Tertiary education is an important element in national economic performance and a major determinant of a person´s life chances but, throughout the world, it faces problems: (i) universities are underfunded, raising worries about quality; (ii) student support is inadequate; (iii) the proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds is lamentably small; and (iv) the financing of universities in many countries is regressive, since the money comes from general taxation but the major beneficiaries are from better-off backgrounds.
Higher education plays a key role in training qualified individuals who will be capable of implementing new technologies and using innovative methods to establish more efficient enterprises and institutions and thus allocate resources more effectively. Through research and increased knowledge, higher education can also help address the challenges arising from the increase in the size of the population, limited arable land, endemic diseases, urbanisation, energy costs, and climate change.
Ensuring the quality of tertiary education requires a funding policy that not only can ensure its sustainability but also can provide the incentives to increase efficiency, promote a more equitable access and orient the institutions toward the needs of the economy.
What are the costs?
How much does tertiary education really cost? There are three basic costs to think about: course fees, programme-related costs, and living costs while you are studying or training
Course fees charged by education providers constitute the main costs of tertiary education. Tuition fees can range from a few hundreds, in developing economies, to thousands of dollars for each year of study. Fees vary depending on the programme that you enrol for and the provider.
Compare the course fees charged by several education providers before you make a decision on where to study. Some may offer fee-free schemes.
Think about the possibility of your training on the job. Employers and industry groups often subsidise course fees for apprenticeships and workplace training. But the course must make you functional to the establishment at the end of the programme
Course costs go beyond tuition fees. You also have to pay for things like textbooks, student union, stationery and any tools or equipment needed for the programme.
Check with your education provider or employer about what the programme-related costs are likely to be. You may be able to claim your programme-related costs as part of your student loan or buy some things second-hand.
Living costs are likely to be your highest cost if you’re leaving home to study or train. Before you make your education decision, think about these questions:
- How much will accommodation cost? Do you have accommodation options? Can you stay with a family, stay in a hostel, share a flat, or stay at home?
- Think of daily transportation to and from school
- How will you ensure you have enough money for food, power and a phone?
- What about clothing and entertainment?
You may be able to use a student loan to support some of your living costs, or you may qualify for a student allowance or an accommodation benefit.