Why is education so expensive? Watch

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ThomH97
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The average salary for a lecturer is £39,000. The average number of students per lecturer is about 17. On average lecturers will lecture for 20 hours a week (and prepare for about the same) and students typically have 14 hours week.

So 17 students are paying for 14 twentieths of each lecturer's salary, meaning for each lecturer, or for each 17 students, the university is making an extra £180k. This is an obscene margin. A mere 18% of income from tuition fees is spent on tuition. Yes there are other costs, such as admin, facilities, chemicals/lasers, libraries, societies but clearly there is a lot of room for reduction. For a typical group of 17 students, they'd each be paying £1.6k to their lecturers, the extra is going elsewhere.

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If students are paying for one hour a week and lecturers are working for five, then you would have money from 5 students going to 1 lecturer. i.e. you multiply the amount paid by the students.

17 students at (approx) £9k is £153k. Times 20/14 is £219k. Minus the lecturer's salary is £180k.

20 groups of 17 students can be taught by 14 lecturers for a full timetable. 14 x 39k is 546k salaries, split between 340 students is £1.6k

Feel free to check my maths



Obviously the term 'tuition fees' is for convenience and doesn't dictate that it must all be spent on tuition, but are you surprised that such a small proportion goes to the lecturers?
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999tigger
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Why dont you review the university accounts and point out to us how you could run a uni better. You do realise there are other costs than just lecturers....
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ParentalAdvisory
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I've not done any research but my gut feel is that you're down playing all the other costs. They will be massive.

There was a news story recently about how much some of the senior staff at some of the big universities are earning. Those people don't come cheap!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-40493658

"Last week, Mr Johnson warned against university leaders being paid excessive salaries - with some vice-chancellors earning over £400,000."
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ThomH97
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Why dont you review the university accounts and point out to us how you could run a uni better. You do realise there are other costs than just lecturers....
Yes, and I've stated several but lecturers' time is the main thing the students are receiving, yet only 18% of their money is going to them.
(Original post by ParentalAdvisory)
I've not done any research but my gut feel is that you're down playing all the other costs. They will be massive.

There was a news story recently about how much some of the senior staff at some of the big universities are earning. Those people don't come cheap!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-40493658

"Last week, Mr Johnson warned against university leaders being paid excessive salaries - with some vice-chancellors earning over £400,000."
My point was the other costs shouldn't be massive. Or that the money to pay for those things should come from elsewhere. A vice-chancellor on £400k is a good place to start with reducing costs (and this goes to 999tigger too).
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BigYoSpeck
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Because it's prices are not dictated by a free market economy, they are non-competitively fixed. When supermarkets and corporations do it it's a crime but when national services which have been farmed off to the private sector do it apparently it's fine.

Tuition fees are neither the result of free market capitalism or of socialism, they are an noncompetitive dominion.

I don't really want to see education unleashed to the free market for prices, I want all people to be able to afford an education at Oxbridge if they deserve to on merit.

I also don't really believe that higher education being completely free practically works as I know the financial burden motivates me.

But the extortionate, anti-competitive, price fixed system is wrong.
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paul514
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There are all sorts of facilities fees as well however students are simply paying large amounts towards the research the university does which contributes little towards the students education.

I very much disagree with students funding this.


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PTMalewski
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(Original post by BigYoSpeck)

I also don't really believe that higher education being completely free practically works as I know the financial burden motivates me.
It would work, if properly planned and with certain limitations.

Btw. note that even the fees don't stop people who don't have resources for living, for picking courses after which they won't get a job.


(Original post by ThomH97)

Obviously the term 'tuition fees' is for convenience and doesn't dictate that it must all be spent on tuition, but are you surprised that such a small proportion goes to the lecturers?
You forget about other costs, like electricity, uni facilities, equipment which students use, plus other staff, eg. cleaning service.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by ThomH97)
Yes, and I've stated several but lecturers' time is the main thing the students are receiving, yet only 18% of their money is going to them.


My point was the other costs shouldn't be massive. Or that the money to pay for those things should come from elsewhere. A vice-chancellor on £400k is a good place to start with reducing costs (and this goes to 999tigger too).
There is staff beyond lecturers, most obviously your admin work, but then you have cleaners, security, Porters, research assistants, library staff, student welfare staff, health and safety related staff such as fire officers.

Especially at older universities upkeep costs and depreciation will be significant. Costs to employers go beyond wages, you also have NI to factor in and pensions (for Cambridge pensions are nearly 10% of expenditure).

Try looking at the accounts before saying that the cost to the university are tiny.
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ByEeek
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It's a fair point and one I have often pondered. My own world of software engineering sees under grads spend 20-25 hours of contact time over 3 years. Many graduate and are unemployable. I can't help but feel the same level of training could be achieved much more cheaply if done in 40 hours a week for one year.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by ByEeek)
It's a fair point and one I have often pondered. My own world of software engineering sees under grads spend 20-25 hours of contact time over 3 years. Many graduate and are unemployable. I can't help but feel the same level of training could be achieved much more cheaply if done in 40 hours a week for one year.
Those other 20 hours should be spent on independent learning, whether that be reviewing what was covered in the lectures/seminars/tutorials, doing exercises for practice, reading beyond what is covered to improve understanding or whatever; University students aren't in school anymore and shouldn't need their hand holding, they certainly won't have their hand held after graduation.

If they're "unemployable" no amount of contact hours can change it because it's a problem with the individual.

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ByEeek
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
If they're "unemployable" no amount of contact hours can change it because it's a problem with the individual.

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Nah. They are unemployable because they have too much theoretical and academic knowledge and not enough practical skills suitable for industry. But if it costs £27k + costs for a degree I can easily see how you can achieve more for less in an intensive one year.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Nah. They are unemployable because they have too much theoretical and academic knowledge and not enough practical skills suitable for industry. But if it costs £27k + costs for a degree I can easily see how you can achieve more for less in an intensive one year.
If they lack practical experience then it's a problem for them and more contact hours won't fix that. If they lack practical experience why not use the non contact hours to take that theoretical knowledge and do something practical with it? It allows them to demonstrate practical experience when they graduate and it should look good in that it shows they've used their time wisely instead of going to the pub by building a portfolio beyond what is expected of them.

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ByEeek
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
If they lack practical experience then it's a problem for them and more contact hours won't fix that. If they lack practical experience why not use the non contact hours to take that theoretical knowledge and do something practical with it? It allows them to demonstrate practical experience when they graduate and it should look good in that it shows they've used their time wisely instead of going to the pub by building a portfolio beyond what is expected of them.

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I'm not really prepared to argue the toss about what one hypothetical person should or shouldn't do during their degree. The point still stands. Most Computer Science graduates are not suitable for the world of work, mainly because university does not prepare them for the world of work. I believe that a one year full time (40 hours a week) intensive training course could be provided for a fraction of the cost (the title of this thread) compared to the £27k+ it costs to get a degree that isn't fit for purpose in the bigger world.
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BigYoSpeck
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(Original post by ByEeek)
I'm not really prepared to argue the toss about what one hypothetical person should or shouldn't do during their degree. The point still stands. Most Computer Science graduates are not suitable for the world of work, mainly because university does not prepare them for the world of work. I believe that a one year full time (40 hours a week) intensive training course could be provided for a fraction of the cost (the title of this thread) compared to the £27k+ it costs to get a degree that isn't fit for purpose in the bigger world.
An intense, industry based curriculum will prepare a person better than a computer science degree for the purposes most software companies would need a programmer.

You'll get a person who can produce production ready code to a higher standard and with more general work ready skills that way yes.

But they would likely miss on the theoretical aspects a computer science degree teaches, and the general research and critical thinking skills that can be applied to any discipline not just computer science.

You're average person who just wants to be a programmer at some company putting out code is going to find the bulk of a computer science degree superfluous. But if you're interested in the science part of computer science I think university is the right place for that.
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Nah. They are unemployable because they have too much theoretical and academic knowledge and not enough practical skills suitable for industry. But if it costs £27k + costs for a degree I can easily see how you can achieve more for less in an intensive one year.
Then if they did not intend to go for academic career, someone was shortsighted here. My buddy who graduated from computer science, claimed that amount of maths during his studies would make one cry, but he learned, largely with own effort, how to prepare working software to a level on which he could prepare commercially useful software on his own. The only problem is, that after two years in industry, he still earns only as much as a forklift driver...

I think that universtities should do more just to make students think about their future and put more effort just for their own sake, but it doesn't feel exactly right that even huge companies of the western advanced economies are reluctant to employ someone even with computer science degree. Even if such person lacks practical skills, they should be able to afford hiring him for a payed appretinceship.
I could even work for free for some time, but it would certainly be helpful if the company provided me with just some money, so I don't have to take another job same time only to have something to eat.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by BigYoSpeck)
An intense, industry based curriculum will prepare a person better than a computer science degree for the purposes most software companies would need a programmer.

You'll get a person who can produce production ready code to a higher standard and with more general work ready skills that way yes.

But they would likely miss on the theoretical aspects a computer science degree teaches, and the general research and critical thinking skills that can be applied to any discipline not just computer science.

You're average person who just wants to be a programmer at some company putting out code is going to find the bulk of a computer science degree superfluous. But if you're interested in the science part of computer science I think university is the right place for that.
You've missed my point. For people interested in studying computer science, that is fine. But the minimum cost is £27k. My point is that training for a career in software could be achieved in one year at substancially less cost. And I would include critical thinking and problem solving to boot.
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joyoustele
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Well us British hate good when we see it. People could have elected Jeremy corbyn, who would have taken away these tuitions fees, a major step for cheaper education.
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BigYoSpeck
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(Original post by ByEeek)
You've missed my point. For people interested in studying computer science, that is fine. But the minimum cost is £27k. My point is that training for a career in software could be achieved in one year at substancially less cost. And I would include critical thinking and problem solving to boot.
No I'm agreeing with your point about industrial experience trumping university experience, but with a caveat of the science aspect of the subject, which you agreed with in return.

A computer science degree won't make you an employable programmer for the majority of jobs on the industry. That point of yours I agree with.

I just add the caveat that if you want to work at the forefront of the computing field and not just another programmer turning out code, then university is the place for that. Google sponsor people doing PhD's because they recognise that fact:

http://uk.businessinsider.com/deepmi...versity-2017-1

But if your goal isn't that lofty, then a 3 year bachelor of science wouldn't prepare you as well as a 40 hour a week, hands on year in the actual industry. You don't need to be in a classroom for that, only the more abstract theoretical side of the field.
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chazwomaq
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I'm not sure you calculations are all that accurate (lecturers costs more than just their salary, for example), but I actually agree with your general point.

This is a hot topic here and in America where the costs of university spiral ever higher. And many argue that the reason is "administrative bloat" - while faculty numbers remain similar, admin numbers increase.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/06/...dministrators/

http://www.chronicle.com/article/Adm...&utm_medium=en

I am governor of a school where roughly 2/3 of budget is for teaching staff. Admin staff cost perhaps a sixth of teaching staff.

At my university, by contrast, we have more non academic than academic staff!
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MyMagicEyebrow
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Because we live in a country run by a government that values short-term financial rewards over investment and social mobility.
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