Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Separate and Unequal

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Separate and Unequal

Article excerpt

Malcolm Gillies could not be more mistaken ("Independence pays", Opinion, 31 January): we need only look at the US Ivy League and our own "public" schools to see the damage that such elitism does. In both cases the institutions concerned charge far more than comparable state providers, with fees increasing far more rapidly than general prices or household incomes. Much of the additional revenue goes on things - glitzy cafeterias in the US, beagle kennels over here - that have only a remote relationship to learning but denote privilege and prestige. Most importantly, the fees provide a "price umbrella" for other providers, thus increasing the general level well beyond what many families - or the state - can afford. The higher charges reflect both the positional market in which these institutions operate and their lack of accountability to the state, neither of which is conducive to price restraint. The irony is that in each case the private institutions receive huge state subsidies (federal student support and research funding in the US, tax breaks in both nations).

There is also a range of non-quantifiable detriments. …

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