University-based education, as a commodity, is probably one of the best in the entire world, even though it is not a physical commodity, like copper, wheat or oil. It is not a typical, stock market kind of commodity, either. Nor is it recession proof.
University education represents a service to the community, as opposed to being a material good or substance, that is marketable, as such.
University-based education is invariably subject to the whims of the world economy. In other words, when there is a surge in the economy of any country, it leads to a reduction in the cost of university-based education, or at least, it should. A decline in the economy generally leads to an increase in the cost of university-based education.
University based education operates, at least to some extent, on the principle of supply and demand, in the sense that if there are not enough university graduates, in some part of the world, country or academic field, the demand for them increases. If there is an excess of university graduates, the demand declines.
Normally, there is a continual demand for university graduates, in every country of the world. This brings about a continual demand for university-based educaton, as well.
But, when there is a high demand for university-based education and the economy of the country is in a state of financial crisis, university-based education may suffer immediate cutbacks, as it is funded, at least in part, by the government of the country.
For universities to remain operational and to be able to provide university-based education to prospective students, a consistent and reliable source of income for the university, is essential.
Where does a university obtain sufficient resources to remain functional, when a country is failing, in terms of its financial structure?
When any corporation or organization like a university, makes a huge profit, that profit has to be absorbed by them, in such a way that keeps them relatively dependent upon the source of their resources. If the source of the resources disappears, the corporation, organization or university may suffer a financial collapse.
Ongoing expansion, is only one of the ways that a university manages to continue to stay afloat, financially. This can include expansion in terms of academic research, as well.
The university can change its fee structure or increase its fees.
It can also offer advanced programs to out-of-country regions of the world, at a higher cost, if necessary, in order to stay operational.
But by doing this, the university cuts back on the opportunities offered to potential students, within their own countries, which is not necessarily a good thing for them or their countries. It may also increase the economic recession, over time or force them to leave their countries to find employment as new graduates.
Effective resolution of the global economy is essential for governments to be able to support university-based education everywhere, unless the universities can come up with better financial solutions. Outreach on a global basis, by universities, can bring some degree of resolution, but may also create additional problems for countries, at the same time. The influx of students from other countries, when there are already not enough jobs, adds to unemployment.
At the same time, outside input into the academic system, opens the eyes of those who are in a university-based educational system. No university has access to all knowledge. No university is totally functional and fully operational, in terms of everything that can be known about a subject or in terms of research. There is always room for growth and expansion in the educational system, but growth and expansion leads to increased cost for the university, as well as its students.
There are scholarships, bursaries, and grants available to prospective students, even when the cost of university-based education is high. Corporations or organizations that need ongoing research, may fund university-based education, for those who qualify. Students can do comparative shopping elsewhere, in terms of the cost of university-based education. They can also seek university level employment. If necessary, they can reduce the number of courses that they take at one time and study on a part-time basis. They can also participate in research, even that which is global in perspective. They can seek mentors or student advisors for guidance in their speciality areas and work directly with them.
University-based education seems like a vicious cycle, in terms of cost factors. Meeting one need often goes back to creating other needs that have to be met also. But the same is true in terms of commodities of any kind. The commodity referred to as university-based education is marketable, all around the world. Like any other commodity, it will experience highs and lows.
It is important for prospective students not to panic, when there is a lull in the economy of a country. The economy of every country will always rise and fall, as will the cost of university-based education.