Fast forward 15 years, I worked in a research lab and in 2009 I paid more than $12000 in income tax alone. I also created more employment by spending the money I earned. The government got a great return on its investment and it can now fund the education of more people -- a virtuous cycle.
Almost half my class was in a similar situation and most of them are doing good.
Now I am not saying that the British system is the ideal (pros and cons) but I can certainly provide some more anecdotal evidence of many people who study for free (in the Czech Republic) and are basically wasting the system resources (both in terms of taking up spaces in classes and having the tax status of a student). But possibly even better argument for tuition is the level of funding for universities. It certainly seems greater in tuition based systems (I know the US and UK one) vs government sponsored one (like the Czech one).
In the UK system there is no risk. You only have to pay back the loan (form the government) when you are earning over a certain amount per year. It is taken directly from your salary like other taxes. If you never earn enough money you never have to pay it back. If you choose to live and work abroad you don't have to pay either.
I've long thought that framing it as a graduate tax would be much less discouraging to potential students.
You have to pay your loan regardless of whether you have a job or not, or whatever your financial condition is. Exceptions can be made (you go through a loan handler, so it's whatever they say) but overall it's a risk. It's just a risk that pays off for most people.
That UK system sounds pretty wonderful.
Again, not in the UK. Students here are given two loans. One to cover tuition and a separate one for cost of living. It's not much but it's enough for a student to get by.
That's more of an anecdotal evidence of a shitty public university system. I don't know how it works in the Czech Republic other than from your comment, but in Slovenia, it's extremely wasteful, even though it doesn't need to be.
The primary issue is that students have awesome tax and other financial benefits. First, you don't pay tax for (I'm not completely sure, but lets say) more than the minimum wage as a student. Then, you get subsidized food (lunch coupons), free healthcare (as long as one of your parents is employed) and lots of benefits with private companies (I had a bank card that allowed me free withdrawals anywhere in the EU, even in a different currency). Personally, I don't see an issue with free healthcare (I think it should be free for everyone, as it is in the UK), but tax breaks and lunches are a unnecessary benefit.
This issue is exploited by "perpetual students" - basically, there is no incentive, nor requirement, that you finish your studies "in time". The only limit is that you can have the student status until you're 26 years old, so many people stretch their studies beyond what's necessary and work for private businesses, gaining experience and not being taxed, for several years before they complete the last exams and graduate. (Then they complain that they can't get a job, because all the businesses prefer to hire students, because they're cheaper).
If education was free, but you were required to finish on time and there were no tax benefits of being a student, the system would waste much less money. To reduce the cost even more, the government could automatically give you a "nominal loan" that was automatically canceled when you finish your study, so only people who study and don't finish would have to pay, and you'd also have to pay for any additional years you need (e.g. if you fail a year).
Watch out; independently of being an effective idea or not, this would create a strong incentive for extensive corruption.
I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, which is really the minimum degree I would have chosen to get a job in my present field. However, probably at least 50% of the classes I took to get that degree were a complete waste of my time.
"Trade schools" in my view have a reputation for not having enough depth in the field for which they are targeted (at least, in the United States). The perception when I graduated was that a CS degree was way better than any "tech school" degree -- if you wanted to get a job, that is.
I would have loved to have gone to a school that offered a very deep Computer Science program that was targeted just at Computer Science. I didn't need or want English, Philosophy, Sociology, and all of the other worthless classes that I was forced to take to fulfill the requirements. Math classes make sense, those have useful applications in my chosen field.
And I don't have a problem with anyone that wants to take those kind of classes either. It's just that I had a specific goal in mind when I enrolled, and the results could have been so much more satisfying if the curriculum had been better targeted.
If I were starting over today (with all the resources available on the internet, etc) I would consider not going to college at all. It has become prohibitively expensive in the United States, and from what I understand things have not really changed much (and if they have it is probably for the worse). There are a ton of very high-quality resources for learning available online (many of which I wish I had more time to use). I am not at all discounting the value of well-designed classes in a school setting. However, I do think that people tend to underestimate how much a self-driven person can learn on their own.
Also, I would be far more likely to plan to be self-employed (if I were starting today) that I would have been when I was entering college. At that time, I just wouldn't have considered it. Today I'm sure that I could make that happen.
We held up 'having a bachelors degree' as a requirement for getting a job, no matter what the job is. It's a way of narrowing the applicant pool.
And it completely distorted the purpose of university.
IMHO, everyone who qualifies academically should have the opportunity to - free of charge - go to university. It raises the level of cultural discourse.
On the other hand, trade schools are completely stigmatized in this country - and many of them are simply scams that don't do a very good job at training you at all (see: ECPI).
Post-secondary education in the USA is completely ass backwards, with conflicting priorities, an upside down profit motive, and a cultural perception of either being absolutely necessary or absolutely lib'rul and evil intellectualism that's-a destroyin' amurka.
That's mostly a thing of the past and almost only applicable to human medicine anymore.
Today universities are free to set their own admission standards and procedures, and while school grades play a big role in it, you have realistic chances to get in based on some other measure of merit. Or even luck in a lottery.
maybe measure the shape of their head too, save time and send them straight to jail if they have criminal phrenology
Yale cost of attendance for undergrad is $63,250 per year.
What if the loan repayments were a percentage of your salary, rather than a fixed rate? I wonder why these types of loans aren't offered...
For government subsidized university places (read - most places for Australian students) - tuition amounts were capped at specific levels. These could be deferred by All students on a loan - that charges CPI (Inflation) as it's interest rate.
Repayment kicks in once the student earns a certain level - and goes up as a % depending on their income.