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4,071 hits Rate me! Share Favorite | Flag 8 years ago by Raisinman

Should government subsidies for higher education be reserved only for students pursuing technical fields?


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8 yrs ago - Monday 11/7/11 - 2:12:30 PM EST (GMT-5)
The argument is essentially that society really only benefits from more college graduates if they lead to a greater degree of innovation. Engineers and chemists will be much more likely to innovate than art history majors, for example, so why should the public subsidize degrees in art history?
8 yrs ago - Monday 11/7/11 - 2:44:24 PM EST (GMT-5)
As long as jobs are given out based on *any* college degree, I think there's a case to be made that they should all be eligible for subsidies. There are a lot of jobs that don't require college degrees for the actual job, but they use college degrees as a sign that the applicant has persevered and has some kind of valuable character such-and-such, etc. I would rather focus on revising the expectation that *everyone* must go to college.
8 yrs ago - Monday 11/7/11 - 2:52:34 PM EST (GMT-5)
I think the governments role in managing education (and in society in general) goes beyond solely seeking innovation and pushing technology forward. There is also an element of sustaining cultural values, reflecting on social context and entertainment, which non-technical fields play a part of. Funding should still be prioritised, our medical and engineering research councils (the government-funded bodies who deal with postgraduate and research funding) rightly get more money than the arts and humanities one, but that doesn't mean the latter should be cut.

Not to mention, there's a lot of money behind technical fields without government support (e.g. industry funding), whereas the arts fields perhaps *rely* on it a little more.
8 yrs ago - Monday 11/7/11 - 2:53:05 PM EST (GMT-5)
That's primarily post-grad issues though, I think it's debatable whether subsidising undergraduate study is necessary at all solely on the basis of return in terms of things like innovation (considering the number of graduates being pumped out and ignoring things like social inequality etc. blah). There's probably enough capable people who can pay their own way to fill those roles. In the broader social context, there are other factors which are also considered important.
8 yrs ago - Monday 11/7/11 - 5:34:23 PM EST (GMT-5)
What FD said.

How do you even measure if it's beneficial?
8 yrs ago - Monday 11/7/11 - 6:24:33 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Monday 11/7/11 - 5:34:23 PM newtownninja wrote:
What FD said.

Yeah, that was a pretty thorough and awesome explanation for why this would be a bad idea.
8 yrs ago - Tuesday 11/8/11 - 9:43:08 PM EST (GMT-5)
"That's primarily post-grad issues though, I think it's debatable whether subsidising undergraduate study is necessary at all solely on the basis of return in terms of things like innovation"

Well, I was primarily referring to undergraduate study. It seems that many students in non-technical majors go on to careers that don't involve their subject at all (or very loosely), whereas a Bachelor's degree in a technical field is much more likely to be used directly and thus contribute to the advancement and utilization of that field.

However, I would agree that there is more merit in subsidizing graduate studies in non-technical fields as those students are much more likely to contribute to their fields.
8 yrs ago - Tuesday 11/8/11 - 9:45:22 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Monday 11/7/11 - 2:44:24 PM IRLIteach wrote:
As long as jobs are given out based on *any* college degree, I think there's a case to be made that they should all be eligible for subsidies. There are a lot of jobs that don't require college degrees for the actual job, but they use college degrees as a sign that the applicant has persevered and has some kind of valuable character such-and-such, etc. I would rather focus on revising the expectation that *everyone* must go to college.

Perhaps if the govt didn't encourage everyone to go to college, employers wouldn't expect candidates to have degrees when the job really doesn't need one. As it stands now, there are tons of college graduates who are willing to take any well-paying job they can find - so why wouldn't an employer make that a requirement to thin out the pool of applicants?
7 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Monday 11/28/11 - 1:26:32 PM EST (GMT-5)
I think the govt should pay for everyones college instead of spending like 5 trillion dollars on military each year. :-p
7 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Monday 11/28/11 - 7:32:15 PM EST (GMT-5)
No, but I do think that every student should have a sponser employer, be it the government, or private company, who has a contract with the potential student who will be paying for the schooling.
7 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Monday 11/28/11 - 7:43:46 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Tuesday 11/8/11 - 9:43:08 PM Raisinman wrote:
Well, I was primarily referring to undergraduate study. It seems that many students in non-technical majors go on to careers that don't involve their subject at all


Not continuing on in their field and not making useful contributions to society that draw upon the skills learned are two very different things.

I think one of the strongest arguments to be made for encouraging education in all subjects is that we have very little real idea what fields of employment will even exist in 10-20 years, or what skills those fields will require. As an example, Steve Jobs famously took a calligraphy course as an undergrad. Were it not for that very non-technical class, our daily interactions with computers would likely be very different.
7 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Monday 11/28/11 - 7:45:48 PM EST (GMT-5)
Trying to successfully organize strict government investment in something as fluid and far in the future as potential careers is unrealistic at best. At worst, it could end up with investing billions in already outdated skills. If the government decides to invest in career training and education, the best plan is to do it as broadly as possible and as flexibly as possible.
7 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Friday 12/9/11 - 2:00:23 AM EST (GMT-5)
Education in all fields is beneficial to society, and the idea that only technical fields of education yield innovation is bullsh*t. A wide variety of occupations are necessary in human society, and education has intangible benefits that go far beyond occupational or monetary ones. If government is going to subsidize education, education in all fields should be subsidized.

I have nothing at all against technical fields of education, and I resent the fact that I even had to use that qualifier, but to attack any one field of academia as illegitimate is an attack against all academia and arguably against all intellectual development outside of academic settings.

This question reeks of another college major snob who is using his own academic aptitudes as a way to feel superior to others.
7 yrs ago, 11 mos ago - Saturday 12/10/11 - 1:22:33 PM EST (GMT-5)
"A wide variety of occupations are necessary in human society"

Most of which do not require any sort of higher education. But because we've embraced the idea that its good for everyone to pursue a degree in higher education regardless of their career aspirations, many employers require their applicants to have a degree even though its really not necessary. The result is a shlt-ton of student loan debt for people who end up with jobs that don't pay well enough to cover that debt.

"education has intangible benefits that go far beyond occupational or monetary ones."

Are those benefits to society or just for the individual? I think it would be cool to learn about Greek mythology, but I sure as hell wouldn't expect tax-payers to help foot the bill for me to get a degree in it.



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