Everyone’s least favourite piece of mail

2006-10-20

in Daily updates, Oxford

Sheldonian Theatre

After having an enjoyable dinner in hall last night, I found the statement of account for my battels waiting in my shared pigeon hole. £10,360 in university fees (up 4% from last year) and £1,847 in college fees (up 2.5%). Taken together, that is 74.5% of Canada’s GDP per capita, or 266% of Estonia’s.

The university fees are certainly more defensible. They cover my supervisions, the Social Sciences Library, and myriad other things closely related to education. Given that the Wadham library is of little or no use to me, I do not live in college, and I would not be eating there if it wasn’t part of a scholarship, it is a bit hard to see how a year as a member of the college is worth as much as two MacBooks (or a MacBook and a nice dSLR). The college fees don’t even include printing.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

R.K. October 21, 2006 at 2:42 pm

That’s a lot of green.

All the same, the value of Oxford (financially) lies less now and more when the cigar-puffing bosses say to themselves: “An Oxford graduate, eh? Let’s start him on $100,000 a year.”

Lee October 22, 2006 at 8:32 pm

College fees at the current levels are fairly indefensible for graduate students. Even the university fees are too high. The problem is of course HE funding in the UK: because undergraduate fees are capped, undergraduate tuition is subsidised increasingly by foreign and graduate students; but the latter are given disproportionately less teaching and resources (NB this isn’t an argument for uncapped fees, I’d prefer to abolish them and fund them properly from appropriate taxation). Exactly what grad students get from their colleges is beyond me. This is also true of postgrad colleges, where the fees are no lower, despite the absence of an undergraduate teaching burden on the fellows. It’s a function of the irrationality of the Oxford system. Why do we need 38 Wardens/Presidents/Masters, 38 bursars, 38 domestic bursars, 38 college secretaries, 38 Head Porters, etc, etc, etc? Answer: we don’t, this multiplication is a horrendous waste of money and creates inefficiency.

Milan October 22, 2006 at 8:37 pm

I think the college system is inefficient by design, but that isn’t necessarily an indictment. If you care more about diversity than anything else, you need to spend money to promote that.

If college fees do seem steep, relative to the value graduates derive from them, the solution is probably to increase the value that colleges offer to graduates. Better job placement programs are an obvious idea – and one that could generate revenue for the colleges as well. Lots of companies are willing to pay a commission for help in recruiting promising new employees.

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