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Foolish views on education finance are stuck in 1848
Financial Times FT.com
Published: May 8 2009 03:00 | Last updated: May 8 2009
From Mr Tim Curtin.
Sir, I was surprised by your editorial "Caps and gowns" (May 1), with
reversion to pre-1848 views on educational finance. John Stuart Mill was
first to see the social value of an educated population, in his textbook
1848. Then, when not even 10 per cent of English children received any
schooling, let alone access to higher education, he called for
schooling, on the basis of the social benefits that would accrue to the
if its government could grasp this.
Most of the world has moved on but not the FT, with its insistence
tertiary education must be self-funded. Offering government loans with
without subsidised interest rates does not mean that fees for tertiary
under your plan cease to be self-funded, and thereby, if price has any
demand, result in lower output of graduates than otherwise.
It is therefore a foolish government (and FT) that cannot grasp that
is undeniable, tertiary graduates as a whole earn far more over their
than those without degrees or equivalent, then ineluctably it also
they also pay more tax (of all kinds, income tax, national insurance,
their higher income than that of their less well-educated peers.
I am far from being alone in showing that the extra taxes paid by
over their lifetimes vis C3A0 vis the taxes paid by non-graduates far
paltry per-student sums ever expended by any British government on those
Truly, it is only ignorant governments and newspapers that justify
restricting access to higher education by imposing fees with or without
Mill would excoriate you as much as he did those, when he was in
in the 1860s, who opposed the introduction of free state schooling.
Spence, ACT, Australia
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