I attended university in the United States and I can confirm that the quality of the American university system is very high. The costs, however, are high as well: for an average student, attending university means paying prohibitive fees up-front, or taking on many years of debt. To give you an idea, Barack Obama only finished paying off his “honors loan” a few years ago, when he had already been a senator for some time.
The State of Oregon has come up with an interesting, innovative idea. In coming years, students will be able to attend state university without paying tuition fees. In return, they will pay a portion of their future salary once they finish their studies.
It is a simple and revolutionary idea, based on merit in a very American way and one on which the entire Senate of Oregon agrees. Everyone wins: firstly the students, as they see their chances of attending prestigious schools increase, secondly the universities, as they can attract new applicants regardless of their spending capacity, and thirdly companies, as they will find a greater number of graduates, even more motivated to enter the world of work.
The relationship between quality, merit and resources is a topic of great relevance, and I would like to hear the thoughts of students themselves on the matter: perhaps the best ideas for improving this crucial point will, in fact, come from them. If education is to be accessible to all, it is also true that the educational provision must find the resources to enable it to be competitive and challenging.