fodder for the knowledge economy”; “I don’t give a damn what employers think, I … [ Read More ]
Back in our spring (their fall), the Government of Australia announced a new university funding policy, which consisted of:
Cutting per-student public funding by about 20%; but, Subsequently allowing funding to rise along with enrolments (this is known in Australia as “demand-driven funding”); Simultaneously de-regulating all tuition; and, Allowing the interest rate on student loans to rise from equal to inflation to equal to the government’s 10-year bond rate (i.e. actually placing a real interest rate on the loan).
Understandably, students … [ Read More ]
In 2012, the UK government allowed tuition in English universities to rise from a little over £3,300 to ($5,500) to about £9,000 ($15,300) in a single year. Well, technically, they de-regulated tuition up to a maximum of £9,000, but since charging less than the maximum would obviously imply that programs weren’t top-quality, pretty much everyone went to the maximum immediately. Actual average tuition jumped to about £8,600 ($14,620).
So, of course, we’ve all been wondering what the effects of this would be. … [ Read More ]