OECD calls for better data

February 21, 2003

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has seen a need for more information on the rates of return to individuals from higher education.

A meeting in Dublin of 80 decision-makers and officials from OECD countries also called for better data on the impact on enrolments of imposing various forms of student contributions. It was thought the data would enhance decisions on tuition fees and may result in better student support.

Variation of fees is an established feature in the private sector, but charging students differential fees in public institutions is more controversial.

Some countries are permitting institutions to set their own fees up to a maximum limit. In the US, demand for places with lower fees has led to different fees charged for classes at less popular times.

Delegates also discussed differentiating between universities by research intensity. This is resisted by regional communities that expect their local institution to be a full-scale university.

For them it was important that national higher education policy took account of regional development policy and the contribution that universities might make to regional development.

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