Jump to content


Photo

Debt


  • Please log in to reply
39 replies to this topic

#16 munro

munro

    HPC Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,177 posts

Posted 03 May 2006 - 09:11 PM

RichB, that £400k figure is a complete red herring. It might still apply to some people, but the true average return on a degree is probably barely a third of that. And again that's average, not median.

Cost of an education - yes, Oxbridge should be more like £30k pa, including tuition, board, and everything. Running a university PROPERLY is fantastically expensive and teaching properly (as opposed to sixth form style pile 'em high) is very expensive.

Academic pay is a joke. In comparative terms, to live the lifestyle my parents lived in the mid/late 1960s on my father's pay as a lecturer at Imperial you'd need to earn about £100k. That's the truth of falling living standards.

Sad thing is, I'm still trying to get an academic job! Mainly because I want to at least try it and see what it's like, and I'm not convinced it's any more sh!t than other jobs now. I can't think of anybody who says they'd recommend their kids going into whatever it is they do.

As for the business side of universities, forget it. They're run by a bunch of old tossers who are in it up to their neck in cosy agreements with the govt. The head of the CVCP, if that's what they're still called (Committee of VIce-Chancellors and Principals) does his stint then gets a peerage and a seat in the Lords and gets to hob-nob with the great and the good.
homelovinghormonecrazynestwantingfluffybunnywunny...so you better watch out!

#17 Zaranna

Zaranna

    HPC Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 537 posts

Posted 04 May 2006 - 10:09 AM

You aren't paying attention are you zaranna?

The gvmt reckons the average graduate earns £400k over the average non graduate over their lifetimes.

Even tax rake of only 25% is £100k. If the cost of educating a University student for 3 or 4 years is truly over £25k per annum, someone really needs to look at the business side of academia in a hurry. Hell, top residential public schools cost less than that.

If we actually look at the tax rate as being closer to 40% then it works out to over £40k pa for a 4 year course. You cannot possibly tell me that the actual cost of educating a university graduate is more than either of those figures.



BUT i don't think it is accurate to say that graduates earn over 400k more than non-graduates: what about those of them that are female? (who may see some of that benefit knocked off or even negated by having children?) With a more realistic assessment of what graduates will be able to earn in the next 20-40 years (in an age of low wage inflation, remember) compared to the possible costs of changing career, having children, THEN put next to a much more realistic assessment of what it really costs to provide a university education, I think you would see these figures change quite a lot.


"If the cost of educating a University student for 3 or 4 years is truly over £25k per annum, someone really needs to look at the business side of academia in a hurry. Hell, top residential public schools cost less than that."

Yes, it is actually a very expensive business. Top public schools tend not to have to run large campuses, in some cases the size of small towns, huge administrative staffs, teach thousands of pupils at a time, and - oh yes - they also tend not to do that much world-class reserach into curing cancer, developing new technologies, and bringing that research and world-class teaching to the students.

RichB, that £400k figure is a complete red herring. It might still apply to some people, but the true average return on a degree is probably barely a third of that. And again that's average, not median.

Cost of an education - yes, Oxbridge should be more like £30k pa, including tuition, board, and everything. Running a university PROPERLY is fantastically expensive and teaching properly (as opposed to sixth form style pile 'em high) is very expensive.

Academic pay is a joke. In comparative terms, to live the lifestyle my parents lived in the mid/late 1960s on my father's pay as a lecturer at Imperial you'd need to earn about £100k. That's the truth of falling living standards.

Sad thing is, I'm still trying to get an academic job! Mainly because I want to at least try it and see what it's like, and I'm not convinced it's any more sh!t than other jobs now. I can't think of anybody who says they'd recommend their kids going into whatever it is they do.

As for the business side of universities, forget it. They're run by a bunch of old tossers who are in it up to their neck in cosy agreements with the govt. The head of the CVCP, if that's what they're still called (Committee of VIce-Chancellors and Principals) does his stint then gets a peerage and a seat in the Lords and gets to hob-nob with the great and the good.


I feel your pain! Sometime I think I should just cut and run and become a management consultant. I should be spending the summer on my research but instead I plan to scope out some freelance consulting work instead.

With the current cost of living/housing, academia is becoming an absolute joke. I see older tenured colleagues who do about 2 days' work a week, no research (don't need to, no-one will be able to get rid of them even if they can't return anything on RAE), they dump all the teaching/admin on junior people (who spend 80 hours a week working just to keep in the same place) and they all own lovely, lovely houses in the centre of town, bought for about 10p in 1970. Whereas us, the junior people, are on temp contacts, shouted at all the time about our RAE points, do a workload of about 12-14 hours per day doing all the teaching and admin the permanent people can't be bothered to do, and can look forward to earning 27k for it and living in a college room for the next ten years :(

In relation to whether it's more shit than other jobs - well, it depends on the kind of academic job you manage to get, and your discipline (a research post ins cience is a very different kettle of fish to a teaching post in the humanities). But I'd have to say that the workload, stress and pressure in academia at a major research university now is certainly no less than working in the city for a bank or for a major corporation (I know, I have done both). However, in academia, you will be paid about a third or a quarter of the amount you would earn in the private sector. I sometimes think that I don't on earth know why I thought academia would be a nicer job than working in the city - I work the same hours, it's just as stressful, my job is, if anything, less secure, and I can't afford to live. Academia - BIG mistake as far as I am concerned - I wish I had stayed in my previous job! I thought that I would be happy to trade less pay for a better quality of life, but the cost of living has made less pay more like impossible pay. And just as bad quality of life as working in industry.

Edited by Zaranna, 04 May 2006 - 10:14 AM.


#18 RichM

RichM

    HPC Senior Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,101 posts

Posted 04 May 2006 - 10:28 AM

Hi Zaranna,

Obviously depends on your department etc, but it is possible to "play the game". A good friend (now with a senior lectureship) simply does the bare minimum admin/lecturing, etc, but he has the department over a barrel in that they need him much more than he needs them. Sounds like you're at Oxbridge so I guess you have more tutorials etc, and you're expected to be eternally grateful for the crap they serve you.

I am lucky in that I am my own boss and would kill for more pressure/deadlines! All gets a bit slow, waiting for peer review to churn away.

Anyway, we've moved well away from market psychology now so I'm going to stop whittering on!
Proverbs 19:14 - Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

#19 Zaranna

Zaranna

    HPC Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 537 posts

Posted 04 May 2006 - 11:38 AM

Hi Zaranna,

Obviously depends on your department etc, but it is possible to "play the game". A good friend (now with a senior lectureship) simply does the bare minimum admin/lecturing, etc, but he has the department over a barrel in that they need him much more than he needs them. Sounds like you're at Oxbridge so I guess you have more tutorials etc, and you're expected to be eternally grateful for the crap they serve you.

I am lucky in that I am my own boss and would kill for more pressure/deadlines! All gets a bit slow, waiting for peer review to churn away.

Anyway, we've moved well away from market psychology now so I'm going to stop whittering on!



Sounds like your friend has a permanent job - and is reasonably well advanced in his career if he has a senior lectureship. Like with house prices, in academia there's a severe case of "anyone over 35-ish is OK, anyone under 35-ish is screwed" going on at the moment. If you got into the job in the 60s-90s and are now permanent you're pretty much untouchable, because (as you say), you'll have accumulated enough career points to be the one calling the shots (the department needs you and your research). But if you're still establishing a research profile and you're relatively new on the market, you're the one who's over the barrel being royally screwed by the system (icky mixed metaphor, but apt). Most departments - except ones like economics where there's a shortage of good people because of industry salaries - know they have hundreds of fantastic young scholars to choose from, all of whom will work like crazy on temp contracts to get and keep a job by doing all the crap that's thrown at them. Supply and demand.......:(

And, the sad thing is, for your friend to do what he does, there are probably several junior people, admin staff, freelancers and grad students in the background frantically doing all the work that should be his job but that he's not doing.....so for him to 'play the game' just ends up meaning the department is screwing someone else over, somewhere along the line. It's not so nice when you're the person picking up the slack for senior colleagues who do what your friend does, who then won't support any industrial action over pay because they believe scholars should do it for the love of it, who have no idea about how much houses cost because they bought theirs when academics had lovely lives (my thesis supervisor owned 4 houses outright, and was completely bemused as to why I didn't just buy a nice house while I was a grad student). I have a colleague (my age) who earns 16k in his job as a college lecturer, supports a wife and baby on that and his rent is 750 per month - I genuinely don't know how he does it, or how they even eat; I can only assume they survive on tax credits - but I don't know why the more senior people don't think this is shameful. Isn't that shameful for a profession that sees itself as (in the main) enlightened and intellectual? Why aren't senior people more worried about what 'playing the game' and getting away with the minimum does to their profession AS a profession? I guess for the same reason that peopel in general don't see what high house prices and high debt are doing to younger generations and therefore to their own society - short term thinking.

Yes, I am at Oxbridge - how did you guess ;) (the general stress, overwork and bitterness rather gives it away I think :D)


Sorry, rant over - but back on the topic of debt, and student debt - that's why we do need some kind of differential fee structure: so that those going into an arts degree at a medium-tier university will see a fee charged that represents the right balance of what it costs to teach them *and* what kind of earning advantage they will see in the future (which, as someone else pointed out, is unlikely to be the kind of lifetime earnings bonus that is seen by city employees or accountants). And people doing medicine at Oxbridge who benefit from exorbitantly expensive teaching and will also go on to see a huge pay advantage from that will cover some of the more appropriate costs of what that really represents. BUT there are other potential problems with differential fees, including the disadvantaging of university staff in some disciplines compared to others....a very complex topic....I have no answers yet :blink:

Edited by Zaranna, 04 May 2006 - 12:18 PM.


#20 RichM

RichM

    HPC Senior Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,101 posts

Posted 04 May 2006 - 01:19 PM

You're not Andrew Farlow are you? :lol:
Proverbs 19:14 - Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

#21 Zaranna

Zaranna

    HPC Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 537 posts

Posted 05 May 2006 - 11:23 AM

You're not Andrew Farlow are you? :lol:


Now, that *would* be telling..... :lol: :P B)

#22 onionpie

onionpie

    HPC Poster

  • New Members
  • PipPip
  • 69 posts

Posted 15 May 2006 - 04:17 PM

RichB, that £400k figure is a complete red herring. It might still apply to some people, but the true average return on a degree is probably barely a third of that. And again that's average, not median.


I wrote to my MP to complain about that figure, from the mouth of Margaret Hodge.
I think Michael Spencer had my 400k, and some.

#23 Orbital

Orbital

    HPC Veteran

  • New Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,862 posts

Posted 04 July 2006 - 10:20 AM

Im not convinced by the government conspiricy stories, I think the problem is we are growing up with a spoilt generation whos parents provided everything for them just when they wanted it and they got used to that. The idea of having to wait, save, or earn a luxury item is alien, my generation seems to think they have a right to own a car, designer goods, big TV, house - for previous generations this was a priviledge to be worked for.

For some reason I was a saver. At uni I didnt drink my loan, all the student sob stories are crazy, we were all at uni, we all know how much of that money went on luxury items that 2/3 of the world can only dream of. Booze, fags, clubs, drugs, I saw 'poor students' waste on all these things. And then my peers in their 1st jobs went for the luxury flat, bought the iPods, continued to blow £1-200 every weekend, and yes the debts rocketed.

So then there's me, I didnt waste my money, I knew my priorities involved preparing for the family I knew I one day wanted, I saved, paid of my debts, and managed to put away a large sum over a period of years for a house deposit. As a FTB i was able to buy a house in london, with double bedrooms, garden, newly fitted kitchen, bathroom, etc so that my kids have a stable roof over their head that they can call home for the next 10yrs or whatever.

Im not special, I dont earn that much, I just work hard and save so I can have the things I want. I have so little sympathy for this 'priced out of the market' thing, you arent priced out, you just gotta finally learn the lesson that you cant have everything at the click of ya fingers. You gotta work for it, you gotta save for it.

The sad thing is that for every chap like me there are another load who spend lspend spend and at the end of the day, through tax, it'll be people like me who have to pick up the tab when it all goes wrong. Sometimes its tempting to sign up to a few credit cards and just say f**k it but I wasnt brought up like that I guess.

Ah well, good luck to everyone, I certainly dont wish bad things on anyone despite my frustrations at my peers expectations to be handed it all on a plate... and on the bright side, the next generation of youngsters is gonna have it even harder... :(
[

#24 twinklyrach

twinklyrach

    HPC Newbie

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Location:Oxford

Posted 04 December 2006 - 07:23 PM

I often wonder what goes through the minds of these credit-upon-credit-upon-credit people.

I'm 24, graduated a year and a bit ago and am debt-free. Well, commercial debt. I have £15K worth of government student loan to go, and even that makes me feel rotten.

And then to see people with 30, 40, 50 grand worth of debt on the tv who had no idea how much they owe... how can you *get* to that state? I'll hold my hands up and say I don't have a perfect money history - in fact as a student I was crap - but christ, that's just insane.

Behold my northern working class roots, I spose :) But at least being brought up that way means I can live in a nice flat, have a reasonable standard of living and still put a decent wodge away for that glorious day I see a house I actually like.

#25 ader

ader

    HPC Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 403 posts
  • Location:East Yorkshire

Posted 14 December 2006 - 03:37 PM

>>RichB, that £400k figure is a complete red herring. It might still apply to some people, but the true average return on a degree is probably barely a third of that. And again that's average, not median.

and of course for most people the cost of doing a degree is way higher than they realise. Take for example the value of the lost opportunity of 3 years? I know people that never went to university and are doing much better with their own businesses than friends of mine the same age that did go to uni. A particular friend of mine would probably have lost (or at least delayed) £180K of income (gross) if he'd gone to uni instead of setting his own business up.

A sensible alternative to going to university imho is to work the three years and put most of the income into a pension plan - which after 40 years (at say £10k for each of the 3 years) should amount to over £500k by retirement age (assuming around 7 or 8 % return per annum compounded - the stock market average). This and having no student loan debt to worry about. However, part of the problem may be that many who go to uni do so to delay getting a job...

I feel that all academic qualifications are losing their value. When I interview people I don't look at their educational record - I simply expect them to prove to me at interview and during testing that they are capable. This is in the IT industry.

ade.

#26 ChinaReader

ChinaReader

    HPC Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 754 posts
  • Location:Here and there
  • About Me:I'll watch the little graphs go up and learn enough Mandarin that when China buys America (in cash) I can be a waiter instead of just a shoe-shine boy. :-)

Posted 19 December 2006 - 04:25 AM

I know people that never went to university and are doing much better with their own businesses than friends of mine the same age that did go to uni. A particular friend of mine would probably have lost (or at least delayed) £180K of income (gross) if he'd gone to uni instead of setting his own business up.
... However, part of the problem may be that many who go to uni do so to delay getting a job...

But for some that isn't a problem, imho. If people can start a business and run it successfully at 18, great, they get a good start, and a better one than studying. But a lot of 18 year olds aren't motivated or sharp enough to do that, and three years at uni at least gives them more time to grow up and think about what they're going to do in life - in an environment that doesn't encourage it particularly for the first year or two, but certainly focusses you towards the end. As all your mates start applying for jobs, the careers office at the uni turns the handle ("never too early to start looking for jobs"), and your parents are on the phone asking how job applications are going. I think by 21 most people are at least grown up enough to go "oh yeah - real life, here it comes" !

I feel that all academic qualifications are losing their value. When I interview people I don't look at their educational record - I simply expect them to prove to me at interview and during testing that they are capable. This is in the IT industry.
ade.

Yeah, that's true. They show you know how to pass exams. But they are sometimes enough to get you to interview, and then the real person comes out. It'll be a long time before they're completely devalued - though possibly sooner in high-tech industries than in others. (e.g. "You want to be a lawyer, and you don't have a law degree / qualification?! Go home.")

#27 ader

ader

    HPC Regular

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 403 posts
  • Location:East Yorkshire

Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:47 AM

ShanghaiTim,

Some interesting points you raise and one hand I tend to agree with you. But on the other hand I can't help feeling that british tax payers shouldn't necessarily be paying for an expensive half-way house for young adults that aren't motivated. Shouldn't our schools and certainly our colleges be outputting young adults that are motivated ?


I also agree with your point r.e. the few types of degree and beyond study that are essential for certain careers - law, medicine etc.
I guess to me the ideal situation would be for far less degreee courses, but courses that are properly funded, whilst providing a decent income for example to trainee doctors etc.

The problem though is that governments have in the past relied upon getting as many people into education as possible to lower unemployment rates.

Getting back to the topic of "debt", perhaps our schools should include significant compulsory education in finance (personal and business)?

ade.

#28 Starcrossed

Starcrossed

    HPC Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,429 posts
  • Location:Exeter

Posted 09 April 2007 - 04:10 PM

You aren't paying attention are you zaranna?

The gvmt reckons the average graduate earns £400k over the average non graduate over their lifetimes.

Even tax rake of only 25% is £100k. If the cost of educating a University student for 3 or 4 years is truly over £25k per annum, someone really needs to look at the business side of academia in a hurry. Hell, top residential public schools cost less than that.

If we actually look at the tax rate as being closer to 40% then it works out to over £40k pa for a 4 year course. You cannot possibly tell me that the actual cost of educating a university graduate is more than either of those figures.


The question of funding higher education is an interesting one. I am just starting an MA as an e-course. This will cost me £3,200 a year for three years. Now I am not begrudging this - will be taking the course at the same time as working so can afford to do so. However there are a total of fours people staffing the course from Admin to teaching. If 100 people take the course, that's over £300,000 a year income from tyhe students alone, let alone income from the government (is that the way it works?) There will be no teaching buildings and associated costs to pay for. So I would say the University will be doing well out of the course...
The frugal shall inherit the earth.


Said a Moscow journalist during the Yeltsin years:

"We rejected the old system because everything Marx said about communism was wrong. We now know that everything he said about capitalism was right."

#29 exhuberant

exhuberant

    HPC Newbie

  • New Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts

Posted 25 April 2007 - 08:19 PM

There are a number of interesting questions that have been brought up on this thread…


1) Have attitudes towards debt changed? Is there a debt industry? I wasn’t brought up here in the U.K., and before I came, I thought the British were quite conservative with debt. Frugality, Mr. Macawber, etc. But from the media here it seems like debt is becoming the norm. As mentioned in an earlier post, it seems like some take a pretty casual approach to mortgage equity withdrawal. I think the term (m.e.w.) itself is a bit deceptive… it’s almost as if it isn’t increasing one’s borrowing and debt… it's withdrawing money that you've earned. But even if your house has increased in notional value (because of the current bubble), you still have to live somewhere. So, you might be able to realise some profit by selling your house and moving to a smaller place or worse area, but how many people are genuinely happy to do this?

I’ve also wondered how much of the U.K. economy is underpinned by “mewing”. I’d read someplace that a reasonable percentage of new car purchases (>10%?) in Florida were paid for by mew-ing. And now the house market is bad news in the states. So you have to imagine then that there will be knock-on effects for car sales, etc.


2) Is university education a worthwhile investment? If one views a university education as a guarantee of a graduate level job, I’m not so sure. Are there really that many graduate level vacancies every year? Second, in my opinion, there are some university students who don’t really seem to care. They do the absolute minimum to get by. They will get by, but I wonder – what will they do with their lives? Would you hire someone who doesn’t want to work? Is there any benefit from spending 3 years doing very little?

#30 Rikk03

Rikk03

    HPC Poster

  • New Members
  • PipPip
  • 44 posts

Posted 25 April 2007 - 10:42 PM

Meh,

You guys are missing so much, nobody has mentioned the fact that only 1 in 6 graduates EVER use their degrees for their intended use. Oh and then theres the fact that only 1/3 of students that start a degree end up finishing it.

There should be a warning printed on the degree literature that they send out. I dont know about you, but if I had been told that I would be unlikely to ever use my degree, then I would have never have started one!!!!

I dont deny that having a degree helps you get a job - with a higher salary, - but just not in the job you trained for.

They say TIME is the most valuable commodity - what could I have done with the time I wasted at Uni?

I'll rephrase that question, - its not "could" have done - but rather what "would" I have done.

What would you have done?




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users