This is an idea that occurred to me as to how education could be free and still profitable. Inputs would have to be cheap and outputs [the student] would have to be necessary. This requires looking at the whole supply chain of education. 

This post is about the future. It may seem crazy to some because the ideas put forward have not yet been accomplished or seen practically anywhere. I have suggested ideas [in the past to George Osborne in this forum] which even to me seem crazy. Every time it occurs to me an idea so grand that requires money and power not yet at hand to accomplish I write it down and safely place it somewhere so that when the time is ripe for it it will come to fruition either by my hand or the hand of a future reader. Here is one such idea. 


Tuition free university already exists in Germany

The Seekers Programme 

I envision a university which is totally free to the individual. I see the individual as the product of a long conveyor belt of social production. It should not be the burden of the product to pay for itself. It should be the duty of the users of the product to pay for its production delivery and honourable use. This is why I am advocating for one hundred thousand free places to be created within the existing University of the West Indies and these places be made available for free to members of the international community on the following conditions:

1)      The student must deposit £9000 [One year’s tuition with a British University] in a university investment portfolio which will be overseen by CEAC Global Finance. These funds will serve as their buffer should they fall on hard times during their studies.

2)      Each student and their respective patrons whether family, industry or government should budget for a yearly spend of £5000 into the local economy for the term of their five year Undergraduate and Masters Study.

3)      Each student must rent their accommodation from one of the Educational Tourism Facilities associated with the University Complex.

4)      Each student must accept an international official shortage area job offer from CEAC Global Ltd as their first choice of job offer once they have completed their studies. 

University structure 

Courses will be taught in the eight major languages of the world; English, Mandarin, Hindi, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Russian, German. For every course there should be ten lecturers, one hundred tutors and three thousand one hundred and twenty five students.  As you can tell for every class there will be thirty two students and they will be taught in their own language while lectures will be taught in one of the major languages of the world and translated into all other languages via the same system used at the United Nations. The university will only offer thirty two courses which will all be Official Shortage Area Trades in the major student source countries and job destinations of the world.   There would be a system of choosing these courses and equipping departments with the content to teach which would highlight a collaborative effort between international stake holders including governments and industries. 


I believe that the facility building cost could be kept under £117 million and the running cost per year would be no more than £90 million. At this rate over ten years the complex would make in the region of £606 million in profits from providing certain services to the international public. The amount spent into the Caribbean Economy by the staff and students would be upwards of £2.6 Billion for the host nation over the course of ten years excluding the building cost of the facility and the initial recruitment of staff.  In addition to the financial benefits students and university staff alike would contribute socially and culturally to the country that they inhabit many of them would have visitors themselves over the course of their studies and this would serve to make the Caribbean an International hub of activity.

I doubt such a venture would be possible today. Who has £120 million to outlay on the Caribbean on their own whim? But I think the idea of free and necessary university schooling is catching on in some parts. This post is a note to the future. I will seek and I shall find.  

Further reading 

Free Universities in Europe