Wednesday, September 7, 2005

You know who's paying for this study…

According to the London Free Press, a new study suggests that forcing students to pay higher tuition costs would jeopardize the higher education aspirations of those coming from middle-income families.

The analysis, commissioned by the province's professors and to be released today, also concludes that trying to address the situation with direct grants to lower-income students won't really help.

"A move from the current progressive subsidization of post-secondary education toward high tuition policy would have a dramatic effect on the vast majority of Ontario families," the paper states. "The real victims … would be Ontario families in the middle 50 per cent of the income distribution."

[…] "We are very wary of a high tuition regime setting in," said association president Michael Doucet. "If Ontario needs a first-rate post-secondary education system, then in our view, the bulk of the funding for that should come from general revenues of the provincial government."
The apparent disinterested authority suggested by the study-ness of the analysis should directly be called into question by the interest of its clients, the province's professors, whose collective employment prospects are directly related to the number of students admitted to Ontario's universities. Leaving aside the question of whether too many or not enough potentially productive servants of the state are receiving university educations in a "knowledge economy", the victimization of middle-class Ontario families is a political rather than objective characterization and suggests that the burden of victimization should fall on taxpayers instead. Speaking as someone who, without any assets or family assistance, entirely paid his way through university by a combination of public and private loans, low income is not a barrier to a determined student, and subsequent loans would be easier to pay off without the added burden of subsidizing future students through taxation.


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Pietr said...

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So why don't you go out and get a job?
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"Have a pay rise!"

Mitch said...

Notice how nobody mentions that the government subsidzation of post-secondary education has resulted in a glut of university educated people, in the sense that most of these graduates are not taking degrees for disciplines in demand. This is part of the reason that a university degree is now as useless as a high school diploma. This glut now leads to people requiring post-graduate degrees for work that should only require a bachelors. It is also why you see so many university graduates waiting tables. Perhaps reducing the supply of superfluous degrees in the market by making people responsible for the costs will address this issue.

lance said...

Well said Mitch.

Educational Inflation, the more everyone gets, the less its worth.


MapMaster said...

Indeed, well said Mitch. Much like I would have like to have said if I had been inclined to get around to it, but you expressed it much better.

A problem with the fad of universal accessibility to university education is not only the relative benefits of obtaining a degree in the job market, but the absolute benefits of the degree as well. At least at UWO, courses are dumbed down to appease the more intellectually diverse student population and the graduation rates, to the extent that many courses are little better than high school subjects, especially in the first couple of years.

AlbertaPat said...

As a former Executive Director of OCUFA ('78-'84) I'm appalled that the Ontario faculty associations should stoop to such self-interested "research". The effect of the "opening up" of universities, combined with the ridiculous non-judgementalism rampant among profs, has been to reduce the intellectual challenge and social value of degrees to near zero. When someone claiming to be an educated person can say, with a straight face, that a degree in physics and a degree in media studies are, and should be, of equal worth, we have essentially mortgaged our future to the lowest common denominator.

Western strikes me as a classic example of political correctness, multi-cultural pandering and academic spinelessness. In the 1980s university faculty in Ontario did not---indeed, would not---fight for their traditional role at the heart of academic decision-making. Instead they retreated to unionisation, leaving the adminstrators (who were once upon a time just academics on loan, but now are largely career executives equally at home managing a university or a meat-packing plant) to grovel to every interest group and trouble-maker so that they can keep their cushy jobs and fine pensions.

From being a strong supporter of public funding and merit-based admission twenty years ago, I have moved to the view that only private universities are capable of restoring rigour and high-standards to post-secondary education. Let the featherbedded, unionised, relativists who infest the faculty lounges these days try to survive in the real world on their wits. Abolish tenure. Abolish faculty unionisation. Abolish the nonsense of quotas for professors and for admission. Then we might have a university system worth paying for.

MapMaster said...

Thanks for your comments, Alberta Pat. Private universities are the only way to accomplish the objectives you have set out — public universities encourage the idea that their facilities are some sort of collective right instead of a commodity with its attendant benefits and costs. Although surely private universities would also find it to their own benefit to incorporate merit-based admissions to protect the perceived value of their property.

Mitch said...

For more on the general uselessness of a Bachelor's degree in Canada

A friend of mine from U of T expands on this.

next_93 said...

In the states, educational degrees are requred to teach in elementary schools, and that particular educational currency has been devalued to essentially zero. I call them reptile degrees - if you can get your body temperature up to 98 (F) without sunning yourself on a warm rock, you can probably qualify for an ED degree.

Then, a few years ago some states decided to rename thier trade schools as "colleges", so every legitimate college (like mine) had to add on a school of liberal arts and rename itself a "university".