Posted by: bnorouzi | January 22, 2009

Knoll Index

Average cost of tuition for students who study in Sweden, Finland, Cuba: 0
Average cost of tuition for domestic UBC student: $4,612.14
Average cost of tuition for international UBC student: $18,448.56
UBC President Stephen J. Toope’s annual salary: $578,936.79
Number of domestic UBC students it takes to pay for President Toope’s annual salary: 125
Estimated cost of student tuition after Blake Fredrick’s 1st term as President: 0
Minimum number of baboons forced to smoke crack in a 1989 study testing the efficacy of cigarettes as a drug delivery device: 3

Operating Budget of UBC’s Alma Mater Society:
Percentage of Harvard’s $36.8 billion endowment lost on the market since the October Crisis in 2008: 22% or $8.1 billion
Percentage of UBC’s endowment lost on the market since the Crash in October 2008: (information has yet to be released to the public) – about 30% of $1.03 billion
Chance that a British infantry recruit’s reading and writing skills are no better than the average 11-year-old’s : 1 in 2
Estimated cost of providing adequate housing and support to the “absolute homeless” in B.C.: $179 million
Amount the U.S. federal government paid Harvard researchers in the 1990s to help design Russian market reforms: $40,000,000
Chance that an eighty-year-old American is left-handed: 1 in 100
Average cost of a townhouse on UBC’s endowment land: $600,000
Highest listed cost of a 2 storey home on UBC’s endowment lands as of January 18th 2008: $6.2 million
Percentage change since 1999 in the number of U.S. public schools that are run by private companies: +111
Ratio of military recruiters to college counselors at East Los Angeles’s Roosevelt High School: 5:1
Maximum fine in 1829 for teaching an African American living in Georgia to read or write: $500
Percentage of U.S. employers who say that a high-school graduate “has at least learned the basics”: 39
Number of American states that permit public-school teachers to inflict corporal punishment on students: 23
Estimated number of sign-language signs in the vocabulary of Koko, a San Francisco gorilla: 1,000



  1. Number of Swedish Universities in Top 100 in the world: 2 (63, 88 )
    Number of Finnish: 1 (=91)
    Number of Cuban: 0 (20, 34, 41, 74, =91)
    Number of Canadian: 5

    How much do number show: 0
    How ridiculous is the Knoll: 100%

  2. Considering that the population of Canada is 30 million, and the population of Sweden and Finland are 10 million and 5 million, in fact Anon’s numbers show that on average people in Finland and Sweden have a better chance of studying in a Top 100 university.

    Cuba belongs to an entirely different category in terms of development, and it is no surprise that it does not have a top 100 university. But even a tiny country like Cuba has managed to establish education as a right.

  3. I love random trivia knowledge, especially pertaining to dollar figures and ratios, but this is a university publication, and I don’t see a single citation.

    Back it up!

  4. Actually, bnorouzi, you’re wrong again.
    You’ve assumed that the universities are all of equal size. Let me assure you: they are not.

    So, after doing 2 min worth of fact checking, which is something you simply don’t do because you’d rather only present the information that is most supportive of your side of any story (thereby lacking any sort of integrity).

    As you said: Sweden + Finland = 15,000,000 people
    Canada = 33,000,000

    Population of top 100 S/F Unis: 83,000
    Population of top 100 Can Unis: 204,000

    83/15,000 = 0.5%
    204/33,000 = 0.6%

    So, in fact, it is in Canada that people have a better random chance on attending a top 100 institution. Not that that matters one bit. I just wanted to show what a tool you are.

    Oh, and what happens if we look at only the top 50 unis? Yeah, that’s right.

    So, you get what you pay for. Quality.
    And really, when our top universities cost $5,000 a year in tuition (the equivalent of 4 months of working minimum wage), you’ll forgive me if I (who has more (student) debt that the US government) am not sympathetic.

    Now, next time: stop being so one-sided. Its silly.

  5. hi anon,

    obviously this article was intended to be though provoking. however, spiteful comments are unnecesary in this context, and really only reflect poorly on the writer.

    as for the assumptions you are making in your own presentation of the ‘truth’:

    ‘random’ chance doesn’t equate to actual “chance.” there are real financial barriers to accessing education in canada, and especially in comparison to some other countries. furthermore, these financial obstacles affect population demographics quite differently. this affects the ‘random’-ness of ‘chances’ for people to obtain an education to begin with.

    the “quality” argument is thrown around a lot, and is often used in the context of a tradeoff between quality versus affordability. i’m not convinced that quality must take precedent over/under the other. the real issue comes down to how our education systems are supported and funded. obviously, there is still a lot of work to be done in the canadian context, but to assume that better quality comes from students paying high tuition fees is not quite accurate either.

    i’m not sure what you were wanting to say in the last two sentences, but i think that we can probably agree on the fact that student debt is no fun.

  6. The point of your original post wasn’t so much to provoke thought as to push an agenda arguing that Canada’s “high” tuition rates are awful and unnecessary.

    Yet, you managed to completely ignore the “what do you get for what you are paying?” question that naturally arises from your line of reasoning.

    It seemed somewhat unjust to compare apples and oranges. If apples are free and oranges cost money, it doesn’t naturally follow that oranges should be free as well.

    That was the point of my posts: to show that in Canada you pay to go to a significantly superior university such as UBC.

    Naturally, you have a point and there is a valid argument to be made in asking how it is that Swedes manage to send their kids to university for free? Couldn’t that also exist in Canada? Couldn’t some of our universities be free?

    Why, of course they could. However, that would require increased government support. Which requires raising taxes. Which requires people being willing to pay, out of their own pockets, for someone else to go to school and thus give up being able to perhaps send their own kid to a better university due to the lack of money that increased taxes has caused.

    Hmm… the world’s not quite as simple as you make it out to be. To argue from a rigid ideological standpoint by making unsophisticated claims and backing them up with a large number of irrelevant data points, especially ones taken out of context like that, is to be unfair to the complexity of the problem, the difficulty of the solution, and to anyone reading and trying to honestly understand your point.

    Also, while we’re on demographics and truth (no quotations), why didn’t you talk about the problems that those Nordic countries face? The high tax rates? The immigration issues? Social problems of their own? Chronic government deficits? Waiting lines for access to basic doctor services and school placements? Waiting lines for getting into an apartment (ie. having to sign up your child at birth so that she can be allowed to buy an apartment at age 25, when her turn comes)?

    Also, I never assumed that quality comes from paying higher fees. I merely pointed to the correlation which would suggest this. Correlation, of course, is not causation. However, in this context (and if you broaden your sample to include the rest of the world), there emerges a very very distinct pattern of (at least perceived) quality and upfront cost to students.

    Lastly, about student loans: I was trying to say that they’re not as bad as you seem to make them out to be. I was stating my own case: when I graduate I will need at least 3-4 years to pay off my loans. Yet, that’s the price I’m willing to pay to go to the school that I want to go to and undertake that program that best fits with my motivations and my dreams. I really do believe that the money I am paying actually does provide a tangible benefit which, in the absence of this money, would be impossible to finance through government funding.

    You make your choices. That’s freedom.
    If you don’t want to pay high tuition (or haven’t been able to get a scholarship, or your parents aren’t helping you pay for school), in Canada you can go to your local community collage. It still isn’t free, but its fairly affordable. You can pay it off by working in the summer (or part-time). Its not fun, but nothing in life is free; sadly.

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