Students at better universities should pay higher fees, a recent report from the London School of Economics concluded.
Analysing two decades of former students’ salaries, the report found that students from leading universities would earn £35,207 more over their professional lives than students from lower-ranked universities, despite earning the same marks for the same degree, and coming from similar family backgrounds.
The report reads: “Such evidence suggests that there is some justice in requiring graduates to contribute to the cost of their university education, and in allowing different universities to charge different fees.” With professors at top universities commanding higher salaries, the report reasons, as well as the higher average earning power that comes with a top name university degree, students should have to pay more to get more.
The Telegraph reported last week that Lord Patten, Oxford Chancellor, “called for the “intolerable” £3,000-a-year cap on tuition fees to be lifted.” The cap will be reviewed next year by the Government, who is battling with Oxbridge to equalize the number of state school entrants with that of public school entrants, a objective with Lord Patten called in the article “a fool’s mission”. He continued: “Can there be a middle-class objection to higher fees? It is surely a mad world in which parents or grandparents are prepared to shell out tens of thousands of pounds to put their children through private schools to get them into universities, and then object to them paying a tuition fee of more than £3,000 when they are there.”
In the United States, where private universities are free to set their fees, the financial crisis has caused panic with parents who have invested in the market to save money for college tuitions that can exceed $40,000. Harvard University’s price of admission this year, including room and board (which is compulsory in most American universities for at least part of your degree), is $47,215, despite the fact that Harvard has the world’s largest university endowment. Many of the State’s most expensive universities do operate on a needs-blind admissions policy, meaning that there is no cap on how many students who qualify for subsidized fees in each year. Over 50% of Princeton University’s Class of 2011 received some form of financial aid.
Despite the gap in fees in the two nation’s top universities, America’s Ivy League and Britain’s Oxbridge continually battle for first place in university rankings lists, with little evidence that either system definitively produces better students.