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Thread: "Differential Tuition": A Safety Net for Colleges or Another Obstacle for the Poor?

  1. #16
    Registered User Emil Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neely View Post
    (I might watch Question Time tonight as it is in Sheffield - I applied to get on the show but I was too late. Never mind, I've got better things to do anyway.)
    Neely, as you have only recently read Pro Bono Publico, I think it's necessary to remind you of the slightly satirical nature of the book. Here's a passage that directly relates to your application to attend Question Time. I obviously had to use ITV to avoid complications were I to have used BBC.

    Olwyn thought of Tim Willoughby, his opposite number for Independent Television, who hosted a programme called In Your View, in which a studio audience was invited to harangue a panel of so-called experts on the social questions of the day. The programme attracted a disproportionate number from the ranks of the progressive contingent, and its presenter was of a similar persuasion. Whilst maintaining a semblance of impartiality, he was a master of the loaded question who subtly phrased his comments to the advantage of those adopting a liberal line, and if one of the panellists began to make a telling point in opposition to his stance, he would interject and turn the subject onto a different tack. Highly regarded by the politically nave and thoroughly disliked by the discerning, he was more devious than any politician Olwyn had ever known, and he was only too pleased that Willoughby wasnt with the BBC, which was compromised enough as it was.
    "L'art de la statistique est de tirer des conclusions errones a partir de chiffres exacts." Napolon Bonaparte.

    "Je crois que beaucoup de gens sont dans cet tat desprit: au fond, ils ne sentent pas concerns par lHistoire. Mais pourtant, de temps autre, lHistoire pose sa main sur eux." Michel Houellebecq.

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Emil Miller View Post
    Neely, as you have only recently read Pro Bono Publico, I think it's necessary to remind you of the slightly satirical nature of the book. Here's a passage that directly relates to your application to attend Question Time. I obviously had to use ITV to avoid complications were I to have used BBC.

    Olwyn thought of Tim Willoughby, his opposite number for Independent Television, who hosted a programme called In Your View, in which a studio audience was invited to harangue a panel of so-called experts on the social questions of the day. The programme attracted a disproportionate number from the ranks of the ‘progressive’ contingent, and its presenter was of a similar persuasion. Whilst maintaining a semblance of impartiality, he was a master of the loaded question who subtly phrased his comments to the advantage of those adopting a liberal line, and if one of the panellists began to make a telling point in opposition to his stance, he would interject and turn the subject onto a different tack. Highly regarded by the politically nave and thoroughly disliked by the discerning, he was more devious than any politician Olwyn had ever known, and he was only too pleased that Willoughby wasn’t with the BBC, which was compromised enough as it was.
    You know, when I read it first I did wonder, but didn't develop the thought much further...a perfect drawing of Mr Willoughby it has to be said, brilliant.

    I have watched a bit and then come back to the more sane world of Puccini for a while. I don't know if you watched it. Mr Clugg couldn't have appeared because he would have been utterly slaughtered that's for sure, especially at that end of town. I totally agreed with the point the dad made whose son now had to drop of out uni on his MA, same story everywhere. The death of higher education as some smart fellow said earlier...

    Edit: oh, it is nice to see Mr Blanket again. He's the man who runs the joint around my end of town, bumped into him a few times - even if those sort of people are never really to be trusted.
    Last edited by LitNetIsGreat; 05-12-2011 at 06:24 PM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander III View Post
    The real elite have master degree's from top tier universities.
    This is something in which I have a problem. Beyond how much money you pay to go there, what makes a university "top-tier." There seems to be this huge idea that only universities with huge tuitions are the ones that mean anything, and in a sense they are right because it looks nicer on a resume, but I wonder how much better they really are. I go to state funded school and have payed around 3000$ for tuition per semester and have recieved an excellent education from the university's English department. I am not convinced at all that paying 10,000+ more would give me anything that I haven't gotten already, besides the name.

  4. #19
    riding a cosmic vortex MystyrMystyry's Avatar
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    Reeks of old school tie to me - contacts are everything, and that's all the thicks want, and all they deserve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutatis-Mutandi View Post
    This is something in which I have a problem. Beyond how much money you pay to go there, what makes a university "top-tier." There seems to be this huge idea that only universities with huge tuitions are the ones that mean anything, and in a sense they are right because it looks nicer on a resume, but I wonder how much better they really are. I go to state funded school and have payed around 3000$ for tuition per semester and have recieved an excellent education from the university's English department. I am not convinced at all that paying 10,000+ more would give me anything that I haven't gotten already, besides the name.
    Actually in england undergrad tuition, weather in Cambridge or some local small uni is exactly the same price. So when I say top tier I refer to academic standards.

    I am not quite sure of the system in america, but I think there also the undergrad tuition for harvard is more or less the same as that of many other non-ivy league schools

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    The idea that as more and more more people get (not necessarily) "earn" degrees the less valuable it becomes seems like a corollary to Gresham's Law. In a certain sense, the notion may be true: if curricula themselves are "dumbed down" in order to accommodate everyone. This "leveling" effect would diminish the value of the degree.

    There's another way of looking at it, though. If today's B.A. is the equivalent of yesterday's high school diploma, that may be the effect of how much of the world has been changed technologically. Yesterday's knowledge was appropriate for a post-agrarian, industrialized society; today the knowledge and skills designed to meet those needs are not as relevant as the skills which today's world requires.

    I'd like, however, to return to the question in the original
    post, and that is how the poor are not really helped by the
    current status of higher education and its ever-rising costs.
    (The costs of education keep escalating --the only other non-commodity whose costs rise at the same or higher rates is health care.) Everybody tries to come up with ways to pay for education, but nobody seems to question why it costs so damned much to begin with!

    Traditionally there have been only two ways for societies to provide access to higher education for low-income students. The first is scholarships, which began as awards to those who were academically gifted. Sports scholarships can be both inspiring or notorious scandal-ridden. High school guidance counselors
    take pride in researching and discovering all manner of obscure scholarships offered to students who meet very rarefied criteria.

    The other way poor students can finance their education is with student loans. Even though these ambitious kids are forward-looking, it doesn't always occur to them that the
    future may hold decades of debt, the failure to pay resulting in constant dunning notices by Harpies in three-piece suits, garnishment, an inability to claim tax refunds and all manner of misery. Those with a more realistic outlook will then choose a major that more likely will offer a better career track rather than the course of study for which he or she likes better or has better aptitude for.

    Yet-- as we said before, since a college degree today is just as necessary as a high school diploma was yesterday, what is a high school senior supposed to do?

    For the past half century, the hype has been: "If you want a good job, get a good education." Unfortunately, that's a lie. A good education guarantees a person almost nothing, except perhaps the aforementioned lifelong debt.

    When it comes to long-term employment or a satisfying, profitable career, Equal Opportunity is indeed a myth. Even if one does have a good education, perhaps the only jobs available require less; in fact, he or she may not be able to land a lesser-paying job for which he is "overqualified." (Unless he lies on the application,which may open up another whole can of worms.)

    Anyone who has lived as long as I have knows by now that it's not what you know, but "who" you know. That is precisely where the unconnected poor have a distinct disadvantage.

    Yet, this "Anybody can be whatever he wants to be" Myth
    prevails, so much so that America considers theinability to convince a company to hire you a moral failing.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 05-13-2011 at 02:47 PM.

  7. #22
    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander III View Post
    Actually in england undergrad tuition, weather in Cambridge or some local small uni is exactly the same price. So when I say top tier I refer to academic standards.

    I am not quite sure of the system in america, but I think there also the undergrad tuition for harvard is more or less the same as that of many other non-ivy league schools
    Definitely not, Harvard cost around 40k a year.

    There are a couple more affordable quality public universities in the US, the University of Michigan is one of the best universities in the world. Even those cost an egregious amount by international standards.

    http://www.usnews.com/education/worl...ities-top-400-

    Here is US News rankings for 2010.

    Of the top 20, only 2 of the North American ones are public: UoM and my alma mater McGill.

    You have to have deep pockets or good scholarships to go to top tier schools in this neck of the woods.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
    - Margaret Atwood

  8. #23
    Livin' in Slow Motion Hurricane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander III View Post
    Actually in england undergrad tuition, weather in Cambridge or some local small uni is exactly the same price. So when I say top tier I refer to academic standards.

    I am not quite sure of the system in america, but I think there also the undergrad tuition for harvard is more or less the same as that of many other non-ivy league schools
    Of course, some of the best small colleges in the states actually pay you to go...

    A lot of the state universities are pretty good, and some of them give very generous scholarships to in-state students near the top of their class. If you're good enough, or poor enough, you can make the more expensive private colleges happen with regards to financial aid. The tricky part is where you're very-smart-but-not-CRAZY-smart and not-well-off-but-not-below-the-poverty-line, which is, of course, where most people fall, because you're not eligible for either a merit or need-based scholarship.

    The cost of some colleges is just ridiculous. My sister's college (which was not an ivy, though certainly a very good school) cost $40k+, and GWU (where I almost went) cost $45k+ yearly.
    Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not.

  9. #24
    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    According to that Statscan article posted before, "Among Canada's adult population aged 25 to 64, 48.8% had completed post-secondary education in 2008, the highest percentage among OECD member countries, and well above the OECD average of 28.4%. Italy reported the lowest percentage of post-secondary graduates at 14.4%."

    And also,

    "The percentage of persons 15 years of age and over without high school diplomas decreased from 37.8% in 1990 to 20.2% in 2010. This is consistent with the increase in the percentage of the population with post-secondary certification. Between 1990 and 2010, the proportion of individuals who had obtained college or trade certification increased 9.1 percentage points, to 30.9%. Meanwhile, the percentage of individuals with university degrees rose from 10.9% in 1990 to 20.9% in 2009."


    So, in other words, our system seems to be working, and education seems to be affordable. There is a gender bias favoring women for post-secondary education, but even then - it would appear that education is set at a good price for us, and people can afford it.

    As for differentiating the price, we already do that at some institutions. It works, to an extent, but even then it is a question of 1 or 2 thousand dollars a year, money, but not huge money, and they qualify for more grants in Ontario at least.


    I do not know though, if you take France all the Grande Ecole schools are pricey, whereas the others are cheap and state owned. For us Canadians, all institutions pretty much (and certainly all with real enrollment, that aren't just for clergymen) are Public.

    In contrast, with the exception of a handful of American ones, all the great institutions are private there, which gives them a competitive advantage, but also means they are incredibly expensive. Even the public ones are pricey by our standards (And world standards).


    As it is, in general, education, the more free it is, the better. But with that comes a responsibility of the school to fail people, and to have a system where people do not get carried.

    I am in China now where of the 100 people who write the entrance test to get to university, 76 pass, and of those, over 90% graduate. At the same time though, I see people who are writing Ph. D.s in English and French unable to string a sentence, on paper, or out loud, and who know nothing and are worth nothing.

    Every waitress here has a degree in something or another, and they cannot even do that job properly, as well as somebody without any education but a little common sense. At this university, you see bribery and cheating - this being considered a particularly good institution, speaking to a Quebec born French professor here, she says on average 40% of people cheat on everything, and the system is not allowed to fail them here, the minimum they can receive is a 70, speaking to another professor who is from China, and claims to have written a Ph. D. in Quebec, without knowing how to speak French, or anything about the place (if she has set foot in Quebec, she certainly did not leave her house, or learn anything, much less wrote a thesis) she remarked that the reason people do not fail is it is a state responsibility "to make sure people do not kill themselves."


    Then, in contrast, I look at all my North Korean classmates, who all have degrees, and are the smartest people I have yet met, and they tell me, everything where they are from is free, and everyone has a high standard of education, including people who do manual labor.

    It begs a question, what is the actual value of public education? I would assume it only works as an advantage if the workforce produced possesses skills that actually are worth something. China, despite building universities everywhere, has the least skillful workforce I have yet encountered, despite having institutions and education everywhere - Italians are able, but have a low education rate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander III View Post
    That in theory would be great...but who is goign to pay for it all.
    The tax payer.

    At top universities you have the greatest intelectual minds teaching the student. Why should thos great minds teach if they don't get paid what they deserve. And if you do pay them what they deserve, do tell who will pay?
    They would be paid and again the tax payer would pay.

    And also all the millions spent in research at universities? All those thousands and thousands and thousands of academic studies and articles and research, who will pay for that?
    Tax payers, private companies, universities (they have other means to make money)...


    Oh and also as soon as you don't pay for it, guess which is the first to suffer? Science research is necessary...research in the humanities like art and literature and history isn't, so if there is no money literary academia dies.
    I'm not convinced it would die and I'm not sure if I'd care if it did.

    And if you answer is, no we can still pay all for that to keep it as it is, just instead of student paying for it let the government pay.

    But most of the governments in europe and america are broke...as in there is no money - should governments then stop putting money in health and military and building of public institutions (police, museums, libraries, pensions) just so that everyone has access to university? Seem's awfully selfish of students to say **** everyone else, government give us free higher education...
    I'd love it if military spending was curbed in favour of education.

    If a student can't afford university but is very intelligent, he will get a scholarship -
    Ideally.

    or if he is intelligent but not very intelligent he can get various loans to help him get through university. But the question one must ask is, if I get all these loans when I finish uni shall I get a job and be able to pay them all. The answer is, if you go to a top university YES, if you go to a mediocre university the answer is no.
    Starting life after graduation with a debt. Sounds great
    You know I had brain fever, and that is to be mad.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Propter W. View Post
    The tax payer.



    They would be paid and again the tax payer would pay.



    Tax payers, private companies, universities (they have other means to make money)...




    I'm not convinced it would die and I'm not sure if I'd care if it did.



    I'd love it if military spending was curbed in favour of education.

    Ideally.



    Starting life after graduation with a debt. Sounds great

    You do realize that the majority of european countries and the U.S are currently in extreme debt, arguably the worse debt they have ever been in. I am no economics expert but

    If I earn 2 dollars a month but spend 10 every month, in a couple of years, to put it bluntly **** will hit the fan...

    As for curbing military spending...the thing is the last time any of us in the 1st world were under serious threat was WWII (the cold war never involved direct fighting)...so it is easy for us to assume that the military machine is superfluous. But let us try and admit ( though I know it is hard for many) that people in high position in the government, mostly know what they are doing, they funnel billions into the military every year because they realize it is a necessity. It is easy to criticizes military spending when you have no idea what a real war is.

  12. #27
    Registered User ralfyman's Avatar
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    If the purpose of additional education is to provide opportunities for the poor to increase their income, then it is more practical not to require a college degree for entry-level work. Additional education can be funded by the student or his employer in tandem with any training needed for promotion.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander III View Post
    You do realize that the majority of european countries and the U.S are currently in extreme debt, arguably the worse debt they have ever been in. I am no economics expert but

    If I earn 2 dollars a month but spend 10 every month, in a couple of years, to put it bluntly **** will hit the fan...

    As for curbing military spending...the thing is the last time any of us in the 1st world were under serious threat was WWII (the cold war never involved direct fighting)...so it is easy for us to assume that the military machine is superfluous. But let us try and admit ( though I know it is hard for many) that people in high position in the government, mostly know what they are doing, they funnel billions into the military every year because they realize it is a necessity. It is easy to criticizes military spending when you have no idea what a real war is.
    Well I don't think this is any way an adequate justification of not paying for it. Governments should spend in investment and supplying services. None of us tends to object to the government paying for police forces, and for most of us we live in societies where we already expect the vast majority of education to be covered by the government. It is perfectly reasonable to pay for school through taxes instead of direct tuition, bulk and government legislation can help to control costs and make sure it is available enough to provide enough education to support the country's education needs and to keep it competitive. Conservatives tend to favour systems of tax deduction to attract business and promote investment, I prefer a system of direct targeted spending by the government.

    The American system is odd, as it is with the private university system they have sky rocketing tuition costs, and the government ends up spending an excessive amount on scholarships. Some American universities are good, but the quality doesn't seem to justify the cost. First of all, many of their very expensive schools are not particularly better than universities in other developed countries. Except for a cluster of the Ivies that have multi-billion dollar endowments, most American private universities are no better than the major public universities in other developed countries. And some public institutions actually outstrip American institutions and end up ultimately costing less than the American system.

    I think the best approach is two-tiered. You have to have controlled tuition fees to prevent ridiculous price increases just because of the reputation of the school. There should be a combination of government funding (which American private institutions already receive in the millions, not to mention scholarship spending), and an affordable user's fee payed by students. This ensures that your country doesn't fall behind in producing trained citizens, and it also helps mitigate cost. A society doesn't benefit from a population with personal debt any more than a state does from having public debt.

    Moreover, reducing military spending is hardly proposing the disbanding of the military. The US annual defense budget is nearly 1 trillion dollars, and accounts for more than half their budget deficit. If they reduced it by 10% they would still exceed the military spending of every country on Earth combined. Nor does it follow that governments always spend wisely and we should just trust their judgment, the Soviet Union bankrupted itself through excessive military spending. I can guarantee you that many of those determining military spending know a lot more about turning a profit than fighting a war. And the massive lobbies of companies like Boeing and Lockheed-Martin certainly play a part in pushing through military projects. This is getting too much into politics though, so I think I'll cut it off here.
    "If the national mental illness of the United States is megalomania, that of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia."
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    What is with LitNUtters? I agree with you, but only because i think they deserve all that way. THEY SHOULD BE ALLOWED to choose classes. I HATE that I am failing math because I am writing more.

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    I can't imagine a more reasonable and viable argument than Orphan Pip's (Reply #28 ^^^.)

    The following isn't nearly as brilliant and eloquent as his, but may I add a few more thoughts?

    1. It may be a mistake to tie higher education so tightly to
    "upward mobility." There are thousands of us Baby Boomers walking around with dusty college diplomas yet are no better off financially than our parents were (in many cases, worse.)

    2. [The following is NOT a political statement, but a social and economic one]:
    The "dirty little secret" about American culture is that just as in Old World civilizations, there IS a class structure in the United States. There is no such thing as economic --or even social--equality. We have an upper class, and a working class, as well as a middle class whose membership is shrinking everyday, and it's not moving upward, if you catch my drift.

    Whenever some of us mention changing the economic landscape, lovers of the status quo are quick to accuse us of trying to promote "class warfare," as if we were Bosheviks in the year 1917. Here in the 21st century the system is --systematically!-- rigged against those who would deign to enter it and better themselves. It appears --to me, at least-- that only those who are born into the privileged classes can expect a satisfying life of comfort and success. (If you don't believe me, do an online search of how the gulf between rich and poor has steadily widened over the past 30 years or so and perhaps even more alarmingly, how a very low percentage of the populace on top controls a disproportionally high percentage of the wealth in this country. Wealth percolates up and very little drips --or "trickles" down. Just as in the old song, "Ain't We Got Fun?" the "rich get rich," and the poor? We all know what the poor get.)

    Despite the vaunted "rags-to-riches" stories in the American Myth, it's extremely difficult for an unconnected
    person to permeate the status quo. The ruling class does everything in its considerable power to protect the status quo.

    This may explain, in part, the reason America hasn't gotten wholeheartedly behind reforming the sorry state of public elementary and seconday education in the country. We can cite statistics until we turn purple -- how students so many other countries in the world lead us in math, science, reading, etc. In fact, the only subject in which American students lead the world is in self-esteem. It's true!

    3. Back to the title question of this thread, whether differential tuition is fair or not, I think that our culture might do well to remember what the original purpose of education was (with the more enlightened idea of opening it up to all social classes, not merely the privileged few.)
    There is --or should be-- a huge difference between education and training. The former prepares a person for his or her chosen career, be it medicine, law, architecture,
    teaching, whatever. The latter prepares an undeveloped mind for life.

    Higher education isn't -- or shouldn't be -- about teaching a child morals or indoctrinating him into a culture but making him a whole person. In this way, he is able to maneuver through life more effectively. (Ironically enough, this is the reason an underprivileged person needs a high-class college education more than a rich person, a topic which a previous LitNet thread explored last year.)

    4. And finally, a well-educated populace is crucial in order for democracy to survive.

    "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."
    --Thomas Jefferson

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