Free College

Why are the Presidential candidates talking about free college? Is this so important? Will those who need help paying for it get it and can it help or hurt the nation?

College tuition has been getting higher and higher just about every year around the nation. Now many of the candidates are saying that the federal government should pay for people to go to college for free. My problem is not only the cost, but the fact that not everyone who thinks that they should go to college needs to. And in fact many are just better off joining apprenticeship programs to learn trades, instead of earning a degree.

An interesting look at the pros and cons of free tuition sheds more light on the issue than any of the candidates have so far. I noted that many of the cons would be hard to overcome. Such as where would the money for this come from, the answer is you the taxpayer. And don’t think for a minute that the rich and big corporations will pay for this, that is just unrealistic.

From Politico, “Higher education in America is a fiercely competitive enterprise. It’s a market-based system in which status is largely based on perception — a university’s prestige has an inordinate effect on who applies and how easily students are able to get jobs with lucrative employers.” So let us assume that there is free tuition for all right now. Would it change the facts about a company’s perception of the college you went to? The answer is no!

What the problem is with having a free college education isn’t only the fact that you are most likely to not work as hard at learning as you would if you were paying for it, but because just about everyone would be going to college, the schools would be overwhelmed. Thus the costs of both infrastructure and teaching would go up very substantially. Making a further strain on the federal government’s coffers.

One point should be made and that is those who need the tuition help the most, would not necessarily get it. In fact the richer would benefit more than the poorer, “Recent studies have produced the most powerful statistical evidence in decades that higher education — once considered the ladder of economic mobility — is a prime source of rewarding established wealth. One report by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation found that kids from the top quartile of income earners account for 72 percent of students at the nation’s most competitive schools, while those from the bottom quartile are just 3 percent. Fewer than 10 percent of those in the lowest quartile of income ever get a bachelor’s degree, research has shown.

And how about the other costs associated with going to college, like the costs of housing and food? Would these also be covered and on what basis would those who need it the most be assured to receive the monies that are needed? All of these economic problems come into the mix of free college tuition and they would need to be addressed.

Would having tuition free access to a college education help our economy? My answer is No! Not every job requires a college education and the idea that having one is a necessity is just absurd. We still need plumbers, electricians and trades people who traditionally learn through apprentice programs. These jobs are not as low paying as you might think and many earn more than those who opted for college. And how about secretaries, office managers, etc. You do not have to have a college education for those jobs either.

The associated costs combined with free college tuition for everyone would do more harm than good to our economy. And in the short term it might even cause a recession.

That is my opinion- Jumpin Jersey Mike

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