January 26, 2005
The unintended consequences of selective price control

Oxford University is allowed to charge the full wack for foreigners, but is forbidden to charge what it likes to locals and the government won't make up enough of the difference. So, it wants more foreigners and fewer locals:

Oxford University, under-funded by the Government by £95 million a year, is to cut the number of British undergraduates it admits and "vigorously" recruit more foreign students, who pay the full cost of their degrees.

The one-to-one tutorial system - the heart of Oxford teaching for almost 900 years – is to be reduced and more will be done by graduate assistants instead of "overworked" lecturers.

Applicants are likely to face new verbal reasoning and aptitude tests similar to those taken by pupils wanting to study medicine and law so as to eliminate the "tail" of under-performing students and ensure that only the brightest are admitted.

Dons will face regular reviews of their performance and a reduced role in governing the university following a drastic reduction in the "multiplicity" of its committees.

The reforms were part of a radical package announced yesterday by John Hood, 52, a New Zealand academic and management expert who took over as vice-chancellor three months ago, the first outsider to be appointed to the post.

Ah yes, those management experts, the bearers of bad news which the academics don't want to face but know they must. Just so long as Oxford University confines itself to doing management, and refrains from speaking it. (Mission statements, etc.)

Nations get poorer without realising it, and then suddenly they do realise it. This story reminds me of the stories I hear from France about how old French people can't afford to buy little houses in the country, because the foreigners are buying them all at prices beyond what they can manage.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 01:52 AM
Category: Economics of education