Scotland has a policy of free university tuition. Today The Guardian reports:
The research by Lucy Hunter Blackburn, a former civil servant with the Scottish government, estimates that free university tuition and the cuts in grants to lower-earning students means middle-class families and students will be £20m a year better.
She estimates that the overall costs to lower-income families, including thousands of students at further education colleges, have gone up by at least £32m a year after the grant cuts forced them to take out larger loans.
“Free tuition in Scotland is the perfect middle-class, feel-good policy,” Hunter Blackburn said. “It’s superficially universal, but in fact it benefits the better-off most, and is funded by pushing the poorest students further and further into debt.
“The Scottish system for financing full-time students in higher education does not have the egalitarian, progressive effects commonly claimed for it.”
Arts administrators take note. I wrote a post on targeting of benefits in the early days of this blog, here. There are many ways to reach out to lower-income patrons, and a blanket cut in prices is not necessarily one of the better ways.