Third and Fourth Level Education

The challenges facing public universities in the United States have some parallels here –  Pete Orszag has a Bloomberg article here.

This research article highlights that there is a widening earnings gap between primary degree holders and postgraaduate degree holders.

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Meanwhile, the Irish Government has cut the Gordian Knot of rising education costs and free third level fees by simply capping the student numbers, or at least proposing to. It’s not an entirely outlandish suggestion, but as the second link reveals, it will have major consequences for the future incomes of Irish school leavers and indeed the whole country.

In the US, the credit bubble created a kind of tuition fee boom, with fees and indeed places rising as lenders became ever more profligate with loans. This lead to heavy student debt, and ultimately the Occupy (Wall Street) movement. In effect, the current generation of student have already begun to face problems, but more interestingly have already begun to respond to them.

We are living in interesting times.

“The present situation for college kids is so uninspiring, we should experiment aggressively to find the best ways to improve it.”

Well said!

When the median annnual wage in a country is just $26,000, it should hardly be surprising that earnings of primary degree holders would be also eroded over time.

There are efforts to game the system by raising minimum educational requirements.

The New York Times reported last month that for decades, a bachelor’s degree was all that was required to become a pharmacist. That changed in 2004 when a doctorate replaced the bachelor’s degree as the minimum needed to practice. Physical therapists once needed only bachelor’s degrees, too, but the profession will require doctorates of all students by 2015 – – the same year that nursing leaders intend to require doctorates of all those becoming nurse practitioners.

In the US, currently, most schools operate two 14-week semesters (plus part-time summer study), a utilisation of a mere 50% of the year – –  similar to Ireland.

Michael Lewis writes on California in the Nov 2011 issue of Vanity Fair: “In 2010, for instance, the state spent $6bn on fewer than 30,000 guards and other prison-system employees. A prison guard who started his career at the age of 45 could retire after five years with a pension that very nearly equaled his former salary. The head parole psychiatrist for the California prison system was the state’s highest-paid public employee; in 2010 he’d made $838,706. The same fiscal year that the state spent $6bn on prisons, it had invested just $4.7bn in its higher education – – that is, 33 campuses with 670,000 students. Over the past 30 years the state’s share of the budget for the University of California has fallen from 30% to 11%, and it is about to fall a lot more. In 1980 a Cal student paid $776 a year in tuition; in 2011 he pays $13,218. Everywhere you turn, the long-term future of the state is being sacrificed.”

“a widening earnings gap between primary degree holders and postgraaduate degree holders.”

It’s more of less institutionalised in the public service here.

For the first time last year I taught on an MA course and, whilst the general standard and level of interest was high, I was puzzled by a number of students whose attendance was sporadic, contribution to seminars desultory and written work mediocre. Why would you spend a relatively large amount of money to do a course you appeared to have no interest in?

And then I talked to one of them, and found out: he intended doing a HDip after the MA, and since teachers are rewarded to the tune of c $2,000 extra pa if they have a PG degree, he reckoned the extra year would be recompensed by extra earnings within a few years. A worthwhile investment, and he had chosen my subject – not remotely relevant to secondary school teaching in this state – because it was reckoned to be relatively undemanding. I since discovered that at least one other of the slackers was following the same career path.

@MH: “The New York Times reported last month that for decades, a bachelor’s degree was all that was required to become a pharmacist. That changed in 2004 when a doctorate replaced the bachelor’s degree as the minimum needed to practice. Physical therapists once needed only bachelor’s degrees, too, but the profession will require doctorates of all students by 2015 – – the same year that nursing leaders intend to require doctorates of all those becoming nurse practitioners.”

This reads like a Force Majeur tactic, to incease the incomes of the relevant colleges. Fine, until students cannot, or will not get loans – and those that can may never repay, and cannot file for bankruptcy under the existing rules with respect to ‘student’ loans’. Parents incomes and savings will only stretch so far.

What about the pilot who told his passengers (a her would never do this!) ” Welcome aboard. This is your captain speaking. I got first class honours and first in my class, in all my theory subjects – but I kinda got a sort of a compensatory pass in Take-offs and Landings.” 😉

Brian.

Total student loans outstanding in the USA – via CNBC GOP debate last night (which probably requires a health warning) is …

~One Trillion Dollars.

Anyone confirm?

South Korea has one of the highest rates of  25-34 year old populations having a tertiary education, at almost 60%.

In response to high graduate unemployment, President Lee says the rate is too high.

The government is investing in vocational schools designed to put young people on a career track without going to college. “Reckless entrance into college,” Lee said, is “bringing huge losses to households and the country alike.”

Ireland’s rate is 44%; it is 23% in Germany and 19% in Austria.

In Sept, Austria had the lowest unemployment rate in Europe: 3.9%.

“Ireland’s rate is 44%; it is 23% in Germany and 19% in Austria.
In Sept, Austria had the lowest unemployment rate in Europe: 3.9%.”
Correlation meet your distant relative causation.

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