By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 3 October 2017
The current edition of the OECD’s Education at a Glance, published on 13 September, noted that in 2014, only 28 per cent of the financing of all tertiary education in the UK was from public sources, with 72 per cent from private sources, mostly from students. This was the lowest share of public financing in all 33 OECD countries for which figures were available.
The exceptionally high level of tuition fees in England makes the funding system vulnerable to the accusation that graduates pay too much. At the same time, it can be argued that the public is paying too little, and that over time this will lead to neglect of the common and collective goods derived from England’s university and college infrastructure. The debate about the extent to which university education is public good is conspicuously missing from much of the current, increasingly heated, debate on tuition fees.
Existing public subsidies
It is likely that the OECD 28 per cent ratio underestimates the extent of public subsidies in