Who should get the sandstone premium?

In The Australian yesterday Australian Catholic University VC Greg Craven argued against deregulation of student contribution amounts.

I’ll leave his equity and participation arguments for another day. But part of Craven’s objection is that he thinks the Group of Eight universities will be able to charge more than other unis, and he doesn’t like that idea.

Craven’s main argument seems to be that though Group of Eight universities argue for more funding on the basis of teaching quality, there is no guarantee that additional fee revenue will in fact be spent on teaching. Instead, Group of Eight unis will charge more because of their historical prestige and spend some of the money on other things, especially research.

Fees charged to international students certainly suggest that there is sandstone premium. I did a quick comparison of 2010 international fees in five sandstones (UQ, USyd, UMelb, UAd, UWA) and seven lower-prestige institutions (Victoria Uni, UWS, USA, ECU, Canberra, ACU). The sandstone premium ranged from 10% in education to nearly 80% in commerce/business courses. Continue reading “Who should get the sandstone premium?”