Saturday, September 20

Competition costs threaten universities

This article is quite thought provoking, specially with respect to university funding and the future of tertiary education in the country. I quote some snippets:

Standard & Poor’s warns of “certain universities ceasing to exist”, because their high spending will reduce financial viability by depressing credit ratings. S&P says students are increasingly demanding such luxuries as en-suite accommodation and broadband connections. “For these reasons, we have seen many of our rated clients pursue significant capital programmes, sometimes requiring substantial debt issues.”

Of course, they are providing a service. You are going to charge the full whack of fees to the external students and then you are going to put them up in a place which is full of cockroaches? are you mad? No way, if I am going to spend thousands per year on my education, I want the quality which goes with it. And its not like I cannot get my education elsewhere, I can very well go to the USA, Australia or elsewhere where the facilities are better.

One of the roots of the push for international students is the UK’s worsening demographics. S&P notes official forecasts that by 2020 there will be 16 per cent fewer 18-year-olds in the UK. This could force universities to look increasingly abroad.

But the agency draws a distinction between “the newer, less research-oriented universities”, which are “more likely” to feel the demographic pinch, and “leading universities”, which will continue enjoy strong “demand” from UK pupils.

Interesting pressures, no?


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