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Thread: What Scotland learned from free college

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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    What Scotland learned from free college

    Bernie Sanders loves to talk about Denmark's liberal policies, including free higher education. But for his plan to make tuition free at public colleges, there's a better comparison: Scotland, which abolished tuition fees in 2000.

    "The effects of that decision are still under debate. Cheaper college meant students in Scotland were more likely to apply to college than students in England, where tuition was increasing, and they were more likely to study subjects that didn't promise a lucrative salary after graduation. The Scottish government claims its system is the most generous in the United Kingdom. But low-income students still end up with relatively high levels of student debt. So there are also questions about whether the free tuition policy really is as progressive as its supporters say."

    "College applications dropped by about 30 percent in England as tuition fees went up, and they rose by about 24 percent in Scotland after up-front fees were eliminated in 2001. Students in Scotland were much more likely to study subjects with worse prospects for income and employment after graduation. When they weren't paying to attend college, it seemed like money didn't matter as much when they were choosing a profession. If your goal is to get more students to enter public service and other lower-paying professions, then that might be a good result."

    "The main criticism of Scotland's free tuition is that it's regressive: Students still take on some debt to pay living expenses even though tuition is free. And the burden of that debt falls more heavily on poor students than others. Although students can get up to 7,250 per year (or $11,200) from the Scottish government to help fund their living expenses, most of that is in the form of loans, not grants. And perhaps because students from wealthier families find it easier to pay their living expenses without government help, students from poorer families are more likely to borrow."

    The most important question is whether the Pell Grant would continue to get significant political support in a world where college tuition is "free" or if the US, like Scotland, would begin pushing low-income students toward student loans.



    What Scotland learned from making college tuition free - Vox
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    Veteran Member Isalexi's Avatar
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    When Bernie Sanders lived in Brooklyn he could've gone to the city universities for nothing. The city universities in New York were fantastic
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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    College kids are not known for financial savvy and wisdom. Whether tuition is free or astronomically expensive, public colleges should not admit students to majors where jobs do not exist or are scarce.
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    Veteran Member Kontrary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    College kids are not known for financial savvy and wisdom. Whether tuition is free or astronomically expensive, public colleges should not admit students to majors where jobs do not exist or are scarce.
    Education is not just about getting a "job". While there has to be some limits on how many can be in a program at one time, we cant view education as only about "money", education has value well beyond getting a paycheck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    …they were more likely to study subjects that didn't promise a lucrative salary after graduation.
    A liberal arts education "trains you for nothing, and prepares you for everything."

    I guess it depends on whether you think the purpose of a college education is to train, or prepare.
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    Vexatious Correspondent Leo2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    College kids are not known for financial savvy and wisdom. Whether tuition is free or astronomically expensive, public colleges should not admit students to majors where jobs do not exist or are scarce.
    Much as it pains me to do so Madeline, I must respectfully disagree. The primary purpose of tertiary education is not the gaining of a job or a higher salary. Everyone, the individual and the society, gains from an advanced education. IMO, one of the big problems we have in society today stems from tens of thousands of people getting useless Baccalaureates and Masters in Business Administration and the like. It is likely that the proprietor of the local corner shop knows more about running a business than your average MBA.

    Further education is essentially further information, which helps eliminate urban myths and fears, which in turn reduces prejudice - particularly racial prejudice. And think how much more interesting society would be if you could discuss Nietzsche's theses in Beyond Good and Evil, or the symphonic works of Gustav Mahler, with the man who comes to mend your dishwasher.

    Education benefits society in innumerable ways, the least of which is the type of jobs, or the wage levels, it enables, and there should be no cost to any level of education for which one qualifies academically. And the arts are as important, if not more so, than the law, engineering, or medicine, and incomparably more so than accounting or business administration.
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    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrary View Post
    Education is not just about getting a "job". While there has to be some limits on how many can be in a program at one time, we cant view education as only about "money", education has value well beyond getting a paycheck.
    If so, students must be warned -- repeatedly. And I do not agree that you can argue the glut of law schools and students, e.g., has some intrinsic value for society or the students apart from employment.

    We need to spend public funds teaching our kids skills they can support themselves with, such as skilled trades.

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    Veteran Member Kontrary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    If so, students must be warned -- repeatedly. And I do not agree that you can argue the glut of law schools and students, e.g., has some intrinsic value for society or the students apart from employment.

    We need to spend public funds teaching our kids skills they can support themselves with, such as skilled trades.
    I think all education has intrinsic value, including a law education (whether the person becomes a lawyer or not), knowing how policy is built, the rationale behind it and the continual clash of rights and interests and how best to solve them is VERY VALUABLE beyond a job.

    I do think all students know that a degree is not some guarantee for anything regarding income or jobs.

    While the state is going to have to face limitations on how many people they can educate in an area at one time, the state cant force (nor should they) people to use their education as the public might want them to. They can get a degree in one thing and end up doing something else entirely for a paycheck.

    Human development and quality of life are important, education is a very big part of that!
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    ~Standing My Ground~ Sassy's Avatar
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    Women used to get an education even though they had no plans to need it for a career.

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    Established Member Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kontrary View Post
    Education is not just about getting a "job". While there has to be some limits on how many can be in a program at one time, we cant view education as only about "money", education has value well beyond getting a paycheck.
    Often it DOES turn out that a major not seen as " meal Ticket" can go very well. Meanwhile.. some Meal Ticket stuff can go obsolete faster than expected.
    I went to a JC in California where once a resident.. tuition was free. I shared a nice Apt across the street. My share of rent was $40 ...and that includes utilities. I could work part time and get enough $. One year I worked Swing shift driving fork lift.. Union Scale... I had more $ but less study time and my grades slipped. Next year.. I worked with my roommates at a Drive in Theatre including the weekend Flea Market. Less $ but more time for school. My GPA went up. Back then..... for $1 you could get a pound of hamburger, a gallon of gas and a pack of Cigarettes.
    Anyhow.....Cali invested in EDUCATION and became a BIG economy.

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