Among the many sensational claims made by student activists, perhaps the boldest is that two thirds of Australian students are living in poverty. Can we really apply the term ‘poverty’ to students attending an expensive higher education institution when perhaps the term ‘broke’ is more applicable?
This ‘two-thirds of students’ rhetoric is the kind of shock-and-awe statistic that welfare groups tend to shout from the rooftops whenever they want to call attention to some grave national crises requiring urgent action – usually in the form of large dollops of taxpayer money.
However, you only need to take a stroll through UQ, or any other major campus for that matter, to notice that the rhetoric surrounding Australia’s student poverty epidemic jars with reality.
Read the rest on Semper Floreat, here.
Much has been made of the gap in outcomes between those with a bachelor’s degree or higher and those with a high school education or less. The unemployment rate among the former group is just 2.6 percent, compared to 5.4 percent for the latter group. Young adult bachelor’s degree holders can expect to earn $24,600 more per year than their counterparts with only a high school degree.
But what about the people in between? Often in economic statistics, these people are lumped into one category, labeled “some college.” But this grouping captures two separate groups of people: those who have completed a two-year associate’s degree, and those who have taken college classes but have not emerged with any credential at all. And recent evidence suggests that the fortunes of these two groups are diverging. Policymakers should look for ways to get students to complete their four-year degrees, or embark on associate’s degrees, which are easier to finish.
Read the rest on Economics 21, here.
On the surface, the University of New South Wales banning the use of language deemed ‘offensive’ towards Indigenous Australians seems like the kind of well-meaning measure that’s hard to disagree with. After all, who doesn’t want to give the role of Indigenous Australians in our nation’s history the recognition it deserves?
However, by policing the words staff and students use to discuss a topic as broad and complex as Australia’s history, UNSW’s ‘diversity toolkit’ goes far beyond teaching respect for the story of Indigenous people in our past. Indeed, it uses language as a fillip for imposing ideological conformity.
It’s one thing to try make a taboo out of words like ‘aboriginal’ and ‘dreamtime’ that have long since become uncontroversial parts of our nation’s vernacular.
Read the rest on The Spectator, here.
To say taxpayers subsidize higher education is the definition of an understatement. During the 2014-15 school year, Uncle Sam disbursed nearly $100 billion in student loans and spent another $50 billion on Pell Grants and other student aid programs.
Not to be outdone, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have each proposed additional higher education spending to the tune of $35 billion a year on average in Clinton’s case and $75 billion in Sanders’. With the candidates asking so much more of taxpayers, it is worth examining what their plans intend to accomplish.
Read the rest on The Washington Examiner, here.
A new working paper
from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that higher education in America is changing in more ways than one. Colleges and universities are increasingly hiring adjunct or part-time faculty instead of full-time professors, according to economists Liang Zhang, Ronald Ehrenberg, and Xiangmin Liu. Since 1993, the part-time share of faculty at four-year universities has risen from 30 percent to 38 percent, while full-time professors’ ranks have fallen from 60 percent to 51 percent.
Private institutions now employ part-time faculty and full-time professors in equal proportions. The less-flexible nature of public universities keeps full-time professors in the majority, but the trend is still clear. Adjuncts are rapidly becoming the new normal.
Read the rest on Economics 21, here.