In an effort to see what the United States’s higher education system can learn from other countries, I plan to start covering more international higher education news. On that note, an article in today’s London Times reports that in order to ensure that students don’t have to take out more student loans during the economic crisis, the government is freezing tuition fees on undergraduate education for the next five years, in the face of opposition from universities:
Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of Bristol University, said that it would be unrealistic for universities to expect an increase in fee or other income in the current economic climate. “We must expect our income to flatten. In the past 12 years, income has risen by 10 per cent a year annually. Now we will have a situation where it will flatten, but we will still have the same cost base,” he said.
Note, however, that most UK universities are publicly-funded. This is in sharp contrast to the U.S. system, and I can’t imagine that changing any time soon. Nor, in light of the fact that I still believe that many of our higher education institutions are the best in the world, am I convinced that it should. Still, it’s something to think about considering our own government seems to prioritize making sure more loans are available than reducing the cost of education so we don’t need the loans in the first place.