Author Topic: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.  (Read 278 times)

New World

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The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« on: August 08, 2017, 10:22:10 AM »
It had long been an aspiration of NuLabour to shoehorn over 50% of school leavers into higher education, knowing full well the cost would be astranomical, and would inevitably have to fall on the graduates themeslves and not the tax payer. Many applauded the policy, as it as marketed as a way into higher education for those who had previously been denied it.

The crucial question as to whether or not it was necessary was never really asked. certainly not as often as it should have been. Also, the question of what would be the consequences for the job market, wages, and personal debt levels was also skilfully avoided by politicians in both main parties and their accomplices at the BBC who continued to trumpet the policy as some great exercise in social mobility.

Any retrospective thoughts on how the whole thing has gone? Does anyone hand on heart feel that a degree in 'Gender studies' is worth £50K of debt??

bababarararacucucudadada

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2017, 11:39:42 AM »
A degree is worth its weight in gold whatever the subject it is in. In fact in many ways the actual subject itself is largely irrelevant but looking at it in strict financial terms applied to an individual is entirely erroneous. The fact that the debate is so often framed this way shows how far to the right the orthodoxy has shifted.

For me fundamentally the question to be addressed should be "how can our population ever be too educated?" to which the only answer is "it cannot" therefore a 50% target is irrelevant.

Our youth should all be aspiring to be as good as it can be and before everything else comes education and the more educated people are the more choices they ultimately have.

Denying education simply reinforces social immobility and ring-fences privilege. The upper/middle classes sussed this years ago and they are very successful at bagging university places for their offspring and the benefit it bestows is why they do it.

Conversely making university education expensive obviously excludes some from going and reinforces them-and-us thinking. It actually validates a contempt for the educated: "look at that fucking mug with £50K of debt - never worked in his life" etc. Micheal Gove's recent dismissal of experts is a perfect case in point despite it being obvious nonsense because you wouldn't want anybody less than expert performing brain surgery or bomb disposal or bridge building or account filing, would you?

The current orthodox thinking on this is all completely wrong for start to finish.

New World

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 12:00:27 PM »
I get ya...but it's not that simple..

A degree is not alwas worth its weight in gold. If everyone (or vast numbers of people) have degrees, then automatically the value of the qualifaction is devalued somewhat. It's a simple equation. If there is an abundance of eggs in the market, then the unit value per egg goes down. If 200 people applying for a mid level offie job have degree's, then the interview programme becomes complex and scewed, and the value and relevance of the individuals qualifications are reduced as they are chosen on other attributes which only manifest at interview, and are nothing to do with their education.

Additionaly, a degree is not always the hallmark of a good all round education, or even actual ablity to do a job. There are a plethora of complex reasons why many perfectly intelligent and capable people don't go into higher education. If they find themselves on the reject pile when applyng for jobs, just because they don't have a degree in sociology from the university of Bristol, then that is both unfair and short sighted. A case in point, recently I was helping with some factory acceptance tests on a robotics system at a company near Cambridge, from whom we are buying millions of dollars worth of kit from. The testing manager there was telling me that they have a policy of not employing anyone permenantly without a degree. A policy he disagreed with. He referred to someone who had recently temped with them after completing their A levels. He had no intention of going to university, due to anxiety caused by his ASD, but in his time a the company had revealed himself to be a brilliant self taught coder - something of a stand out prodigy, with a fairly incidental A level in computer studies. He had expressed a wish to work for the company; something his colleagues applauded and would have welcolmed had it not been for the company's non negotiable policy of not employing anyone with less than a degree. He also referred to someone taken on two years ago with a Msc in engineering, who was subsequently sacked for racial abuse and an appalling work ethic.

bababarararacucucudadada

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 12:13:14 PM »
Anecdotal evidence is not evidence at all. There will always be stand-out examples about anything in any given sphere. So what?

You are still applying simple supply/demand economic thinking to the matter in question and you should not be.

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." —Albert Einstein
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 12:15:04 PM by bababarararacucucudadada »

New World

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2017, 12:29:00 PM »
Anecdotal evidence is not evidence at all. There will always be stand-out examples about anything in any given sphere. So what?

You are still applying simple supply/demand economic thinking to the matter in question and you should not be.

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." —Albert Einstein

It can actually be the most convincing evidence there is, when you experience it or hear about it. The problem is you can't validate and numerically quantify thousands of anecdotal claims, making it a good excuse to dismiss them in favour of presenting a politically distorted picture using numeric values alone..  ;)

My general point is that a good education can take many forms, and doesn't have to come froma university with a high price tag. I would concede that if you want to work in astrophysics or medicine, then you will need the relevent higher educational credentials, but with a natural affinity for say IT, or engineering, an apprenticeship and the opportunity to prove oneself should be sufficient.

As for it being more than just about getting jobs, I agree. It should be about doing what's best for society in measurable terms. The high level claim that it is a no brainer to arm as many people as possible with degrees is caveated to hell. How do we measure and quanitfy the benefits to society - if any -  of thousands of people who have degrees but are contributing in ways that are not relevant to their education, or not actually contributing at all in some cases?

bababarararacucucudadada

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2017, 12:37:26 PM »
Of course anecdotal evidence is powerful. It is also meaningless. It is why politicians like it so much. Never mind the facts let's just go with something that confirms our gut feeling.

There is a vast amount wrong with your entire take on the issue. We do not need to quantify the benefit. Pointless trying to. Everything a person does leads them to their current position and university is only one way to achieve this but it opens them up to thoughts, experiences, ideas, people, concepts and opportunities that they would probably never encounter in a workplace.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 12:42:03 PM by bababarararacucucudadada »

Je

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2017, 04:57:57 PM »
I get amazed how the students... who like me live near a Sainsbury's local... where everything is jacked up in price... don't have the brains to walk slightly further to a proper shop and buy everything for much less. They go in there and accumulate their debt I presume.

I bought some sandwiches end-of-day reduced from £2.70 to 20p... two slices of bread for £2.70. Some people must pay that. I pondered whether they were even worth 20p... they had some chicken in them. It was a 50/50 decision.

50K debt... their choice...
« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 05:04:03 PM by Je »

Natural Mystic

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2017, 10:22:46 PM »
I'm with you new world

bababarararacucucudadada

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 11:30:54 PM »
I get amazed how the students... who like me live near a Sainsbury's local... where everything is jacked up in price... don't have the brains to walk slightly further to a proper shop and buy everything for much less. They go in there and accumulate their debt I presume.

I bought some sandwiches end-of-day reduced from £2.70 to 20p... two slices of bread for £2.70. Some people must pay that. I pondered whether they were even worth 20p... they had some chicken in them. It was a 50/50 decision.

50K debt... their choice...

Upto £10K tuition fees for a year. 3 years. £30k.

In Plymouth a studenty bedsit costs around £85/week (much more expensive in most of the country). 40 weeks @ £85 = £3400 per year. 3 years? Call it £10K. £40K in total so far.

That leaves £10K for 3 years to pay for travel, books, beer, sandwiches. That's about £80/wk.

I think the odd few pence on a sandwich is neither here nor there.

Je

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2017, 08:48:03 AM »
That leaves £10K for 3 years to pay for travel, books, beer, sandwiches. That's about £80/wk.


and £2.70 a pop for the sandwiches?

Je

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2017, 09:16:37 AM »
Quote
Universities and colleges providing higher education can charge up to £9,000 a year for their courses.

Thinking of courses I did - its laughable that they might cost that much.


Quote

What’s a Maintenance Loan?

A Maintenance Loan helps towards your living costs, such as food, rent and books.

The amount you can borrow depends on your household income, your course and where you live and study.

You can get up to £6,904 a year if you live with your parents.

You can get up to £8,200 a year if you live away from home and study outside London.

You can get up to £10,702 a year if you live away from home and study in London.

You can get up to £9,391 a year if you study overseas as part of your course.

This is the explanation here. £2.70 for a couple of slices of bread is indeed neither here nor there for someone living at home who gets

£6,904/52 =£132 a week

That compared to Jobseekers allowance for a single person under age 25 years = £57.90 per week.

They're loaded. Less so depending on the rent. But living at home - absolutely loaded.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-support-for-full-time-students-of-higher-education-in-2016-to-2017/financial-support-for-full-time-students-of-higher-education-in-2016-to-2017

oake

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2017, 09:47:18 AM »

That compared to Jobseekers allowance for a single person under age 25 years = £57.90 per week.

They're loaded. Less so depending on the rent. But living at home - absolutely loaded.

You think it's valid to compare a loan that has to be paid back with Jobseekers allowance, which doesn't?

Strange logic.

And what do you understand by the words "up to"?

Je

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2017, 11:03:43 AM »
You think it's valid to compare a loan that has to be paid back with Jobseekers allowance, which doesn't?

Strange logic.

And what do you understand by the words "up to"?

If you look at the page it tells you - the amount is dependent on parental income.

Its a fair comparison - two single people the same age. Students get double what unemployed people are deemed to need. So you can understand why they might want to be students - if that's the alternative.

Under the new Universal Credit people who are sanctioned and have NO money to live on can apply for a hardship payment - 30 odd pounds a week... that's a loan and you don't have to be earning 21K to pay it back. It comes off your benefits if you start getting the whole amount again. Students get more than 4x what those people are expected to live on.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/sanctions/hardship-payment/

There's a clear financial incentive in all that to become a student is there not? Quite apart from the hassle. of doing 35 hours a week job search, the threat of sanctions, indignity of signing on etc. 8 hours a week studying (and that's all my degree was) and double the money sounds much better... a debt you only have to pay back when you're earning over £21K and eventually gets written off...
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 11:10:51 AM by Je »

Je

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2017, 11:28:20 AM »

Any retrospective thoughts on how the whole thing has gone? Does anyone hand on heart feel that a degree in 'Gender studies' is worth £50K of debt??

If you're a student who is never going to earn enough to have to pay the debt back - then that degree is worth doing. For you it is - any degree is.

The question should be... should society be underwriting 50K of debt for someone to do these degrees. Is it of that much benefit to society for society to pay 50K plus interest for someone to do that?

I'd say its ridiculous. You want to learn about gender studies - grab a few books and teach yourself.  But from the student's point of view it may make perfect sense. And for the institutions who provide this 'education' - they're rolling in it...

« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 11:33:32 AM by Je »

Je

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Re: The great university Ponzi scheme scandal.
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2017, 11:52:20 AM »
Je's free-university Gender Studies Course

Course steps:

A) go to library and borrow gender studies books

B) go talk to everyone you know about gender

C) go online and look for gender related forums and articles. Read avidly, participate.

D) dress up in opposite sex clothes for a bit: borrow your sister's/mother's/father's. Try not to get beaten up if a guy.

E) Create a novel questionairre on some aspect of gender.

F) Stand in street and ask people the questions.

G) Write paper based on results and send to whatever professional journal might take a gender studies paper.

H) Mentally award yourself a life-experience certificate, particularly if you got beat up.

If you passed (got a paper published) you're way ahead of those who do the degree...

Charge: £0



« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 12:08:27 PM by Je »