Higher Education are Luxury Brands

Higher Education are Luxury Brands

Looking at education as any other types of goods or services that people can purchase, we might ask how its demand relate to income levels, and in turn, what type of good it is. Basic and secondary education are required as per our laws and the government has public schools for those who can’t afford it. But private primary, secondary and higher education is probably a luxury good. Although education firms are technically social enterprises and a force for social good but today schools are more and more run like ruthless corporations!

The private sector’s role in education in our society serves a complementary role, one cannot deny that. But that’s not what we are going to talk about here. With the rise of online learning and classes due to the global pandemic, the people are wondering.. "Is what we are paying for? Is it worth it today?"

Expectation vs. Reality

Expectation:Education is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. And it is our job that every young person —no matter race or place or geography or family background or parents' education level —every student has the opportunity to pursue a life-changing degree. Because we believe in education.

Reality: Families were already having a hard time affording college/university education. Now, it will be even harder. Even before the pandemic, household income had not kept up with tuition inflation.

Higher education is supposed to prepare us for our desired careers, and yet we are pressured by family, friends and society in making our choices. And from a cost standpoint, the prices just doesn't make sense. Many can't afford college but the rules of modern society are making you go.

Price Breakdown

The price justification can be broken down into credential (certification), education, experience (which can be very broad: network, facilities, culture, quality..etc..). For let’s say psychology degree, here in Cebu we can compare the annual tuition fee with the following schools: (1) Blue-white University: Php50k/year; (2) Blue-U: Php46k/yr; (3) Dark-Blue-College: Php54k/yr; (4) Light-Green-U: Php40k/yr; (5) Dark-Green-U: Php45k/yr; (6) Maroon-U: Php30k/yr; (7) Green-Gold-U: Php80k/yr; (8) Public-U1: Php10k/yr; (9) Public-U2: Php25k/yr..

Note: That these are estimates based on the average range of annual tuition fee from my friends (also via finduniversity.ph & edukasyon.ph). Tuition fee increase was about 7% in 2019.

We can see that the range is quite wide and that’s just for one degree! The Public universities are of course subsidized. Which brings the question, if you won’t go for public-Ed, then why not just choose the lowest among the private ones? Or perhaps consider public or even private scholarships?

Let’s not even mention the prices in Metro Manila colleges & universities which could reach an average of six figures per year. (Check via ecomparemo.com)

What is the value of a degree?

The answer is different if you ask different people. Some has chosen to romanticize it, others use nostalgia as basis. Basically, most reasons are emotional and this is where the gap appears. The original purpose was lost and now we have for the longest time an industry-academe gap, specifically the knowledge and industry-skills gap that recruiters are talking about today.

Now, I would exempt highly-in-demand-specialty-courses such as Medical studies as these are resource intensive and necessary in society, especially with the pandemic still going.

But my personal opinion is that a degree can get you a foot in the door for a job, but that is as far as it goes. The rest is up to how you perform in the interview and one’s experience.

If higher-ed firms cannot adapt and move fast into digital & new normal solutions now, then they will perish. College and University used to be aspirational, it was your shot at a better life. But these days, they just give you a piece of paper and let you go like some sort of highly efficient production line.

Students are thrown out of the frying pan, and into the fire of the real world.

Unfortunately, society definitely penalizes those who choose to not get a degree. It sucks, but you are expected to do it. Although this has been asked pre-pandemic but once again let me ask, what value are you getting from this schools? Are you getting what you paid for?

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Higher Education are Luxury Brands Higher Education are Luxury Brands Reviewed by Vernon Joseph Go on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 Rating: 5

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