The world is full of great learning destinations, but the vast majority of them are not for university students.
While it’s true that the vast amount of money that universities make from textbooks and coursework can only go so far, it’s worth considering what happens when those resources are distributed fairly, according to a recent study from the US-based think tank the Hoover Institution.
This is what the research found: The biggest winner is the public university, which makes about $US60bn from online learning in 2016-17, according an article by the think tank.
It is followed by the private sector, with $US23bn, and then universities themselves, with a mere $US4.5bn.
The report also showed that university students spent more than $US1bn on textbooks and courses in 2016.
This represents a rise of about 1.4 per cent on 2015-16, but falls by about 2.5 per cent from 2016-18.
And the biggest loser?
The Australian public university system.
The $US40bn it received in state funding was down by about 3 per cent in 2016 and a drop of about 2 per cent since the same period last year.
This includes a significant drop of $US6.2bn in 2016, according the Hoover.
The biggest losers in the US, meanwhile, were the states of Washington, New York, California and Illinois, which each saw a net loss of $15bn from the 2015-17 academic year.
The total cost of education in the United States, the report found, was $US2.7 trillion in 2019-20, which included $US3.1 trillion in public education.
That is $US8,000 for every Australian.
In 2019-2020, the total costs of educating a student in the state of New York was $23,971.
This equates to a loss of more than 30 per cent, according, according Professor Stephen Smith from the Hoover, a decline that is “quite significant”.
The report noted that the Australian government “has no plans” to cut public spending.
It said the budget was being set “in part to offset the large costs associated with higher tuition fees and lower wages”.
Professor Smith also said there was no doubt the current system was working, and that Australians would be “more educated” if they had to pay more.
“In particular, the federal government has made significant efforts to reduce costs, particularly in the form of the Medicare levy, and has been very successful in reducing costs for universities,” Professor Smith said.
“But the Australian public universities are still struggling with significant financial pressures, particularly because the university sector is not well managed, so there is no certainty about what the future will bring.”
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