The country needs better educated people if it is going to progress in the modern age. I agree they should pay their way but I also think we need to encourage them to take the right degree.
I think we should grade courses with an (a), (b) or (c) with the earnings to start paying back being on a sliding scale between 26k, 21k and 16k. Then we can grade all the degrees really useful to the country advancement in the international industrial market as (a); degrees that will help the country internally as (b); degrees that will only help the student as (c).
David Cameron has read the book called “Nudge” as I have – I know he has as he has invited the American author to Downing Street for a discussion. This is a way of nudging Students to go for courses that will help Britain, whilst at the same time not forcing them to follow a specific subscribed route.
Nudge, a book written by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, is about Libertarian Paternalism. An unfortunate phrase as it consists of two words not well accepted by society. However when put together, it shows how you can encourage the right choices by how you present them. For example, in supermarkets, they nudge you to buy the more expensive choices by putting those items at face level, as mentioned by Tim Harford in his “The Under Cover Economist”. Agreed, this use doesn’t come under paternalism!
I read these sort of books as I find, as a shopper, it is useful to understand the psychology the companies are using against me. Take Starbucks (far away please) for example, do you need the expensive Lattes or Cappuccinos when all you want is a coffee. I buy the cheaper “Americano” (double espresso topped up to a full cup with hot water, with a small jug of cold milk) and it is tasty, I get my fix, and save up to two pounds a time!