A number of months ago at a Chairman’s Breakfast one of our guests was voicing his support for universities in an effort to raise their flagging enrolment. As it happened there were a couple of “ivory tower” types also on the guests list. One of them spoke up, declaring that while it would be nice to have more students, they were currently full and really couldn’t handle any more. This perked up more than a few ears including mine. I am more informed of facts like these than most and was aware that the fear of tumble weeds outnumbering students was not well founded but full?
To substantiate, on February 27th in the Chronicle Herald ran a story about the increase in enrolment in Canadian Universities and the strain it is putting on the underfunded schools. While this information was national in scope the reason given for the increase is applicable and heartening – “that students understand the requirements of the knowledge economy.” This isn’t great news for increasing productivity. A less optimistic analysis might also point out that in recessionary times the safe harbour of education is a great place to keep your head low rather than face the indignity and discouragement of under and unemployment. This is yet another reason to keep tuition low.
How do I know this? Two sources; behavioural economics and personal experience.