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Jakarta Post

The reality of higher education subsidies

  • Rivandra Royono


Jakarta   /   Sat, May 23 2009   /  01:24 pm

The government's decision to grant greater autonomy to universities and reduce subsidies for higher education has been met with mixed reactions. Many people support the policy, believing it will bring equality to the currently segregated community and increase overall welfare. Proponents of a blanket subsidy for higher education hinge their arguments on conventional wisdoms: That there are hordes of poor students that do not enter college because they cannot afford the tuition fees; and that putting more and more individuals through college will increase overall public welfare. These ideas are appealing and popular, but are not necessarily correct. Let's take a closer look. First, evidence shows that there is only a very small fraction of the poor that graduate high school and are thus eligible to enter college. The number of poor people going to school decreases signifi...