Kevin Denny at the Geary Institute has just posted a very important working paper that highlights the failure of the abolition of university fees to accomplish its primary goal of reducing educational inequality.
Kevin’s broad conclusion is that the abolition effectively amounts to a windfall gain for middle class parents who no longer have to pay fees. The result is that the policy is unintentionally highly regressive.
He also points out that, before the abolition of fees, low-income students received a means tested grant covering both tuition costs and a contribution to their living expenses. The effect of abolition was to actually withdraw the one advantage low income students had relative to high income students.
The author concludes by making some key points. First, he highlights the importance of early interventions in life; and second, he points out that for policies to be successful they must actually target the intended beneficiaries.