August 23, 2021
Read time : 5 min

Name: Shreyansh Budhia

Tell us what you do: Economic and Sustainability Consulting Intern, Infinite Sum Modelling LLC

Your podcast: Talking Economist, Episode 1: Equity in Education: Is Free College Enough? 

What is your podcast about? 

This episode talks about the idea of a progressive tax system, free college, and whether or not these two factors have a net positive impact on increasing college enrollment from lower income households. The podcast features UC Santa Cruz’s Professor George Bulman as the subject matter expert and discusses why college enrollment across countries remains the same for lower income households regardless of their fee structure.  


What compelled you to pick the subject matter you chose for your podcast?

I have never been more fascinated by Amartya Sen’s idea on achieving development related goals through funding education and healthcare than now when the pandemic made the world question its older ways of law and order. In order to learn more about the different ways a society can achieve equitable healthcare and education related goals, I started reading papers on the internet. That was when I stumbled upon Professor Bulman and his work on education. I was both intrigued and skeptical -- considering I didn’t understand much from what I read. It was precisely the same time that I was taking the podcasting course offered by Up to Us. I just connected the two dots and figured why not interview the professor and create a podcast on this!  

What was one thing that surprised you or that you learned about using the podcast format to tell your story?

That people actually care about podcasts and listen to them! I mostly believed that the only stories that ever gained any traction were the ones that were based on video. It was only when I started exploring the podcasting world that I realised that a lot of people, actually, listen to podcasts. They do not require your full attention, you can multitask listening to podcasts, and more often than not, they go well with things like cooking or driving! Funny enough, I’ve now seen people who can’t cook without listening to a podcast. I think that just makes this an interesting medium to talk about things that interest you and others. 

How do you see learning how to podcast benefitting your current job or your future career goals? 

As of now, I just feel like this gives me a new skill that I can independently use in running my own podcasts. As for this helping me out with career goals -- I’m not sure if it is something employers are specifically looking for. However, it definitely might be a plus for me in potentially finding a job related to podcasting in the future. 

What do you hope listeners will learn or take away from your podcast? 

Just the fact that the next time you talk about achieving equity in education, go beyond free college. Free college is just one tiny piece of the puzzle. In fact, there are countries with free college where college enrollment levels are just the same as that in the United States. And as it turns out -- and people will learn more about it once they listen to the entire episode -- there are many things besides free college that are required to actually achieve any sort of equity in education.

P.S. The next time you campaign for equity in education, include many more things than just free college.