Helping the poor pay for college

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mewshi
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Helping the poor pay for college

Postby mewshi » Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:31 pm UTC

Hello, everyone.

Just wondering - what are your thoughts on giving the poor (particularly those below the poverty line) extra assistance in paying for college?

I think it's a net gain for society - GDP rises, fewer people are impoverished - everyone wins!

Other views? Please, back it up :)

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:24 pm UTC

There's a long history of poor people getting help for college through scholarships, grants, military service, and student loans, and the world is a better place than it was a century ago. I'd say that's a good indicator that it's a good idea.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby gibberishtwist » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:30 pm UTC

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Paranoid__Android » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:54 pm UTC

mewshi wrote:Just wondering - what are your thoughts on giving the poor (particularly those below the poverty line) extra assistance in paying for college?
I think it's a net gain for society - GDP rises, fewer people are impoverished - everyone wins!
Other views? Please, back it up :)


You use the word College instead of University so I am assuming you are from the US.
How much do you actually have to pay over there?

I will be paying (next academic year) about £3000 per year but then I get a grant from the University and also the government, which will make it much cheaper.
I personally think it is a great idea but then I am very biased.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Azrael » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:41 pm UTC

gibberishtwist wrote:Frankly I think that if your grades/SAT scores qualify you, and you're below the poverty line, your college should be completely paid for. Don't get me started on how outrageous college tuition is...


But what if your family is just *above* the poverty line -- then you have to pay for it? Paying for college is a financial struggle for a lot more than just the poorest of families.

You either created a nationalized system, providing heavily subsidized (based on income) college to anyone who wishes to take part in the program (at certain schools, with qualifying entrance scores, etc etc) or you don't. Half measures will remain inequitable.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby blue_eyedspacemonkey » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:47 pm UTC

Paranoid__Android wrote:I will be paying (next academic year) about £3000 per year but then I get a grant from the University and also the government, which will make it much cheaper.
I personally think it is a great idea but then I am very biased.
I will be paying roughly the same as Paranoid_Android, with help from the government only. The loan you get is paid back when you earn over £15,000 a year (not sure if this is before or after tax though). The money you pay back is a low percentage of your earnings, I think it's £8.00 a month if you earn £15,000. You get £3,300 a year no matter what your household income is, and that amount goes up depending on your household income. I, too, like this system a lot.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby mewshi » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:19 pm UTC

So, in general, we are in favor of such ideas? Awesome.

I think that, especially in the "land of opportunity", it is ridiculous to expect someone who didn't sleep in a silver cradle as an infant to work three times as hard to get to the same point in life. Essentially, classism is the same as racism.

Just read this quote from my aunt, and replace "lower class" with "black" or something, and replace "upper class" with "white" or whatever.

"It's perfectly fine to expect lower class people to work harder to get to the same point as someone who is from the upper class. God didn't intend for everyone to have the same journey."

Expecting someone to work harder just because they weren't born into the right family is just plain wrong.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby coblenski » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:21 pm UTC

In Scotland our tuition fees are paid for by the government, with poorer students being granted an additional bursary every month; depending on how low their family income is. Again, I too think that this is the best way.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Gunfingers » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:24 pm UTC

I'm in favor of support systems being in place so that it isn't completely barred to the poor, but i actually have no problem with having to work hard. I have to hold down a 9-5 so that i can pay for school, and frankly i wouldn't have it any other way. The idea that someone should get to go to school for free just because they come from a low-income family sounds like...well...classism and elitism.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby MarshyMarsh » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:26 pm UTC

I think the UK system is unfair, maintenance grants are ruining the country. My reason for this is a simple one. Around 30 years ago many people would leave school at 16 or 18 and go and learn a trade, this is benneficial to society. However in todays environment the 'group' of people that would have gone on to learn a trade is much smaller. They are pressured into thinking 'If you don't have a degree you won't get a job', this has resulted in an exponential number of people taking degrees in 'Media Studies' 'Graphic Design' ...etc... etc... This leads to those job sectors being heavily populated, so populated that a typical graphic designer from University (unless he is very talented in design) will find it very hard to get work that pays over £15,000 a year. The loans are then not paid off. It also turns out that for these media/graphics students can get petter pay labouring on a work site. Resulting in many people filling in the so called 'low-end' (all though they are of vital importantance to society) jobs, they then have to learn these jobs, something which could have been done in the 3 years they spent at University.

If you enrolled at a university 3 years ago it would be around £1000 a year, yet a year after it was £3000. The students in the following year are not getting anything extra for these tuition fees, recieving the same courses as those a year ahed. This in my opinion is very unfair, University should be free for anyone who wishes to go.

I understand that this contradicts my first rant, however if the government spent more time explaining in schools that having a degree is not the most important achievement one can get, and an NVQ or apprentiship can get you just as much money whilst resulting in a stable society.

This is only applicable in the UK, I understand that tuition fees i the US are astronomically large, however in a Capitilistic society the only way to get better education is to pay for it (meaning those with richer parents get better education that those without). I feel that all private schooling and tuition fees should be aboloshed as it restricts many peoples rights to a decent education.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Indon » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:27 pm UTC

The US already has a good degree of that (though the whole thing could stand to be streamlined and universalized, as it suffers from being the 'half-measure' that Azrael mentions), to be honest.

I think we're reaching the point where we can shift our aims from helping people into college, to helping people become fit to enter college - which requires increases in quality of lower levels of education.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby mewshi » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:32 pm UTC

No, we need both lower and higher education to improve.

But I'm not saying that lower class people shouldn't have to work hard. I'm saying that, if rich people, by reason of being born to the 'right' parents, don't have to work their asses off to pay for school, neither should poor. Equality of opportunity is being obstructed.

I'm all for equality of opportunity - some call me a socialist (such as my aunt), at which point I make the distinction between socialism (equality of outcome) and what I believe.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Azrael » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:35 pm UTC

MarshyMarsh wrote:...This in my opinion is very unfair, University should be free for anyone who wishes to go.

So it's unfair to have to pay for your education but it's *more* fair to make everyone else pay for your education? The concept of public schooling isn't new, nor is it (honestly) debatable. But the question becomes where to draw the line between publicly funded (and required) education and optional education that involves a user fee. Currently, that line is drawn at the college/university level in both systems -- the heavily subsidized UK or the *very* mildly subsidized US system.

Schooling costs money. Either tax money or private funds. Considering the circumstances of your example -- that some quantity of college graduates are not working in related fields and have gained little from that education in terms of GDP-contributory knowledge, it's a hard sell to indicate that it should be free across the board.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby mewshi » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:48 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
MarshyMarsh wrote:...This in my opinion is very unfair, University should be free for anyone who wishes to go.

So it's unfair to have to pay for your education but it's *more* fair to make everyone else pay for your education? The concept of public schooling isn't new, nor is (honestly) debatable. But the question becomes where to draw the line between publicly funded (and required) education and optional education that involves a user fee. Currently, that line is drawn at the college/university level in both systems -- the heavily subsidized UK or the *very* mildly subsidized US system.

Schooling costs money. Either tax money or private funds. Considering the circumstances of your example -- that some quantity of college graduates are not working in related fields and have gained little from that education in terms of GDP-contributory knowledge, it's a hard sell to indicate that it should be free across the board.


Azrael, the thing is, a more educated society tends to do much better economically - in other words, we, as a nation, receive a return on investment from education that we pay for that is astronomical, as far as ROI goes.

And, while I understand the purely capitalist argument that the money must come from somewhere, it sickens me that a little rich bastard can go to an Ivy league school because daddy's rich, while the girl who worked her ass off all through school has to work 2 jobs and live on 4 hours of sleep just to get through a lower-level school. It's just bizarre that we, as a nation, allow this sort of thing. I have no problem with people paying for it on their own - as long as EVERYONE has to pay out of their pocket, not just the poor. Otherwise, we end up with something dangerously akin to racism or sexism - "Because of some trait that you can't change, you are going to be punished by having to work 3 times as hard to get to the same freaking point."

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Silas » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:52 pm UTC

mewshi wrote:Expecting someone to work harder just because they weren't born into the right family is just plain wrong.

The trouble with this is the corollary: allowing parents to make life easier for their children is just plain wrong.

Subsidizing tuition can be a great social policy- broad access to prosperity is a valuable social good. But it's a mistake to assume away the challenges: keeping costs under control (easy); keeping quality up (harder); choosing the right amount of education, individually and collectively (tricky); maintaining the benefits of exclusivity while widening access (difficult).

The American system makes subsidizing education especially difficult: if the subsidy is fixed (X dollars), it will either exceed the cost of a public school (be inefficient) or leave the cost of a private school out of reach for many (be insufficient). And because the federal government (I assume we're talking about national policy) has essentially no say in determining tuition costs, there's no reason to think that schools won't simply increase their fees to cash in on the subsidy, reducing its efficacy.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby mewshi » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:59 pm UTC

I never said parents helping their child is wrong - I think it's a great thing, in fact. The problem arises when, just because a parent has more resources than some other parent, the rich parent's child gets a better education, often with less work than the poor kid. Frustrating.

I mean, I understand what you're saying... just very frustrating and demoralizing to me, since it affects my girlfriend :\

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Azrael » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:43 pm UTC

mewshi wrote:I have no problem with people paying for it on their own - as long as EVERYONE has to pay out of their pocket, not just the poor.

...

The problem arises when, just because a parent has more resources than some other parent, the rich parent's child gets a better education, often with less work than the poor kid.
So you're suggesting that college be either a) free to everyone or b) paid for by each individual student by themselves? Barring help from rich parents means no help from poor parents, or middle class parents either. Neither of these options is particularly feasible.

What I really think you mean to suggest is an income-subsidized program (Which is very similar to what the US and UK systems are now -- only it would have to be better funded than the US system is currently). Under these systems, your aid is based on your family income with a (probably) non-linear scale between nearly-free and completely non-subsidized. Entrance scores could be used to rank students into bands with an increasing tuition cap with increasing scores. Thus very smart, very poor students would get the largest subsidy, allowing them access to top-notch schools.

All in all, it's what I suggested several posts ago.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby 22/7 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:08 pm UTC

mewshi wrote:I never said parents helping their child is wrong - I think it's a great thing, in fact. The problem arises when, just because a parent has more resources than some other parent, the rich parent's child gets a better education, often with less work than the poor kid. Frustrating.
Surely you realize that there's really not a lot to be done about this without switching entirely to communism/socialism? (I'm not really well versed enough in these terms to know which is most appropriate, or if there is another term I should be using instead) It always has been easier for the rich and harder for the poor, and as long as we're not living in truly communistic/socialistic society, how are you going to keep this from happening? The right to own/purchase/create personal property will naturally lead to this state in humans.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Terebrant » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:22 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
mewshi wrote:I never said parents helping their child is wrong - I think it's a great thing, in fact. The problem arises when, just because a parent has more resources than some other parent, the rich parent's child gets a better education, often with less work than the poor kid. Frustrating.
Surely you realize that there's really not a lot to be done about this without switching entirely to communism/socialism? (I'm not really well versed enough in these terms to know which is most appropriate, or if there is another term I should be using instead) It always has been easier for the rich and harder for the poor, and as long as we're not living in truly communistic/socialistic society, how are you going to keep this from happening? The right to own/purchase/create personal property will naturally lead to this state in humans.

Would taking the children away to public institution until they become full-fledged citizen be an alternative solution ? In a sense it would be socialist but not very different from the way society deals with some criminal or mentally ill persons. In all these cases treatment and/or time might allow an individual to (re)integrate society.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby MarshyMarsh » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:30 pm UTC

Well the tax payer is paying for ME to go to University, they are paying to give the opportunity for others to go.

After university you are likely to get a job and start paying tax yourself (I believe the Rich should be taxed more), so if a succesful person comes out of university makes £50,000 a year by the time he is 29, he pays tax, balancing out the tax original payed for him to go through university.
This is similar to how the pension scheme works, your money doesn't go into a box, the information is stored. The next generation of workers pays for your pension, so on and so forth. It may seem unfair to the text payer, but after one cycle it evens out.

Also many of the 'higher' Universities in the UK (and US) are very wealthy, as such Cambridge and Oxford (contrary to popular myths) offer a 'no student to drop out to financial reason' policy, they believe in education first, as your dept will be paid back to society later (and if you become wealthy are likely to make a donation to a fund of the University, or if you are megarich set up a new fund). Surely it is better to learn in a carrefree environment so you can maximise your learning rather than juggling two jogs, apartment and utility rent. I understand this means you learn less life skills at a time when you should be adapting, but the benefiits gained from educating people to a higher level far outweighs the economic cost of the time.

You can argue 'Why should I pay tax for something I don't use?" in any scenario, ultimately you are helping your fellow man rather than yourself.

Children have a right to education, it is unfair for some children to be born into the world with an advantage that they have not earnt. If you get rid of privatised education the lower standard will raise and the higher lower. As far as I see this is the fairest option.

I am all for a free economy, free enterprise, but as far as healthcare, utilities and education, I believe they should be nationalised to offer a same 'base' starting point. Hopefully President Obama will be a long due Liberal injection to the US which will hopefully influence the UK. I am not looking forward to the conservatives winning the next UK election as Labour are already very right wing.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby janusx » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:47 pm UTC

No, I don't think that everyone should be paid through college. Especially not if SAT, ACT, gre, or what ever performance indicator you want to use is not that great. College isn't everything. For some people job/skill training would be much more cost efficient than paying to send them through college.

Also I'm very much NOT for blanket college stipends to anyone below a certain income line. It's fine for students to be supported with loans and such and educational loans should be generally made available to everyone.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby 22/7 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:49 pm UTC

MarshyMarsh wrote:I am all for a free economy, free enterprise, but as far as healthcare, utilities and education, I believe they should be nationalised to offer a same 'base' starting point.
So you think that hospitals, universities and utilities should not only by nationalized but that private entities shouldn't be allowed to offer them?

EDIT: Fixed quote tags and, well, my post.
Last edited by 22/7 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Azrael » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:07 pm UTC

MarshyMarsh wrote:Children have a right to education ...

Which is why pretty much all governments pay for education up to college level. At that level, you're no longer a child, you're an adult (or will be within the school year, depending on the variables in enrollment age).

MarshyMarsh wrote:... it is unfair for some children to be born into the world with an advantage that they have not earnt ...
Beyond a planet wide communal system including the redistribution of wealth, loss of property rights and the removal of all racial/gender/etc disadvantages the playing field will not be level.

Constructive means of making things as level as possible within existing societal structures is worth striving for, but if what is required is beyond the scope of education, it's beyond the scope of this thread or practical discussion.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby MarshyMarsh » Thu Jan 29, 2009 7:17 pm UTC

Well in my earlier post I did say that people should be more encouraged to Not go to college/Uni so that they are given a job that suits what they want to do.

Hmm, I agree with the children thing. But for the benefit of society as a hole, extremely gifted students who cannot afford the better Universities should nott be given 'second rate' education, practically it would be hard to do, but the Upper Class should not have a stanglehold on the Middle and Working Classes.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:26 pm UTC

mewshi wrote:Azrael, the thing is, a more educated society tends to do much better economically - in other words, we, as a nation, receive a return on investment from education that we pay for that is astronomical, as far as ROI goes.


As weird as it feels to say this, I don't feel that we should assume this proposition is true. At least, not at the level of university/college. Certainly, everyone needs to have a basic level of education, but at some point you start running into problems of diminishing returns. If is worthwhile to give a bachelor's education to anyone who wants one, why not a Ph.D? Why not two Ph.Ds? At some point, the cost of supporting the program no longer justifies the contribution that the increased education will make. In North America, and parts of Europe, the position is that the best returns can be achieved with free education up to high-school, and partial subsidizes for higher-ed. In some places in Europe, they feel the best returns are from free education up to the bachelor's level. This is something that should, at least in principle, be able to quantify. Look at countries that have free university education: do they have better outcomes than those that don't? Outcomes that can necessarily be attributed to subsidized education?

The diminishing returns argument is particularly when we also consider that there are labour shortages in a lot of fields that don't require an university education, like the skilled trades. What is the point of saturating the market with philosophy degrees, when what we really need are people who can fix cars and build houses?

I think the best system is probably some sort of a sliding scale for tuition fees, sort of like how income tax brackets are set up, that caps out at paying full tuition at maybe $50000 annual income. These kinds of systems do run into other problems, eg. what if the parents aren't paying for the student's tuition, but still make a lot of money? I know a number of people in this situation who were unable to qualify for student loans in Canada because the loan application took the parents' income into account. At what point does the "household" become just the student and not their parents?

MarshyMarsh wrote:Hmm, I agree with the children thing. But for the benefit of society as a hole, extremely gifted students who cannot afford the better Universities should nott be given 'second rate' education, practically it would be hard to do, but the Upper Class should not have a stanglehold on the Middle and Working Classes.


I can't say this uncategorically, but my experience is that extremely gifted students (and athletes, in some countries) can get into any university they want, regardless of expense. It is the ones who are good enough to get in, but not competitive enough to get scholarships, that fall through the cracks.

[Edit: added response to MarshyMarsh and fixed quote tags]

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:41 pm UTC

MarshyMarsh wrote:Hmm, I agree with the children thing. But for the benefit of society as a hole, extremely gifted students who cannot afford the better Universities should nott be given 'second rate' education, practically it would be hard to do, but the Upper Class should not have a stanglehold on the Middle and Working Classes.

Do you have any reason to suspect that extremely gifted people don't go to top tier institutions? Most well established privates give quite thorough scholarships to poorer students, I'm not under the general impression that financing ever becomes much of a problem when it comes to attending such institutions. The high sticker cost may seem rather discouraging, but it's largely to ensure that the university can extract large sums from wealthy attendees that in turn finance the costs of poorer students.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Jahoclave » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:45 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
MarshyMarsh wrote:Hmm, I agree with the children thing. But for the benefit of society as a hole, extremely gifted students who cannot afford the better Universities should nott be given 'second rate' education, practically it would be hard to do, but the Upper Class should not have a stanglehold on the Middle and Working Classes.


I can't say this uncategorically, but my experience is that extremely gifted students (and athletes, in some countries) can get into any university they want, regardless of expense. It is the ones who are good enough to get in, but not competitive enough to get scholarships, that fall through the cracks.

[Edit: added response to MarshyMarsh and fixed quote tags]

Which means you have a large amount of people getting absolutely fucked and losing a lot of good talent. I should know, I've been in that situation. Nothing like getting into a bunch of great schools and then not being able to afford them. Quite frankly, I find that too much of your college success is determined on your economic situation rather than your skillset. Starting off at a state school because it's all you can afford absolutely fucks you if you happen to live in a state that very poorly funds higher education. So it's not just that you can't afford to go elsewhere, but what you get is a worse product just by where you happen to live. And with many jobs tied to having attended those elite schools (like professorships), it really doesn't matter shit for beans how much talent you have when you don't have (insert Ivy League School) attached to your name. It's harder to get into an (Ivy League Grad School) when you didn't attend an (Ivy League School).

I'm sorry, but the current U.S. system is a piece of shit that screws over way too many people, and not just the poor. The middle class, especially the lower bracket gets absolutely fucked.

@ Bubbles, yes, yes I do. Middle Class kids. They aren't wealthy enough to afford the institution and not poor enough to get those kinds of scholarships, they get fucked.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:56 pm UTC

I suppose my knowledge of college admissions is far from universal, but I know that places like Stanford will only take up to 10% of your parents income for tuition on all households' earning less than $180,000/year (my numbers might be a tad off, but generally on point). I know many mid-range institutions aren't quite so generous, but most [populous] states have respectable forms of higher education, although I'd admit my views on this last point might be a tad skewed as California is exceptionally good when it comes to public college.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby MarshyMarsh » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:47 pm UTC

Well incase you haven't guessed, I too was/am being brought up on a council estate (allthough because the Tories allowed council housing to be brought privately most of the estate is private so I suppose you call it 'social housing') in a working class family. I am a fairly gifted student, my college is pressuring me to get into a respectable red brick and am being tutored along with some talented peers to get into Oxford/Cambridge (it sounds like a History Boys story but its true I swear it). I am not that worried about funding because if I did manage to get into either of the two they literally chuck money at the poor kids. However alot of the other Universities are not in such a priveledged situation, some such as Birmingham off up to £1000 per A level (1000 = A) in bursiaries i nthe first year, resulting in alot of people applying to get the money due to poor financial reasons. In my opinion I do not think you should pick a university based on how much money they offer you!

I suppose the solution to my problem would not be to give free funding to Uni students, but to offer Government sponsorships to Degrees which relate to high demand job sectors. I have been bombarded in Assemblies of how 'For every 1 Gifted/Able UK child there is 1200 Chinese Children', 'They are going to steal your jobs', 'If you don't work twice as hard you won't be a doctor', if the Western World wishes to compete with the eastern market of talented individuals then the governments need to start investing now!

Just to say I am not in any way saying the Eastern World getting the jobs in the west is a Bad thing, it is just the impression of what the schools are telling us at the moment.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Azrael » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:54 pm UTC

This thread has taken a turn. The title isn't "Lets gripe about college funding". Nor will I abide it to exist if it continues as such.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:56 pm UTC

I think that already the UK government subsidises degrees for jobs in demand like the sciences and engineering more than those which aren't in demand. This doesn't affect the cost to the student, but allows universities to buy laboratories and supplies as well as lecturers, whereas areas less in demand get less funding.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Sharlos » Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:12 am UTC

In Australia we have low interest government loans to pay for university fees. Once you have a job and begin earning a certain amount then you slowly pay that loan off by paying a bit extra in tax.

I think this method is better than 'free' education as everyone still has to pay for their degree but poorer people get to start paying it off once they can afford it.

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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:45 am UTC

Australia had free uni/college education from 1974-1985. We stopped it because it cost too much to fund, and the resources were being spread too thin. Consequently, the standard of education started to fall and it was getting to the point where some degrees weren't recognized overseas. The current system is you can get a government loan (HECS) if you've got a high enough score (think it's called different things in different states) for the degree, otherwise you can pay the fees up front (if you're an idiot but want to do engineering anyway then this is the way to go).

Thing is that this system relies on full-fee paying students to function, especially internationals (mostly Chinese and Indian, but smatterings from everywhere). The positive for me is that they are effectively paying for my education until I can pay off my debt sometime in the future (ie they are the university's cashflow). The negative for me is that they tend to get passed through subjects, irrespective of how well they did, because they are the university's cashflow. I personally see this as a net positive but some people beg to differ, usually those in degrees that are swamped with internationals.

I don't think higher education (i.e. beyond high school) should be free, but subsidizing is essential unless private individuals are willing to fund a LOT of scholarships. And I also think a lot of people shouldn't even finish high school... about a third of my friends are doing very well out of trades and if I thought I could be an electrician for a whole week without electrocuting myself I'd join them.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Dream » Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:14 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:The negative for me is that they tend to get passed through subjects, irrespective of how well they did, because they are the university's cashflow. I personally see this as a net positive but some people beg to differ, usually those in degrees that are swamped with internationals.
Doesn't that have the same effect on international recognition of degrees as the previous system? I mean if everyone is going back home half-qualified, it surely is noticed by postgraduate institutions abroad?
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:57 pm UTC

Dream wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:The negative for me is that they tend to get passed through subjects, irrespective of how well they did, because they are the university's cashflow. I personally see this as a net positive but some people beg to differ, usually those in degrees that are swamped with internationals.
Doesn't that have the same effect on international recognition of degrees as the previous system? I mean if everyone is going back home half-qualified, it surely is noticed by postgraduate institutions abroad?


Well, first of all most of them are going back to China and India... my uncle's second wife is Chinese. She did her degree in Electrical Engineering in China, then came to Australia and did her degree in Electrical Engineering again. But also I don't think it's as bad as I'm making out... this is just the way I hear it from the people who complain. I think the internationals get the education but they don't actually pass every subject. Either way the Australians are taught fine, or as well as could be expected considering all our institutions are a little young and underfunded to demand as much prestige as we would like.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Yakk » Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:44 pm UTC

Loans seem like a good idea. Loans being based off of your qualifications to enter the subject also seem like a good idea. Loans that are repaid via a tax system (but accounted for separately) have the neat property that if you get a highly subsidised education and then leave, they can get you to repay the cost of the education (as it has been accounted for as a debt).

There are downsides. When you decouple the price of education from what the consumer (who picks where to go) pays, the cost feedback loop breaks, and prices skyrocket.

Private Institutions want to be able to price discriminate on an individual "willingness to pay" level. They want someone who is rich to pay lots for the privileged of going there, and they want people who make/have less to pay less, etc. If you have looked at economics of monopolies, being able to charge everyone their marginal willingness to pay is the ideal situation for a monopoly -- it is pretty good for a competitive monopoly like a school with a brand name too!

Toss in things like loans guaranteed by the government for qualified applicants, and the school has lots of incentive to increase the effective tuition of those applicants by exactly the same amount that the loans are for.

I'm uncertain about the usefulness of doing means-testing. It leads to perverse incentives (in the US already, I've seen reports that saving for your kid's college education can have a negative return, based on government grants), which at a government level is something you should be paying attention to. It adds an entire layer of cost and paperwork in the actual means testing. It makes the system an issue of inter-class rivalry. And it can easily end up being pointless -- if the students are paying back their loans, lending it to people who could afford it without the loan (and happen to be more likely to be able to pay it back) isn't that horrid a thing.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby bigglesworth » Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:55 pm UTC

In the UK the price feedback loop is broken by price caps. The university can only charge you the amount the government loans you.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby Yakk » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:03 pm UTC

Can universities that don't accept publicly funded students exist? (That also breaks the price feedback loop -- a more expensive/higher quality university might be desired)
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby punkymonkey » Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:56 pm UTC

I think it is good to help pay for college for those with lower incomes.

In fact, I am one of the "poor" who si getting my school paid for. I get my tuition and books paid for in full every single semester, plus I also get back anywhere from $300-$400 to spend on whatever. (but this typically goes to paying bills, gas, food, etc.. which is what it's intended for).

I am a 24 yr old single mom who is tired of struggling and being at a dead end job. I have been working through a temp agency since being laid off from my previous dead end job (I can't find permanent placement). And I want more from life than this, not only for me, but moreso for my son actually.

I work full time, I raise my son on my own, I get NO child support, NO food stamps, NO cash assistance. The only thing I get is my school.Which, yes, is a lot. But my point is.. I'm not a government freeloader, as many people are these days. My only intention for school is purely to better myself and my life.

I think so long as that is your intention, then yes. You should be given a helping hand when you need it.
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Re: Helping the poor pay for college

Postby gmoney1 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:30 pm UTC

I think helping those who are not fortunate enough to be able to afford college is a great idea. Although as stated earlier, where is the cutoff? Because those right above that line will still find it very hard to afford. I am finding out it is going to be a good amount of work to pay for college and my family is not poor, we are just middle class. It is just so expensive to go to college here in the US.

I find it interesting that many people do want to go to college here, but can't afford it, or don't think they can so they don't. In my opinion, that should never be the case. We should get as many people as we can to go to college. But the problem is our country is in such a huge amount of debt that everything but education seems to be important right now. What a shame.


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