Robert Allen

Economist Robert Allen's best-known paper on higher education is probably Paid in Full. Written in 1998, Paid in Full is still a must-read, especially for students in high school and 1st-year university - and certainly for policy-makers.

For students, Paid in Full looks at practical issues such as the financial return on an undergrad degree from different university programs. Gender is also considered: how much do women benefit from their degrees, compared to men? Findings would likely be similar across Canada, despite the use of BC numbers. And students may be relieved by findings that the cost of their education will almost certainly pay for itself - over time.

As for policy-makers, Dr. Allen, a Harvard-trained Professor of Economics at UBC, shows higher education as a well-paying investment, rather than a cost. His hard numbers dispel the 'user-pay' argument that is pushing higher education increasingly beyond the reach of Canadian students with low and lower-middle class incomes.

Paid in Full finds that taxpayers profit by ‘subsidizing' higher education, due to economic effects such as increased tax returns from higher lifetime earnings after students graduate.

Debt 101 hopes to someday see a follow-up to Paid in Full that examines the returns for - and from - low- and middle-income students who not only pay tuition fees and higher lifetime taxes, but years of high interest charges on their student loans.


Paid in Full: Who Pays for Education in BC?

44 pages - 452 KB


Paid in Full issues are examined further in The Education Dividend.

Again, there is information for students embarking on their higher education, but the main focus is on how BC could increase its return from education spending.

The Education Dividend: Why Education Spending is a Good Investment for BC

30 pages - 692 KB