This topical volume tells the story of the UK debate on financing higher education, illustrating a head-on collision between the economic imperatives of student loans and regulated market forces, and the political imperative of 'free' higher education. In telling the story of the partnership of an economist and a political professional, the book offers lessons about both policy design and the politics of reform: of particular relevance to countries which have not yet addressed the issue, including many OECD countries, the more advanced post-communist reforming countries and, increasingly, to middle-income developing countries.
No longer the exclusive province of a small intellectual elite, higher education is a key element in national economic performance. A modern economy needs a high-quality university system, and needs to make it accessible to everyone who can benefit, but mass higher education is expensive, and competes for public funds with pensions and health care, to say nothing of nursery education and schools. How to pay for higher education has thus become a central issue, and Barr and Crawford’s book expertly covers the debates and issues involved.
Table of Contents
1. Higher Education in Britain: The Story from 1987-2004 Part 1: Introducing Student Loans 2. Income-Contingent Loans: A Central Theme 3. Setting Universities Free from Central Planning: A Second Central Theme 4. A Specific Loan Proposal 5. The 1990 Government Loan Scheme: A Critique 6. Pulling the Arguments Together Part 2: The Chickens Come Home to Roost: The Dearing Report 7. Alternative Funding Sources for Higher Education 8. Education and the Life Cycle 9. The Game Resumes: Evidence to the Dearing Committee 10. The Dearing Report and Government Response: A Critique 11. An International View Part 3: The 2004 Legislation 12. The Benefits of Education: What We Know and What We Don't 13. Evidence to the Education Select Committee 1 14. Evidence to the Education Select Committee 15. The Higher Education White Paper: A Critique Epilogue 16. Onwards and Outwards
Nicholas Barr is Professor of Public Economics at the LSE and the author of books and articles including The Economics of the Welfare State. He has spent periods of leave at the World Bank, working on the post-communist transition countries, and at the IMF. Since the late 1980s, he has been active in the debate on higher education, advising government in a range of countries including England, Australia, New Zealand and Hungary.
Iain Crawford is a former Parliamentary Candidate and former Head of Public Relations at the London School of Economics. He has been active in the UK debate on higher education since the late 1980s and has advised the Hungarian government on the design of a student loan scheme.