In my previous article I looked at how prevalent academic cheating is for college athletes in revenue-generating sports. The situation stems from pressure applied on student athletes by both coaches and academic counsellors, including subtle endorsement of sport over study and course plans arranged without consulting students’ preferences. The pressure in turn comes from the lucrative business of college football and basketball. Head coaches, assistant coaches and support staff receive the largest share of revenue from college football programs, while students, as amateur players, are not allowed to be paid a salary.
One of the things that struck me most while on exchange at the University of North Carolina (UNC) is that it really is like being in a movie. While there are no meticulous canteen table partitions according to social status, on the playing field, which is where college spirit bursts forth – in the same zeal as American patriotism – the image is exactly like those scenes in Remember the Titans, Rudy, The Blind Side, etc…
Looking back on Equilibrium 2012 I find that yes, it is a review of ESSA’s year and yes it is a memoir, a keepsake, a gift to our members. It is also, more than anything a celebration of economic thought. It is about the thinking and sharing of ideas, which has been what ESSA is about all along. In light of the imminent launch of Equilibrium 2013, I look back on our inaugural publication and pull out some examples of our writers’ ideas. The ingenuity of some of these propositions makes for a riveting read, as is the captivating nature of all good ideas.
This article is one of two Q&A specials informing the reader on a topic of economic importance to Australia that was discussed by the panel on the night.
On the 19th of July this year, Kevin Rudd introduced the PNG solution whereby any asylum seeker arriving by boat without a visa will be processed, and if found to be a legitimate refugee will be resettled in Papua New Guinea.
From discussing the possibilities of making tertiary education more accessible, I now segue to the other side of the debate: Are there too many people getting university degrees, and are they worth it?
The issue is exacerbated in the US, where the stakes are so much higher. A college education not only incorporates all the learning during the years of your degree, but is also the quintessential cultural experience of every middle-class youth: from madly rushing fraternities, to playing beer pong at the pre-football match tailgate party, to sharing the best places on campus for an all-nighter before finals – there comes a time in every man’s life, and college is not that time. But behind all the fun are the hours spent working and the years of family planning to accumulate the college fund necessary to pay for the degree.
Peter Theil, American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, hedge fund manager, first outside investor in Facebook and all-round success-story offers his two cents:
“Education is a bubble in a classic sense…It’s basically extremely overpriced. People are not getting their money’s worth…And at the same time it is something that is incredibly intensely believed; there’s this sort of psycho-social component to people taking on these enormous debts when they go to college simply because that’s what everybody’s doing.”1
Earlier this year the Grattan Institute published Graduate Winners, a report which suggested that government subsidies for tertiary education should be cut, given the already strong incentives to pursue higher education, and the low net public benefits that students of certain disciplines accord to society.
To paraphrase, the private benefits that a person gains from attending university, for example, their future income as compared to someone without tertiary qualifications, is large enough to motivate higher education, even if today’s government subsidies were cut. Therefore students should pay more for their tertiary studies. Government subsidies for higher education therefore seem somewhat redundant when an ample incentive already exists for students to undertake further study.
What sort of person should you be to increase your chances of survival? Are conscientious people better at looking after their health? Do neurotic people increase chances of survival if their tendency to feel anxious drives them to a state of constant vigilance? Are introverts more risk-averted and therefore likelier to live longer lives?