Monday, June 02, 2014

England, Scotland & Mr Pyne’s proposals

Just following up on my discussion (Credential creep, the economics of education, with a dash of contract breaking or (alternatively) retrospective taxation, Over-reach: deregulation, fees and university education)  on the higher education budget changes. The UK has been cited as an influence on Mr Pyne’s thinking. This Wikipedia article gives you a slightly indigestible summary of the UK position. With devolution, the charging position varies to a degree between the different parts of the UK. This will give you an entry point for the position in Scotland where fees are lower for Scots. You can follow this site through to other parts of the UK to see what the position is there; it appears a good site.

There are several differences between the UK and the Australian proposals, but a few broad comments.

In the UK, the ability of universities to increase fees appears to have been capped at 9,000 pounds. Fees promptly increased to the capped price, in part (I think) because of the way it the scheme was introduced with cuts to university resources at the same time.

According to this Guardian piece, the 2012 UK changes have so far not disadvantaged lower income students. The UK loan scheme is structured to garner more from higher income earners. It also includes payments for living costs. That would greatly help student mobility in Australia. 

Finally, a Scottish kid seems to be in a much better position than an English kid when it comes to getting a university education. But then that’s been true for five hundred years!

I emphasise that these are not expert comments, just observations.      


Anonymous said...

I thought the Guardian piece pretty simplistic, notwithstanding the visually well-presented data. As you point out, the UK system extends to living costs. Their whole welfare system is structured differently from here and there are different background factors in the economy as well.

Jim Belshaw said...

I think those are fair points, marcellous. The analysis is simplistic, (mind you so was mine!) and there has not been enough time to assess. It will be interesting to look again in about five years time.

Still that idea of allowing students to borrow on the same terms for living costs is interesting. It sounds much better in possibly breaking the cycle of disadvantage.