Originally from London in the UK, I now live in San Francisco and do the thing with the computer machine.
Engineer, lockpicker, intersectional feminist, wish-granter, Rubyist, caffeine monster, CFS/ME battler, unapologetic pervert.
Asks (anonymous or otherwise) and fanmail always welcome.
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Other blogs and social networking presences at http://dave.io if you want more.
The Government is about to introduce a new test for those considering a university career. The central question will be punishingly direct. Do you want to run up a debt of £21,000 in order to go to the best British universities? Some people will, apparently, be put off applying to our elite institutions by the prospect of taking on a debt of this size. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is all to the good.
The first point that needs to be made about the so-called deterrent effect of a £21,000 loan is that anyone put off from attending a good university by fear of that debt doesn’t deserve to be at any university in the first place. Incurring such a relatively small debt to pay for the huge economic benefit conferred by proper higher education is a fantastic deal. Over a lifetime, the direct financial benefit in higher earnings is around £400,000. Those who attend our best universities can expect to earn even more. Borrowing £21,000, at preferential rates, to secure twenty times that sum, is an offer you’d have to be a fool to turn down. And if you’re such a fool that you don’t want to accept that deal, then you’re too big a fool to benefit from the university education I’m currently subsidising for you.
I accept that some graduates will take up jobs which do not command handsome salaries. Individuals may pursue admirable work for which there is no great monetary reward, in the Church, the arts or public service. In these cases there is a strong case for the taxpayer bearing the cost of their degree. But why should the vast majority, who go on to benefit financially from their degree, be subsidised by me?
Those of us who are net contributors to the State, graduates or not, are getting a terrible deal for our money …
Michael Gove, writing for the Times in 2003.
I cannot even.