Tag Archives: higher education

Peter Singer

My students often ask me if I think their parents did wrong to pay the $44,000 per year that it costs to send them to Princeton. I respond that paying that much for a place at an elite university is not justified unless it is seen as an investment in the future that will benefit not only one’s child, but others as well. An outstanding education provides students with the skills, qualifications, and understanding to do more for the world than would otherwise be the case. It is good for the world as a whole if there are more people with these qualities. Even if going to Princeton does no more than open doors to jobs with higher salaries, that, too, is a benefit that can be spread to others, as long as after graduating you remain firm in the resolve to contribute a percentage of that salary to organizations working for the poor, and spread this idea among your highly paid colleagues. The danger, of course, is that your colleagues will instead persuade you that you can’t possibly drive anything less expensive than a BMW and that you absolutely must live in an impressively large apartment in one of the most expensive parts of town.

Peter Singer, The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, London, 2009, pp. 138-139

Carlos Santiago Nino

[L]a mera gratuidad negativa—el no tener que pagar aranceles—es insuficiente y hasta hipócrita: todos sabemos que el mayor costo de la enseñanza universitaria no está dado por el eventual pago de aranceles, sino por el pago de libros y otros materiales y, principalmente, por el lucro cesante para estudiantes que no tienen medios de vida propios para atender sus gastos de subsistencia y los de su familia durante el período de estudios, que cada vez exigen una concentración más plena e intensa.

La gratuidad debe ser positiva y debe necesariamente incluir becas y otros medios de ayuda efectiva para facilitar una igualdad de condiciones reales en la necesaria dedicación a los estudios. Si tales becas sólo pueden subvecionarse con el pago de aranceles por parte de los estudiantes pudientes, únicamente un prejuicio, fruto del pensamiento “blando” […] puede oponerse a ello.

Carlos Santiago Nino, ‘El discurso blando sobre la Universidad’, Propuesta y control, vol. 12 (July-August, 1990), pp. 130-131