High Tuition For International Education Research Paper Example
An international student is defined in several ways for purposes of identification in research. The terms foreign student, international student and oversees student can be used interchangeably to mean the same thing. International students can be defined as individuals who travel away from their home country in search of academic or training (Doria n.p). An international student is therefore anyone who travels from their country of origin to another country for purposes of learning in an academic setting.
For this paper, we will define international students as individual scholars who leave their country of origin to study in another country as fees paying individuals. These students may have access to bursaries, grants, loans and scholarships but they are still considered as fees paying. This categorization allows this paper to closely examine the disparities in fee payment that international fees paying students experience. Travel from one country to another alone is not sufficient in identifying international students because as already explained, some scholars travel from their country of citizenship to another but are still not identified as international students.
Higher education is learning that occurs in post primary education institutions. Typically, colleges, polytechnics, and universities offer courses that result in higher education certifications certificates, diplomas and degrees. The term “higher” denotes the advanced level of study (Vicker and Beckram n.p). Graduates of institutes of higher learning are capable of finding comparatively better employment than those who only have basic education (Vicker and Beckram n.p). Individuals that have graduated from institutions of higher learning have a better chance of securing well-paying jobs and advancing quickly in their careers. It is therefore little wonder that higher education costs more than basic education. In many countries including the developing economies, basic education is free or highly subsidized. However, higher education remains elusive to may because of the prohibitive high cost of enrollment as well as stringent qualification requirements (Vicker and Beckram n.p).
One way of understanding why higher education is very expensive even for international students is to examine the demand and supply forces of higher education. Without delving deeply into economics, it is possible to conclude that the demand for higher education is higher than the supply of institutions of higher learning. Following traditional demand and supply models, it follows that prices will rise in response to increased demand (Vicker and Beckram n.p). In this case, prices are equivalent to school fees that are charged to students for demanding the product, which is advanced education.
Vicker and Beckram examine that there are economic costs and benefits of international students to a country (n.p). They focus on the contribution off international students to the United Kingdom’s (UK) economy. They acknowledge that the full contribution of international students to UK’s economy is impossible to estimate because there are measurable contributions such as monetary benefits and immeasurable contributions such as cultural contributions (Vicker and Beckram n.p). There is a large body of academic studies on the contributions of international students to an economy and therefore there is no doubt that a country stands to gain more from attracting international students that discouraging them from coming.
This then begs the question as to why international students pay higher fees than their colleagues who are citizens for the same courses. In some universities, international students pay as much as four time the fees that paid by local students. There are certain charges such as international student fees and one off lump sum payments that institutions exclusively charge international students. The UK earns billions of dollars from student spending on student fees, living expenses, and additional taxes from students who choose to remain and join the workforce (Vicker and Beckram n.p). Institutions of higher learning stand to gain immensely from attracting students that are more international yet every year the cost of international education has been rising disproportionately to the cost of education for citizens. Granted that it is now more expensive for anyone to study in an institution of higher learning than it was a decade ago, international students seem to bear the most of these rising costs.
In 2012, international students at Pursue University protested the increase in their fees by 100% from $1000 to $2000 (OECD n.p). The students were outraged by the apparent insensitivity of the university to the impact of such a drastic increase in school fees on their ability to pay for their education. Glaring fee disparities are present in many other popular destination countries for international students such as Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, and Germany among others (OECD n.p).
Most universities cannot justify the wide disparity in school fees for local and international students because they rely on the exorbitant fees to make up for budgetary deficits. In the past, governments allocated sufficient resources for the running of public institutions of earning. However as populations grew and economies collapsed, governments were forced to redirect their resources to pressing matters leaving universities to seek additional funding elsewhere. These institutions devised parallel courses and increased their international student enrolment quotas to receive the much-needed financial boost from fees payments. This model of institutional funding opened the doors for student exploitation and international students became easy targets (Tuition fees n.p). For the most part, many of those who travel away from their countries to study perceive foreign taught courses as prestigious and are willing to pay the cost of getting the qualifications. Most international students on self-sponsorship also come from middle class to high-income homes and are able to afford the stipulated school fees regardless of how exorbitant they may be (Tuition fees n.p).
The question then begs, if institutions of higher learning rely on the fees paid by international students to fill their budgetary deficits, why then do they do they impose such high school fees? The answer lies in the reality that even in their local jurisdictions, government have little influence in the level at which universities set fees for international students. They are only able to regulate the fees paid by citizens but international students are left to the mercy of the institutions to decide how much they will pay an opportunity to study in the institution.
This paper holds the position that institutions of higher learning should not exploit international students in the name of covering budgetary deficits. They deserve to pay comparatively similar school fees as their counterparts who are citizens of the host country. Although many institutions have benefitted immensely form setting very high fees for international students, they have also succeeded in locking out many potential students from accessing higher education. This price discrimination is a form of exclusion and should be discouraged because everybody deserves the right to higher education at affordable cost.
In a study to explore the relationship between the tuition fees charged for a Master in Business Administration (MBA) program and the overall application to the program, the scholars found that the more the number of applicants, the higher the level of tuition fees charged (Elliot & Soo 163). Many universities use the application volumes of the previous year to estimate the number of applications for the next intake and to set the fees for the next intake. Universities take advantage of high demand as depicted by a large number of applicants in the previous year to peg the fees at a higher level with little regard of what other universities are charging (Elliot & Soo 163). Many people are choosing to enroll in MBAs because of the positive impact it has on their career progression and salary levels.
It is morally wrong that institutions of higher learning have turned international student enrolments into moneymaking program. Basic education is a universal right while higher education has become a luxury commodity that is only accessible to the selected and lucky few. There cannot be any justification for charging a foreign student school fees that is four times that of a local student. Even with government subsidizing or wavering most costs for its citizens pursuing in institutions of higher learning, it cannot be realistic for foreigners to pay one hundred percent more fees than their comrades.
If institutions of higher learning establish fair pricing strategies, more foreign students will afford to pay for their higher learning and this demand will adequately cover for the reduced school fees. Similarly, affordable costs will allow institutions of higher learning to attract scholars to other non-competitive courses by leveraging on low fees levels (OECD n.p).
Without a concerted effort by all education stakeholders to regulate the cost of acquiring higher education for international students, there is little hope that their plight will improve any time soon. The current system of fees structures lacks any proper justification for the price level. On the other hand, international students have very few viable options for accessing additional funding to cater for unexpected increases in their cost of leaning. Students who find that they are unable to pay for the completion of their studies are often forced to drop out, seek part time employment, sometimes illegally, or return to their home countries. Educational stakeholders can establish an international body that will serve as a watchdog to ensure that institutions of higher learning are charging fair school fees to their students and that students are able to report those who are charging exorbitant fees
Elliot C. & Soo T. K. The international market for MBA qualifications: The relationship between tuition fees and applications”, Economics of Education Review 34 (2013): 162- 174
OECD. Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing, 2014. Print
Tuition fees, Self Esteem
Vickers, Phil, and Bekhradina. The economic costs and benefits of international students. Higher Education Policy Institute. July 2007
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