Have UK universities turned into a cash grab? Watch

Redza1
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Seeing how pretty much anyone can go to university now, have UK universities simply turned into a business industry for the government and finance companies to make as much money as possible?
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Axiomasher
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To an extent, yes, in the era of capitalism everything that can be monetised will be.
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Miss Maddie
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The *****y ones have. They give a second rate degree at £9k a time. Profit = at least £7.5k
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PQ
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
The *****y ones have. They give a second rate degree at £9k a time. Profit = at least £7.5k
Can you give an example?
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by PQ)
Can you give an example?
Dance Performance at Bucks New University. Photography at Trinity St David. All you need to do is look at the worst rated unis in the country and what they offer.
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PQ
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Dance Performance at Bucks New University. Photography at Trinity St David. All you need to do is look at the worst rated unis in the country and what they offer.
Neither of those courses cost less than £2,000 to teach.

Neither of those universities have a profit/surplus close to 83%.
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by PQ)
Neither of those courses cost less than £2,000 to teach.

Neither of those universities have a profit/surplus close to 83%.
Average lecture size for me - 300 on compulsory modules.
Cost of course - £9000
Salary of lecturers and buildings used (inc electricity etc...) don't come to £2.7m a year.
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Other_Owl
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Ever heard for the term Mickey Mouse degrees? Well scrapping those. The English universities will not that less £££.
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PQ
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Average lecture size for me - 300 on compulsory modules.
Cost of course - £9000
Salary of lecturers and buildings used (inc electricity etc...) don't come to £2.7m a year.
Are you on one of those two courses?

Do you get software, access to journals, wifi, email, student union support, mental health support services, a careers service?

If you’re not using those things you probably should have opted for an OU degree.
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999tigger
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(Original post by Redza1)
Seeing how pretty much anyone can go to university now, have UK universities simply turned into a business industry for the government and finance companies to make as much money as possible?
Pretty much anyone could go to uni before.
Government loses money.
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by PQ)
Are you on one of those two courses?

Do you get software, access to journals, wifi, email, student union support, mental health support services, a careers service?

If you’re not using those things you probably should have opted for an OU degree.
Software is bought on a uni-wide licence basis. Same with journals and a lot of online content like emails which are done in-house using IT technicians and third party software from Microsoft. As it's done on a uni-wide basis you can't find the per student cost. It's quite cheap too given the existence of educational licences for things and companies offering discounts to education providers. Then there's the govt grants to pay for a lot of it.

For courses taught using power point and lecturers the profit margin is going to be high. Arts an humanities make profit to fund more costly STEM courses.
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PQ
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Software is bought on a uni-wide licence basis. Same with journals and a lot of online content like emails which are done in-house using IT technicians and third party software from Microsoft. As it's done on a uni-wide basis you can't find the per student cost. It's quite cheap too given the existence of educational licences for things and companies offering discounts to education providers. Then there's the govt grants to pay for a lot of it.

For courses taught using power point and lecturers the profit margin is going to be high. Arts an humanities make profit to fund more costly STEM courses.
Did you order a prospectus from your university? Receive offer letters and welcome packages through the post? Do you know how much your university had to pay ucas for them processing your application? How much do you think it costs to create student ID cards including the software and hardware to create hundreds/thousands of cards in a few days? How much is your university obliged to pay towards widening access (it’s over £1k per student for universities that are allowed to charge over £6k)?

In 2010 £9k was enough to generate some profits from classroom based courses. Fees have increased well below inflation and well below the rates of national pay deals for academic staff since that calculation was made.

If you don’t think you’re getting value for money then you have three options:
1) leave the course
2) seek out more value for money by tapping into the resources and opportunities that you aren’t bothering with at the moment
3) carry on getting the bare minimum

It’s your money (well it’s not - 70% of graduates won’t come close to repaying their loans).
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04MR17
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Since marketisation of the sector, absolutely.
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Since marketisation of the sector, absolutely.
Overall a good thing though.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Overall a good thing though.
Nope. A university should be about Education, not functioning like a business. Call me romantic. If you turn the system into a market you need to be prepared for universities to close, that hasn't really happened. And you end up focusing on places for international students because they're paying you more money, and so on. What is the purpose of higher education?
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Nope. A university should be about Education, not functioning like a business. Call me romantic. If you turn the system into a market you need to be prepared for universities to close, that hasn't really happened. And you end up focusing on places for international students because they're paying you more money, and so on. What is the purpose of higher education?
Unis are about education. Both teaching and discovering new things. The alternative to the market has worst outcomes for each. If the government was in charge of funding there would be new political issues come elections (courses offered, funding given, how many places on a medicine course, lecture sizes etc...). Where today the uni decides everything based on the demand of students, the govt will decide it based on society. Govts arguing about equal funding for all courses would be a realistic issue whereas today the unis shift money about to boost the impact score on teaching and research.

Then there's the funding problem. A private uni takes donations from anyone and signs contracts to research things for a private company. Public unis could still do this. BUT there would be limitations. Can you image a govt allowing a public uni to accept a contract from an oil company to research ways to detect undetected oil? What about a foreign military using uni research to build weapons to use in a war zone? A company paying a uni to research the impact of a flagship govt policy if the uni came out against govt policy? The possibility of the govt influencing how unis operate to suppress what comes out of them is real.

That's the outcome of state unis. There will be political interests deciding what happens and they will go the same way as school (down in the international league tables).
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Noodlestudent
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(Original post by Redza1)
Seeing how pretty much anyone can go to university now, have UK universities simply turned into a business industry for the government and finance companies to make as much money as possible?
Most people go now because it’s extremely hard to get a job without having any degree really. It’s become almost a requirement to get a high paying job.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Unis are about education. Both teaching and discovering new things. The alternative to the market has worst outcomes for each. If the government was in charge of funding there would be new political issues come elections (courses offered, funding given, how many places on a medicine course, lecture sizes etc...). Where today the uni decides everything based on the demand of students, the govt will decide it based on society. Govts arguing about equal funding for all courses would be a realistic issue whereas today the unis shift money about to boost the impact score on teaching and research.

Then there's the funding problem. A private uni takes donations from anyone and signs contracts to research things for a private company. Public unis could still do this. BUT there would be limitations. Can you image a govt allowing a public uni to accept a contract from an oil company to research ways to detect undetected oil? What about a foreign military using uni research to build weapons to use in a war zone? A company paying a uni to research the impact of a flagship govt policy if the uni came out against govt policy? The possibility of the govt influencing how unis operate to suppress what comes out of them is real.

That's the outcome of state unis. There will be political interests deciding what happens and they will go the same way as school (down in the international league tables).
Since when did the international leqgue tables mean anything? The alternative to the market is what we had before tuition fees and before polytecnics were converted. A system will admittedly less universities, probably less choice, and universities didn't use massive marketing operations to get students to pay them. We now have a system with 40% increases in unconditional offers because universities want bums on seats in order to survive. That's marketisation and I don't think it does any good. I'm not saying the old system was perfect, it wasn't. But marketisation is not a good thing.
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Since when did the international leqgue tables mean anything? The alternative to the market is what we had before tuition fees and before polytecnics were converted. A system will admittedly less universities, probably less choice, and universities didn't use massive marketing operations to get students to pay them. We now have a system with 40% increases in unconditional offers because universities want bums on seats in order to survive. That's marketisation and I don't think it does any good. I'm not saying the old system was perfect, it wasn't. But marketisation is not a good thing.
Having more people at university is not necessarily a bad thing. They are there to learn something. Educated people are good for the country. The quality of the course won't be great, I'll give you that. Still, freedom to operate and students paying to study things they shouldn't be studying is preferable to politically controlled and influenced unis.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Having more people at university is not necessarily a bad thing. They are there to learn something. Educated people are good for the country. The quality of the course won't be great, I'll give you that. Still, freedom to operate and students paying to study things they shouldn't be studying is preferable to politically controlled and influenced unis.
Everything is politically controlled and influenced. If the Govt wanted to, they could take control over the universities, and dictate the sector. They don't and they don't for a reason, but that doesn't mean they can't. You can't argue that universities are free to operate when they are restricted on plenty of things, when tuition fees are state regulated, when you don't apply directly to universities (normally). This isn't a private system. This is a market-based system with a siginificant state influence, and the current mix of the two fails to be compatible.
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