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Cost Sharing in Higher Education: Tuition, Financial Assistance, and Accessibility in Comparative Perspective

Опубликовано на портале: 08-12-2003
Тематический раздел:
Recent years have seen a dramatic, albeit uneven and still contested, shift in the burden of higher education costs from being borne predominately by government, or taxpayers, to being shared with parents and students. This cost sharing may take the form of tuition, either being introduced where it did not hitherto exist or being rapidly increased where it already does. It may take the form of public institutions charging more nearly break even, or full cost fees for room, board, books, and other costs of student living that may formerly have been covered mainly by government. A shift of the cost burden from government to student and family may also come in the form of a reduction or sometimes a freezing (especially in inflationary times) of student grants. Similarly, it may come in the reduction of the effective grants represented by student loan subsidies as interest rates are increased closer to the costs of money, or market rates. Finally, the shift may come about through public policies that shift enrollments, particularly in rapidly expanding systems, from a heavily subsidized public sector to a much less subsidized, tuition-dependent private sector.
In all these ways and in combinations thereof, albeit unevenly and still ideologically contested, the burden of higher educational costs worldwide is being shifted from governments or taxpayers to students and families. Thus, we can observe cost sharing entering into the public policies of countries with totally different social-political-economic systems and at totally different stages in their stage of economic development or industrialization or in the expansion of higher educational participation: e.g. China, Vietnam, the UK and Austria.


In light of this shift, this paper explores five questions:
  1. What are the theoretical and practical rationales for shifting some portion of the higher educational cost burden from governments and taxpayers to students and families?
  2. What are the theoretical, political, ideological, practical, and/or strategic bases for resistance to this shift?
  3. What is the impact of increasing cost burdens (mainly tuition and related fees) on student enrollment behavior—that is, enrollment, persistence to a degree, continuation to a higher degree, and the decision of where, or in what kind of, higher educational institution to enroll? (In this connection, we will be particularly interested in whether enrollments might be dampened for those whose access is already compromised by (a) low income; (b) racial, ethnic, religious, or linguistic status; (c) gender (most often "being female"); or (d) isolation—especially from good secondary schools and the cultural enrichment generally associated with urban areas, as well as from institutions of higher education close enough to allow living at home.)
  4. What is the higher education cost (or more properly, the expenditure) burden currently being borne by the student and family in various countries, and what is the recent increase in these costs being borne by students and families, as opposed to governments or taxpayers? (This question must consider any offsetting effects of means-tested or otherwise targeted grants and student loans.)
  5. What policy tools—e.g., need-based grants, loans, loan subsidies, very low or no tuition, subsidized lodging and food—are being employed to increase accessibility, and what is known of their efficacy?

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текст статьи в формате html на сайте Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo:
http://www.gse.buffalo.edu/org/inthigheredfinance/publications_HiEdFiDBJ.html
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