Candidates for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have both promised that if elected, they would put forth legislation that would dramatically reduce tuition and student debt for public universities in one form or another. This opportunity is a lie in itself. In order for the federal government to pay for all these students, it would be necessary for more tax money to get funneled to students who hold no real obligation to complete their degrees, and a lot of students who should not have gone to college in the first place would get degrees they don’t know what to ultimately do with.
The first issue to bring up regarding this progressive scheme to attract millennial voters is the financing of this project. Lindsey Burke, a researcher at the Heritage Foundation, pointed out in her Daily Signal article, “Why Free Community College Is Anything But Free”, a fundamental issue with financing tuition free 2-year college alone:
“Once again, the administration is pursuing initiatives to subsidize rising costs, instead of working with Congress on policies that actually would address the driver of college cost increases: the open spigot of federal student aid. Over the past several decades, college costs have risen at more than twice the rate of inflation, thanks in large part to federal subsidies.”
By sending more grants and subsidizing higher education even more, that bad habit only creates the incentive for schools to drive up the costs, the ultimate reason behind soaring tuition rates. Because of this effect, every year students take out thousands of dollars in student loans to cover the cost of an education they can’t afford, in order to get a degree for a job that doesn’t exist or isn’t available, leaving them with debt and unemployment. This betrayal of the American people takes away from ways people can still invest in themselves without being slaves to debts owned by the banks.
The idea behind free community college alone isn’t about greater access to education. In today’s world, information is everywhere thanks to greater access to technologies and the internet, bridging the gaps between social mobility and economic opportunity greater than any point in human history. Looking at great sources like a local library or even the online Khan Academy alone shows just several ways people can access knowledge on their own accord. These resources are free and readily available to the entire public, the only thing that free community college would do is grow faux credentials by inflating the number of degree holders and promote more obtrusive, more burdensome, federal regulation.
The problem behind the average $29,000 student debt in America is obvious, and the reason why Sanders and Clinton don’t want to talk about it is because its extremely easy to win votes by promising to give people something by taking the money, and resources from other people, by use of the government in order to provide it. Burke brings about a common sense solution to address this madness:
“Allow markets in higher education to work by limiting federal subsidies instead of increasing them, and costs will fall for students attending colleges of all types.”
The second point is that the two candidates assume that there will be jobs waiting for the influx in college graduates. In a speech Sanders gave on August 11th:
“It makes no sense to me that when we need nurses, we need doctors, we need dentists, we need more people involved in healthcare, that when people leave school, for the crime of wanting to be involved in healthcare, they have enormous debts. That makes no sense… I will fight to implement as president, that will make every public college and university in America tuition-free.”
Source: Sorry, Clinton And Sanders, There’s No Such Thing As Free College | FreedomWorks
I do believe something needs to be done with schooling in this country on the college level. Debts are extremely high because the cost of college is astronomical. I just spent 8 months in a vocational school and have $20,000 in debt to work off. That was just an 8 month long vocational school. And I didn’t qualify for scholarships or grants because I already have a Bachelor’s degree from a four year college.
But I don’t believe making it “free” is the answer. We keep hearing about European countries with “free” college, but no one talks about their sky high taxes. We always look towards Europe and highlight all the good parts of their various policies, but we bury the bad, and in most of these policies that get highlighted on any topic you want to pull, there are plenty of bad side effects.
And let’s face it… yes, a lot of folks would take it seriously. Many, though, would not. Which means you are paying for someone else to go to school to major in underwater basket weaving or something. Let’s focus on sending people to vocational schools. Not universities, not community college… vocational schools. This way they are forced to choose a course of study that will have an outcome that makes them a contributing member of society (you can do so much in vocational schools. I went for IT. But you can also become a paralegal, an accountant, a welder, you can move up in the construction business, teacher’s aids, day care, data entry, all kinds of things).
And it shouldn’t be “free.” “Free” means “useless joke” to a lot of people, which is why we have parents looking at schools as baby sitters and kids not taking their education seriously. Should we be working with the schools to find out why the rates are so high? I would assume in a lot of major universities the pay of the coaches etc. for their sports teams plays a roll on top of the things mentioned in the article above. We could discuss some of this and find out what can be done and bring down the costs for folks. You could set up work/study programs so people could work off their educations and pay some of it as well. And some of that could be done through employers – you do work for this employer and they pay part (in some cases, you could work out a pay plan where they pay you a salary and then cover part of your tuition. The salary wouldn’t be very high in this case, but it would be something) or all of your tuition according to what you do for them and how much time you spend. That helps pay for your education and gives you real world experience. You may have to pledge time to the company once you leave school to make up for it, but at that point you would be regular salary. A lot of places that currently offer tuition help already do this… we’ll help you pay for school, but we expect you to give us this amount of time here.
There are ways of helping people getting training for work that don’t mean raping the tax payer. And it would put out people who are ready for an actual field of work, in many cases with extremely well paying jobs. You’d give people a sense of pride in their accomplishment, teach them personal responsibility, give them real world skills and experience, and actually do something for them.