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Costs of going to University

 
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Rach
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:19 pm    Post subject: Costs of going to University Reply with quote

I just found this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11507537

What do you think? How should we fund going to university - graduate tax, higher tuition fees or can you see another way of doing it?
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prolly no easy way to do it, but...

I liked the suggestion here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11285021



Variable rates on different courses. It seemed the fairest to me. Just upsets the Lib Dem side of things of the coalition government.

I'm not sure how else you could do it and remain fair :S
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most education systems are fat on the administration end of the spectrum. Plus the real teachers at the uni level are overpaid (in the US anyway). But yeah, those who are paid and don't contribute to the education of a single student can find other real work IMHO.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

minty there are still problems with the variable fees scheme. Which courses do you make more expensive - the ones which need more resources, like sciences which use up more resources (ie chemistry etc need labs and chemicals, which get expensive, and also tend to be 9-5 every day, so need more lecturer time) - but if you make these courses more expensive than the perceived 'doss' subjects (arts, media studies etc, which tend to take up less resources, needing only a lecture space, and take up fewer teaching hours), how many people do you think will opt for a more expensive course which would be harder work and probably results in a lower grade than if you had taken a cheaper, less intensive course?

Also, if universities can charge what they think they can get away with, only upper class, rich people will get into Oxbridge, the middle classes may be able to afford Russel group universities, but you are abandoning students from poorer families to the ex-polytechnics (for example in Lincoln you have 2 universities - the Uni of Lincoln [the main one, which has a respectable reputation] and Bishop Grossteste [the ex-poly, which is less well respected] - if both could charge what they thought they could get away with, I may be able to afford to continue at the Uni of Lincoln, but someone from a poorer family would only be able to afford to go to Bishop Grot). Allowing universities to charge what they like will just bias the system towards the rich again - undoing all the hard work of the past 2-3 generations on opening up universities to everyone based on merit rather than money.

Sorry about the rant - its something I feel really strongly about.

I am not sure how else we can deal with it. The graduate tax might work - as it is based on how much you have benefitted financially from your time at university, if it was economically 'worth' you going in the first place. The richer your time at university makes you, the more you give back to the system that put you where you are today.

However they work it, I will be in so much debt when I leave uni: I have already done a BA, I am now doing a 1 year Graduate Diploma course (as I am changing subject fairly drastically, and I have to do this to catch up to people who have done my new subject, Conservation of Historic Objects, as undergraduates - there are a lot of skills I have to learn before I can cope on a masters), then next year I will do a Masters (you are unemployable with only the Grad Dip. All this to go into an area of work that will never make me very rich (especially with all the cutbacks in government spending on museums and other heritage institutions). Its a labour of love really, its something I really want to do, and to do it I need to spend all of these years at University, so I have to pay. What I don't understand is all these people who come to uni, do a subject they don't even enjoy, not make use of their time there and not make any use of their uni education after they have graduated - why pay that much for something you aren't that passionate about?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rach wrote:

minty there are still problems with the variable fees scheme. Which courses do you make more expensive - the ones which need more resources, like sciences which use up more resources (ie chemistry etc need labs and chemicals, which get expensive, and also tend to be 9-5 every day, so need more lecturer time) -


TBH i'm not sure. Though I wouldn't believe you'd have static pricing. You may need or want ( !!! ) to bolster interest in one underpopulated subject one time and try to limit entries on another.

This unfortunately then does become a 'education for those who can pay, not neccessarily those who are most capable'. I would like to see an 'education for all' system still.

Rach wrote:

but if you make these courses more expensive than the perceived 'doss' subjects (arts, media studies etc, which tend to take up less resources, needing only a lecture space, and take up fewer teaching hours), how many people do you think will opt for a more expensive course which would be harder work and probably results in a lower grade than if you had taken a cheaper, less intensive course?


Doesn't this happen anyway? - I think there has been various reports coming out for a while that as a country on the whole we are facing a shortage of chemists. As far too many students have been opting for 'easy' subjects.

Another one was a lack of physicists, and that this lack of 2 disciplines would seriously hamper our ability as a country as a whole to compete with others for the future.

Rach wrote:

Sorry about the rant - its something I feel really strongly about.


No need to apologise for saying something you believe in.


Rach wrote:

I am not sure how else we can deal with it. The graduate tax might work - as it is based on how much you have benefitted financially from your time at university, if it was economically 'worth' you going in the first place. The richer your time at university makes you, the more you give back to the system that put you where you are today.


Which sounds quite good, so long as it doesn't become a sort of income tax ( income tax was, I believe set up to fight a war with the French... I take it we're still at war with them )

You get given a figure perhaps, a number based on your agreed salary over X years? - at least then you can both see where it'll end. I imagine it'd run a bit like a mortgage at least in terms of been given balance updates.

Scottish students don't appear to pay anything.

http://www.external.stir.ac.uk/undergrad/financial_info/scottish/tuition_fees.php

That is paid for by the 'Student Awards Agency for Scotland' or SAAS it would seem. Whether that money comes from the Barnett Formula or not I am unsure as education from a state spending point of view could involve compulsory education.
This does open up a whole other can of worms however.

Rach wrote:

However they work it, I will be in so much debt when I leave uni:


No one is expecting you to pay it all off in one go. When you buy a brand new car for example, you're in debt to the finance company for the price of the car you've bought. When you buy a house, you're in debt to whoever you take your mortgage out to.
One day, these will all end, I agree it's not pleasant having it hang over your head, but over the passage of time that debt will soon dimish.


Rach wrote:

I have already done a BA, I am now doing a 1 year Graduate Diploma course (as I am changing subject fairly drastically, and I have to do this to catch up to people who have done my new subject, Conservation of Historic Objects, as undergraduates - there are a lot of skills I have to learn before I can cope on a masters), then next year I will do a Masters (you are unemployable with only the Grad Dip. All this to go into an area of work that will never make me very rich (especially with all the cutbacks in government spending on museums and other heritage institutions). Its a labour of love really, its something I really want to do, and to do it I need to spend all of these years at University, so I have to pay.


My sister changed her course quite drastically as well. She was studying to be a teacher then decided she'd like to be a nurse instead.
It's good that you've found something that you enjoy, and changing courses is perhaps quite common, what's best about this is that you've realised what makes you happy and you're doing this for those reasons. You will give so much more to your chosen subject without even realising it. As opposed to staggering and lurching from one day to the next, only doing things because this is what you felt you've chosen.

Rach wrote:

What I don't understand is all these people who come to uni, do a subject they don't even enjoy, not make use of their time there and not make any use of their uni education after they have graduated - why pay that much for something you aren't that passionate about?


I do have a response to this bit as well, but i'm at work and run out of time, at the moment my response is too random and picks on people who lacked interest in their surroundings too much.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know there are too few people opting for science courses, and too many on 'media studies' type courses. However, unfortunately the courses which require more resources tend to be those less popular (ie sciences - less popular perhaps because they are full time 9-5 courses, which is a lot more than arts courses, when you consider most arts courses give you 2hours a week per module, sometimes you are only doing 3 x 20credit modules a semester, so 6 hours a week). So it means that introducing a financial incentive to take a less demanding (and therefore less expensive - requiring less paid lecturere, as it requires less lecture times, and also less resources in terms of lab spaces and chemicals etc) course will only exacerbate the current trend until we have no scientists and several thousand graduates with 2.1s in 'Media Studies' or other such things competing for a small number of jobs - then very few people will be able to pay off the fees they owe anyway.

I know I don't have to pay it all off at once, I just hate having this (ever increasing) number hanging over my head. I am never likely to get rich doing this job, so I am not going to pay it off quickly. And of course, the longer it takes me to pay it off, the more interest they are charging me on it - I started getting student loan in 2007 (and haven't had maintenance loan for last year or this year), and the interest alone is already considerable :S

Try being a postgraduate student - I have to pay the fees (luckily for me this year is priced as if it were a 3rd year undergraduate, so in the region of 3,200, but once you proceed to Masters level you are lucky if it doesn't more than double!) and we can't even apply for student loan :S We have to pay the fees and our living expenses, and if doing the course full time, we can't have a job (or get unemployment benefit). Even if doubling the fees doesn't stop thousands of people wasting 1000s of pounds and 3 years of their life on a degree they wont even use afterwards, it will completely kill off postgraduate study (if they increase the fees anymore, it will be cheaper to study abroad, at 'international student' rates).
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rach wrote:

I know there are too few people opting for science courses, and too many on 'media studies' type courses. However, unfortunately the courses which require more resources tend to be those less popular (ie sciences - less popular perhaps because they are full time 9-5 courses, which is a lot more than arts courses, when you consider most arts courses give you 2hours a week per module, sometimes you are only doing 3 x 20credit modules a semester, so 6 hours a week). So it means that introducing a financial incentive to take a less demanding (and therefore less expensive - requiring less paid lecturere, as it requires less lecture times, and also less resources in terms of lab spaces and chemicals etc) course will only exacerbate the current trend until we have no scientists and several thousand graduates with 2.1s in 'Media Studies' or other such things competing for a small number of jobs - then very few people will be able to pay off the fees they owe anyway.


Yes, I fully agree with you in the problem and what the implications of this is. My thoughts were slightly different though regards the fees you'd charge. Whether it'd work or not I don't know, I never went as far as university I know I just wanted to start working and getting paid as a lot of the stuff I wanted to do then needed money to achieve.

Anyway... You (for the example in this post! ) study at a University which offers both science and a degree in David Beckham ( I kid you not )

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/694451.stm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Mouse_degrees

Or if you want the know about Lady Gaga...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11672679

Unfortunatley, everyone wants to study the degree in David Beckham and not enough people to study science.

Marketing forces would say that the price of a science course would fall and the price of learning about David Beckham's hair cut would rise.

This would result in a surplus of cash on the Beckham degree, which would be moved over to fund the science degree.

You are right in that the science course would cost the most compared to the Beckham course, and if the income from one course was fixed to just that course you would still have this problem, but behind the scenes you'd not do that of course.

Governments do it with taxes ( road tax does not just go on the upkeep of roads for example, you want to drive something less economical, pay extortionate amounts for the priveledge it doesn't make any difference if you're in a Yaris or a Mitsubishi Evo X FQ 400 the cost isn't higher to the road because you're in a different type of car )

But not knowing the structure of pricing for courses I can't say 'this might work' as I don't know - i'm merely putting forward my thoughts with other examples how this happens elsewhere and reading what the feedback is.


Rach wrote:

I know I don't have to pay it all off at once, I just hate having this (ever increasing) number hanging over my head. I am never likely to get rich doing this job, so I am not going to pay it off quickly. And of course, the longer it takes me to pay it off, the more interest they are charging me on it - I started getting student loan in 2007 (and haven't had maintenance loan for last year or this year), and the interest alone is already considerable :S


I think that was the thought that pushed me off going to uni myself. I was told that I was more than capable of doing a degree when I did look into it but, like you this number was clicking around like an analogue tripometer and wouldn't stop.

If Scotland don't pay any fees it can be done, but I wonder where the money comes from instead.

Rach wrote:

Try being a postgraduate student - I have to pay the fees (luckily for me this year is priced as if it were a 3rd year undergraduate, so in the region of 3,200, but once you proceed to Masters level you are lucky if it doesn't more than double!) and we can't even apply for student loan :S


I never meant to suggest it's not hard, nor did I ever mean to come in here pretending I know better.
It's a big topic and has even got someone who's name I can't remember but he's got some pompous title so he's probably relatively important in some goverment drinks cabinet.

Though like you say this is a topic that you feel strongly about for obvious reasons and I do recognise that Smile

Rach wrote:

We have to pay the fees and our living expenses, and if doing the course full time, we can't have a job (or get unemployment benefit). Even if doubling the fees doesn't stop thousands of people wasting 1000s of pounds and 3 years of their life on a degree they wont even use afterwards, it will completely kill off postgraduate study (if they increase the fees anymore, it will be cheaper to study abroad, at 'international student' rates).


The moment that happens people higher up the food chain will notice the 'brain drain' and do something drastic to stop it. Universities need people like you as much as you need them. Without you, they are nothing. People lose jobs ( no universities there ) no one wants to lose their job if they can help it.

The moment a critical mass of people studying abroad happens ... well it might be too late, as projections would show what will happen. It wasn't long ago I remember Australia was trying to pinch our nurses. You get nurses studying in Aus and what's the chance they'll come home after?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I haven't posted her earlier. As a graduate, this is a subject I too feel strongly about.

What annoys me is that the politicans - who introduced tuitition fees - got their degrees (if they have them) free of charge and if they had of paid - most are from priviledged backgrounds so would have been able to afford to pay anyway!

The Labour government (again, the ones who introduced the fees) are supposedly socialist - e.g. they believe we are all equal and money shouldn't be a factor in success!

Why should a bright yet poor student suffer?

What also annoys me is the fact that Scottish students get University education free while as English students have to pay! (not sure about Northern Irish and Welsh students). We are the same country - how can this be fair? Surely we should have the same rules?

Re the debate of 'easy' subjects Vs hard subjects.

Different students have different capacibilities and interests. I could not have done a degree in science and maths - I would have gone mad! Similarly a science student may not find art/media easy.

matt wrote:
Doesn't this happen anyway? - I think there has been various reports coming out for a while that as a country on the whole we are facing a shortage of chemists. As far too many students have been opting for 'easy' subjects.

Another one was a lack of physicists, and that this lack of 2 disciplines would seriously hamper our ability as a country as a whole to compete with others for the future.


Lol, I can feel a 'dad' rant coming on. My dad did his first degree in Chemistry. Apparently it was much encouraged in the 1960s-70s. However, he very much regrets doing it as there aren't many jobs in that field and the ones that there about don't pay well.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Lol, I can feel a 'dad' rant coming on. My dad did his first degree in Chemistry. Apparently it was much encouraged in the 1960s-70s. However, he very much regrets doing it as there aren't many jobs in that field and the ones that there about don't pay well.


Then or now?

I do listen to people's 'rants' as I do actually believe they might have something important to say, other people may automatically switch off as they don't believe them to hold anything worthwhile I however, will still listen as they may be able to back up their beliefs with reason.

If someone believes something so vehemently, chances are they may actually know a thing or 2. A poorly thought out rant can usually be detected as such, so as you 'felt a dad rant' coming on, it's obviously something he says a fair bit.

I lack the information to make an informed comment on your dad's comments, but a quick brainstorm produced the following...


*Why* did he take Chemistry? - it might very well of been very much encouraged back in the 60's and 70's but doing a degree in something just because someone else tells you to or because it's good money is folly.

There's good money being a lawyer apparently, I'm not one because I don't want to be a lawyer.

Taking a degree because it's 'hot' at the time, reduces the subject in your eyes to nothing more than a 'fashion' degree in mine.
If it was 'hot' to take a degree in Sport for example because we had a shortage in PE teachers I would not take it because sport bores me.

I liken this again to the whole 'carrot and stick' method, 'take a degree in chemistry' it's a well paid job.
There's probably a reason why it's well paid, because there was a scarcity of chemists. What does scarcity do in any economy? - puts the price up.
As people realise there's money in a commodity, they start to get into that market as well, until the market becomes saturated and the price declines as scarcity declines.
Chemistry may of been the same thing here, not a lot of chemists, there was a demand for more chemists, the various universities marketed those degrees and many different people took it up.

Those people who follow fashions? - a few years ago, it was 'cool' to be a geek.
No you aren't, 'geek' is not a label you can put on ( complete with crocodile logo ) and take off later. All those years before you thought it was 'cool' I, and many other people across the globe were *being* geek. Then you lot came along and gatecrashed for a bit because you were told it was the 'in thing' to do. Then next year you went off to do something else, because you were told to, while we are *still* geek. You aren't, nor ever will be geek fashion sheep.

Your dad doesn't fall into this category, but he may of fallen prey to economics. Too many chemists all of a sudden results in the jobs market being able to pick and choose as opposed to when chemists were scarce allowing the 'power' to be with the chemists, they could choose.

An article in Nature ( a scientific journal, so i'm pretty sure it speaks from the industry itself )

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v406/n6797/full/406809b0.html

Quote:

For those graduates and postgraduates brave enough to withstand disapproving looks, the shortage of chemists is good news. "Only a few years ago my research students found it very hard to get a job. Now it is unusual to see a good chemist without a job," says Bianchini.

The shortage may be good news for individuals, but there are more serious consequences. Bianchini and de Wit say it is hard to find good researchers. The problem, says Noordervliet, will get worse in the Netherlands before it gets better. Even if there is an influx of eager chemists, it will take seven years before they are qualified researchers. In the meantime, job hunters are attracted by the higher wages of industry compared with academia. "The problem is worse for academia than industry," says Noordervliet. "Students from Romania, Poland and Russia are taking the posts, but these people will go back. We are losing our science base."


It would seem that according to an article in New Scientist ( http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19125682.400-selling-chemistry-to-a-new-generation.html ) numbers dwindled to 3000 in 2003.

Is 3000 students good for any subject?

I 'ended up' in a network admin type role not because of those adverts you get on television nowadays that show a bin man in one shot, then the same guy pulling in 30k sat at a desk working as an IT manager all because he went to Train To Gain or something ( ie, i'm not doing it for the money, i'm doing it because it's an interest ) - chasing money ( while yes it's good and you should always try to better yourself ) is perhaps not conductive to a happy lifestyle.

Rach has the right reasons, doing something for the love of it, money is not the motivator, the interest and where it may go and what you end up doing should be far more appealing. Smile

Helen wrote:

I would have gone mad!


Are you *sure* you studied Marketing ? Wink

Helen wrote:

We are the same country


We are only the same country when they want something? Very Happy - more fairly put, we give them money, it's perhaps up to them how they spend it, I would imagine that somewhere along the line other things miss out.


This has been a tangent that has developed however from the original post of 'University fees: who pays?'

aalpha wrote:

Most education systems are fat on the administration end of the spectrum. Plus the real teachers at the uni level are overpaid (in the US anyway). But yeah, those who are paid and don't contribute to the education of a single student can find other real work IMHO.


I would perhaps question then, how they got their job in the first place. A cleaner for example does not contribute to the education as such, but they should at least keep the place tidy.

While I think I know what you mean, it might be hard to decide who is actually contributing and who isn't. Everyone is there for a reason, regardless whether they contribute to the main cause of the institution or not surely?


Helen wrote:

Re the debate of 'easy' subjects Vs hard subjects.

Different students have different capacibilities and interests. I could not have done a degree in science and maths - I would have gone mad! Similarly a science student may not find art/media easy


A very good point, but with a decline in people taking these subjects ( for a decline to exist, one must of had a 'peak' or an increase in the first place )

I have always described my workload as being 'peaks and troughs' for example, the same with the influx of 'science and math' minded people.

Are the type of people who have a 'science and maths' brain finding other places to study? are they turning their backs on degrees? is cost the problem?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matty wrote:
Then or now?


Both Apparently.

matty wrote:
*Why* did he take Chemistry? - it might very well of been very much encouraged back in the 60's and 70's but doing a degree in something just because someone else tells you to or because it's good money is folly.


Because he's clever (why didn't I get that gene!?) and he's good with the logical subjects like Maths and Sciences. So I guess it suits him and is therefore a logical choice. I doubt being a lawyer or an artist would have suited him. If you're interested, his master degrees were in computer science and analyical chemistry.

matt wrote:
Are you *sure* you studied Marketing ?


Studying and practicing something are completely different. Studying the subject was absolutely fine, a lot of theory and books but what books cannot tell you is that marketing a bitchy and cutthroat.

But yes, I am a little crazy still:D

aalpha wrote:
Most education systems are fat on the administration end of the spectrum. Plus the real teachers at the uni level are overpaid (in the US anyway). But yeah, those who are paid and don't contribute to the education of a single student can find other real work IMHO.


*Cries* no-one likes admin Sad
There still needs to be some administrators - who pays the invoices, works on the student admissions and generally organises the place?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

area51newmexico wrote:

Because he's clever (why didn't I get that gene!?) and he's good with the logical subjects like Maths and Sciences. So I guess it suits him and is therefore a logical choice. I doubt being a lawyer or an artist would have suited him. If you're interested, his master degrees were in computer science and analyical chemistry.


You probably did get that gene, take for childhood for example. You used to like looking at maps, and then when people would ask you about geogrpahy you were able to say so.
Many people would turn around to you and ask 'how do you know all this?'

The reasons you stated are why I wondered if he was a raindrop in an ocean of chemists. I don't know, i'd need to look back further Very Happy

Helly wrote:

There still needs to be some administrators - who pays the invoices, works on the student admissions and generally organises the place?


By merging more and more jobs I think is what aalpha meant, my point above is the same they got a job because at the time there was a need. No one hires because they felt like it Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

area51newmexico wrote:
*Cries* no-one likes admin Sad
There still needs to be some administrators - who pays the invoices, works on the student admissions and generally organises the place?


It's not admin per se. Here in the states we have a glut in high paid admin people who in the course of any given day don't contribute one bit to educating a student.

I readily see the need for administrators but our education systems on every level are the reasons we have expressions like "too many chiefs not enough Indians."

And THENNNNN the people who appropriate the money go and spend it on admin office buildings that look like monuments to executive privilege. Not that they should work in shacks but somewhere between shacks and opulence are happier mediums. If your purpose in life is service I mean.
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