Not A New Idea
It's an appealing idea to some, but not a brand new one.
Bob Shireman of the nonprofit group California Competes says conservative economist Milton Friedman wrote about similar concepts in the 1950s, saying education should be seen as an investment.
"He suggested the government should provide people with money for college, and then charge them a percentage of their income later," Shireman says.
He points out that New Zealand, Australia and the U.K. have all invested in variations on this theme.
1. It's never been tried before.
2. It might not work.
3. The Tax Office will probably hate it.
4. The Student Unions will definitely hate it.
5. You don't get any money for seven years.
Education is not, cannot, and should not be organized to serve the accumulation of capital.
A HECS taskforce member [who I suspect to be Chapman], visiting the Tax Office to discuss [another policy], was told not only, `No problem' but asked whether he had a HECS pen. He hadn't known there was such a thing, and was duly presented with a biro inscribed `HECS -- the ATO working for you'. Then they asked if he had a HECS video. Or a HECS balloon. Finally, and proudest of all, they offered him a HECS board game.
One-half of the families in this state have incomes below $8,000; 23% of the University of California students have family incomes below $8,000; 14% of the State College students have family incomes below $6,000, and 4% below $4,000. [I'm willing to bet that 23 per cent received a disproportionate number of scholarships, too]
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