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Scots Prof to Students: Sell A Kidney To Pay Your Fees

Maybe its the global economic crisis, maybe it’s all the publicity about the skyrocketing price of college tuition.  Either way, the approach of those September tuition bills is leading to some unusual creativity out there.

First came the sugar daddy website story where students are getting to know older adults interested in supporting their educational plans; now there’s this: a Scottish professor suggests students can just sell off some unwanted body parts to make those pesky tuition bills go away. Jonathan Swift was joking when he made a similar proposal to help the Irish economy; this lady sounds like she means it.  She plans to stay fully employed and she’s not going to be put off by any puppy-eyed millennials trying to dodge their duty to keep their elders and betters well paid.

From The Scotsman:

STUDENTS should be able to sell their kidneys for tens of thousands of pounds to pay off university debts, according to a Scots academic.

Sue Rabbitt Roff believes making it legal to sell the body part would boost the number of organs available to save lives and help students struggling with money.

She argues that donors should be paid the average UK annual income of around £28,000.

I note the medical sociologist makes no recommendations about cutting university costs so that fewer students would have to make this decision; quite right.  The young are strong and the sacrifice will be good for them. The satisfaction of having your university hire an additional environmental sustainability monitor is well worth the loss of a squishy organ you’ve never paid much attention to.

This wouldn’t work in the US, unless you started out with six or so kidneys.  It’s going to cost you one kidney a year for tuition at a good private college, and you’ll have to sell the fifth to cover the fees and expenses.

There’s good news, though: thanks to Obamacare you can stay on your parents’ health policy until you are 26.  That should help with the surgery bills.  And if your college education pays off and you earn big bucks later on, you can always buy a spare kidney from some hapless student a few years down the road.

It’s really more like pawning than selling when you think about it that way.

h/t: Taxprof Blog

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  • WigWag

    Professor Mead is right about this but instead of kvetching about it, why doesn’t he do something about it. After all as a well compensated faculty member (or is it adjunct faculty member?) of first Yale and now Bard, isn’t he part of the problem?

    Instead, Professor Mead could invite Professor Berger, Professor Bhagwati and numerous other academic friends to join him in creating a virtual university in cyberspace. Students could take courses from some of the smartest people on the planet, the tuition would only be a fraction of what students typically pay now, and faculty members like Professor Mead could still earn dramatically more than they are earning now.

    The trick in this case is first disintermediation followed by value added mediation. First Professor Mead and colleagues would cut out all the middle men. Enormous salaries for people like Richard Levin and Leon Botstein would disappear; after all, mostly they spend their time fundraising and in Mead’s virtual university that skill would be extraneous.

    All the other expenses associated with a bricks and mortar institution would also be unnecessary; no deans, no campus police, no heating and air-conditioning for dorms or classrooms, etc.

    This is obviously the wave of the future. Instead of talking about it, why doesn’t Professor Mead go out and get started already?

  • Thrasymachus

    I particularly love that she tried to *fix the price*!

  • Jim.

    @WigWag — the problem here is, for-profit universities are yet more expensive than private colleges, and the value of the information gained at such institutions has been called into question. Certainly, it’s not a better value for the price than

    I suspect what’s hurting the country and industry is the fact that the “get a degree ==> get hired for a good-paying job” system is getting gamed to the point that it simply doesn’t work anymore.

    The important part — the knowledge, the skills — are not adequately reflected by the certification. But it is the certification that confers the material benefits. And it’s so tough to fire someone these days (and it’s impossible to revoke someone’s degree) that the system is not self-correcting.

    I’d like to hear WRM discuss this as another failure of the Blue Social Model, which it certainly is.

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