Cash incentives or classic incentives? – The Glasgow Guardian


Do pecuniary incentives for deferral penalize students from lower-income households?

To say “students had a tough year” feels like an understatement. At every level of education, from high school to university, the nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has raised a number of questions about how we operate our education system. From online exams to forced distance learning to scandals surrounding exam results, the traditional norms of our education system have been challenged. With this in mind, universities have started offering financial incentives for students to postpone a year or study at another academic institution. However, I don’t think this approach is in the best interests of the students.

At first sight this may seem reasonable and fundamental; The past year saw record numbers of college degrees and high school diplomas and, as a result, more students applied for university courses. However, the decision to offer money in exchange for a one-year grace period is a classic approach to college applications. Not only does it violate the autonomy of lower-income students, but it also undermines the basic principle that science should be equally accessible to all and that universities should be nothing more than conveyors of academic talent.

“Not only does it violate the autonomy of low-income students, but it also undermines the fundamental principle that science should be equally accessible to all …”

The practice of bar incentives has a disproportionate impact on students from poorer socio-economic backgrounds. University is holistically expensive – we cannot deny that. Not only is it books and academic materials, but joining student associations, travel and a vibrant social life are all part of appreciating what the university has to offer. Financial circumstances have already influenced student life in recent years, and the economic burden caused by the pandemic has only worsened the already precarious situation of the students. In this way, a university that offers a financial incentive to be postponed for a year can be an offer that some students cannot refuse, while others who are more financially secure can take their place at the university with confidence. That is intuitively unfair.

The effect of monetary incentives creates a two tier system among students. Those who can afford it can study at will. Those who cannot afford it are instead tempted to give their place away to someone born into a more privileged household. Does this really keep the university’s promise to “promote equality in all its activities and” [aiming] to create a working, learning, research and teaching environment that is free from discrimination and unjust treatment ”? It is not.

In contrast to the first impressions of cash incentives, the reality is divisive and classic. Financial incentives for deferment show the unequal economic reality that studying at a university can be; Being academically resilient and determined may not be enough if you can’t afford to study. The funds made available to students should be better used, for example to improve access for students from lower-income households. In principle, universities should welcome inquisitive minds regardless of their financial situation and not pay them to leave.


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