A new Richard Murphy paper

The End of Free College in England: Implications for Quality, Enrolments, and Equity
Richard Murphy, Judith Scott-Clayton, Gillian Wyness
NBER Working Paper No. 23888
Issued in September 2017
NBER Program(s): ED
Despite increasing financial pressures on higher education systems throughout the world, many governments remain resolutely opposed to the introduction of tuition fees, and some countries and states where tuition fees have been long established are now reconsidering free higher education. This paper examines the consequences of charging tuition fees on university quality, enrolments, and equity. To do so, we study the English higher education system which has, in just two decades, moved from a free college system to one in which tuition fees are among the highest in the world. Our findings suggest that England’s shift has resulted in increased funding per head, rising enrolments, and a narrowing of the participation gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students. In contrast to other systems with high tuition fees, the English system is distinct in that its income-contingent loan system keeps university free at the point of entry, and provides students with comparatively generous assistance for living expenses. We conclude that tuition fees, at least in the English case supported their goals of increasing quality, quantity, and equity in higher education.

Amazingly, no, not the Senior Lecturer. But wouldn’t it be fun if word got out that it was?

5 thoughts on “A new Richard Murphy paper”

  1. Could an approach be made to this Richard Murphy to fund the production and publication in his name of papers containing such views in number?

    Boy would that piss off “the real” Richard Murphy.

  2. If only that summary had been better written they could have made room for the point that any loan that has not been repaid just evaporates at age whatever.

    Anyhoo, how did they measure the changing “quality” of the universities? I must say that the last department I worked in used to give in, but only grudgingly, to the endless pressure to lower standards. We were probably seen as utterly reactionary curmudgeons.

    Here’s how it works. “We’ve got to award more firsts. otherwise the students will read (say) Chemistry instead.” “Why would they do that?” “Because Chemistry has started to award more firsts.” Phone acquaintance in Chemistry. “Why are you chaps awarding more firsts?” “We have to otherwise the students would apply to Imperial College instead. They are awarding more firsts.” Phone Imperial College. They blame (say) Manchester. And so it rattles on, mediated by a very peculiar version of market forces, governed by the students’, or the candidates’, knowledge that eventual employers will probably demand a first or upper second irrespective of the quality implications of the award. Credentialism gone mad, I tell you.

  3. College ain’t higher education, college is further education, where you go to get edjumacated so you can get to do higher education.

  4. @ dearieme
    Sad! Eventually the respect given to your degrees slides down the hill after your standards.
    It doesn’t help in the long run – one of my ex-bosses told me that “you have to be mad to get a First” in Maths at Cambridge so anyone who got a Second had employers queuing up to hire guys like him.

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