Cap on tuition fees 'should be scrapped'

Unattributed, BBC News, Mar 04, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

More calls to raise tuition fees, this time in Britain. "Ministers are 'retarding the natural development of higher education' with the current cap," says the Adam Smith Institute... Capping fees artificially increases the demand for places and causes students to value their education less." The proposition is that there is a "natural" level for university tuition, which is presumably what it would cost without government support for educational institutional institutions. Of course, such a "natural level" is a complete fabrication, a rate that would be calculated to draw a wealthy elite into a networking and learning environment uncontaminated by poor people (which becomes, in the "natural" state, part of the value proposition). Perhaps someone should remind the Adam Smith Institute of other "natural" events its policy of non-intervention would allow to progress unchecked: cholera epidemics, crime, widespread famine, protection rackets, slavery, natural disasters, wildfires, and economic depression. Education, like other social goods, requires government support, and the absence of that support is keenly felt throughout society.
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