By Sam Bowman
The Government has been criticised for its new ‘idea’ for universities, to allow rich students to buy places at university. Students will be able to pay the fees that foreign students pay in order to guarantee a place in the course they want. Isn’t this just a sop to the rich that will further harm social mobility? Well, yes and no. It will benefit rich students, but it will open a great many other doors as well.
We are living through a crisis in university education. Last year, 188,697 university applicants failed to get a place after clearing, an increase of around 40% on the year before. This kind of shortage is all too predictable – when you set a price ceiling for something, you should expect shortages. For an example of this, look at the 1973 oil crisis. The US and UK imposed price controls and experienced fuel queues and shortages; Japan and Germany allowed prices to rise and consumption dropped in reaction, with fuel going t