It is always essential that the voice of students is put at centre stage during debates regarding the future of education and how the educational setting is funded. Students should therefore be properly represented during actual funding reviews which must go beyond the simple issues and further observe the overall funding structures in education and thereafter, propose rampant changes to funding structures where such changes are needed. To ensure that such acts are achieved, then there is need for the development of a comprehensive and clear solution towards the failings and problems that are facing the contemporary funding system. Foundations for possible new structures of funding should therefore be put in place. Alternative funding policies should be developed to help the variable fees system to ensure that the funding structure is both sustainable and equitable.
Some of the foundations of an educational setting's funding structure are the manner in which student support is funded. This should be independently considered from the manner in which individual contribution towards educational costs are collected. By so doing, greater flexibility will be created towards meeting the aims of the contribution structure and the students' needs. Provision for students should be based on their true needs while studying and a contribution towards education costs should be made based on the true benefits. A progressive approach should therefore be used. To enable students to effectively and easily move between the various stages in the structure with no penalties, significant flexibility should be established and therefore the structure should be maximally use the flexible units of academic credits. Flexibility should also be established in order to meet the diverse needs of student support side.
Processes and systems of educational funding should be more efficient so as to make sure that maximum resources are applied either in learning or teaching or for directly supporting the students financially. Levels of debt that are unmanageable should always be avoided because they are bad for both the lender and the borrower. There should be establishment of financial compact between the date, employers and individuals since they should also play active roles in a new, progressive and fair funding structure. In order to properly review education funding, the above foundations should be set as aims and the government should set the terms of reference wherever undertaking such reviews.
In the present funding structure, various distinct functions are always at work. The present funding structure directs resources, a fraction of which is obtained from individuals' fees. The funding structure further distributes resources to students through subsidized loans and grants in order to support them during their studies and therefore facilitating an economic market theoretically even though such an economic market has not in reality emerged. The present funding structure has been designed in such a way as to bring all the functions together through the unification mechanisms of student loans. The provision of student financial support is the major contributor of student loans accounts and it is such accounts that hold crucial individual expenditure on fees. Non-repayable grants are often distributed through the student loans systems while other aspects of the funding structure remain separate.
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The core mechanisms used in the distribution of grant funding used for teaching do not deviate from the normal tenet of the formula based system used for blocking of grants despite the fact that it is regularly reviewed. However, much efforts have been put in place to supplement this funding structure with a specific amount of demand led funding even though this will still remain to be a small portion of the total amount. The first foundation of the alternative funding structure should therefore be geared towards disaggregating funding mechanisms which are used for student support and which are derived from funding mechanisms meant for individual contribution towards the provision of educational costs. By so doing, greater flexibility will be created in setting mechanisms which are in position to meet the stated aims. In addition to this, various conceptual views about such functions and viewing each of them as being a distinctive stage will make the application of various approaches which are required during each stage to be easier and effective. In order to create a fair funding structure for students, it is vital for one to be clear on each part of the funding structure and be in a good position of not only seeking to achieve the goals but also know the challenges that can limit institutions from achieving the required goals.
A funding structure that is based on clear set of stages should always be advocated. Such a funding structure should therefore be established with the right financial relationships between the system and students at each and every stage. This funding structure will therefore need the separation of financial plans for student provision and support. The funding structure should spell how the students can be put in a liberated position in the preparation and actual study stages. This will create an ample environment for making decisions based on the students' learning needs regardless of the potential returns, viability concerning the available support or price unlike in the situation where there is an extension of the current system.
Another foundation of a funding structure is that students must be provided for based on their true needs while studying and the students should therefore contribute towards the costs of education in accordance with the true benefits they will achieve when they are working. This is also known as the progressive approach. It is a known fact that not all students will go through a linear path of the stages in future. This funding structure should therefore be treated to be cyclical in order to seamlessly move between various periods of work and study in any new systems and be able to combine both work and study. The institution's funding structure is therefore set in addressing the needs of students and their performance through mechanisms of a funding structure which facilitates and supports such flexibility.
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The current funding system being used is inherently very inflexible because it usually depends on units of funding which are measured using the full time equivalent years (FTE) like an annual loan used for support or an annual fee payment. Taking amounts in annual units has been known to be more appropriate and useful in many situations even though this doesn't make it harder in the construction of flexible funding structures which can cope with other demands for people wishing to study more flexibly. Surprisingly, the use of academic credit has not been much useful as a determinant and a measure in funding mechanisms or structures despite the fact that they are near ubiquity in the determination of the quantity, structure of courses and the level of learning which relates to specific outcomes. Student support in the current funding structure has been known to be a strong barrier towards flexible learning and it is always hard to obtain financial support for part time students and such funding if found, has been known to be meager. A good funding structure should therefore be established to cater for student support through non-traditional means of learning that are substantially better than the present ones.
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Another foundation of funding structure is ensuring that there is a significant flexibility for students in order for them to easily move between the different stages with no penalty. Important quantities should therefore be based on academic credits which are have more flexible units instead of the less sensitive study blocks normally referred to as credit related structures. In order to meet diverse needs for student support side proposals, then strong support for flexibility should be incorporated in the funding structure. This is because the current system has been riddled with large inefficiencies which arise because of the fueling of the funding system with loans for fees and support at no tangible rate of interest. The government is at long last forced to account for the costs through a resource accounting charge which suppresses its expenditure meant for directing major activities that the government wishes to support. The present system is unsustainable and therefore it should be extended by increasing perhaps the cap on the levels of fee and the student debt level to a point where they can have an impact on other branches of the economy.
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