We pander to the snobbish middle-class at the expense of other school-leavers.
We like to fancy ourselves as being a great nation of egalitarians. Yet when you look closely, we do not always pass the test. Nobody sensible believes that equality of opportunity should mean equality of outcome. But we do like to think that we treat people equally. That we are ”fair”.
Despite our self-image as a fair and egalitarian country, we nonetheless happily treat school-leavers who go to university much more generously than we do all the other school-leavers. This generous treatment only panders to and enhances the snobbish, middle-class, inflated sense of being better that so many tertiary-educated people seem to display.
We all enjoy the benefits of a well-educated society, which is why we should keep seeking to raise the standard. But let’s not forget that those who benefit the most are those that get the better education. University graduates generally get better jobs, have higher incomes, enjoy better health and spend less time in jail.
Amanda Vanstone argues that tertiary graduates should start paying their HECS debt back sooner, before the current income threshold of $45,000 noting that university graduates are already among the most privileged people in society and need no more generosity.
See the full opinion piece at the SMH website here: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/uni-students-get-a-free-ride-for-too-long-with-their-hecs-debt-20110320-1c24r.html