Knowing there is no such thing as a free lunch, it ends up that the federal government (meaning the 43% of those who pay federal taxes) would pay 75% toward this "investment." The states would pay the other 25% of this investment (meaning those who pay state taxes).
Writing over at Forbes.com, the Director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute, Andrew P. Kelly, states that taxpayers should be skeptical:
- Yes, free tuition might boost enrollment. But, that provides no guanantee that graduation rates will improve. A simple fact: Only 31% of full-time, first time community college students graduate within 3 years.
- Lower tuition costs do not translate into student success. For example, California's community colleges have the lowest tuition in the country (and higher completion rates than the national average). Yet, Wisconsin and North Dakota's community colleges have higher graduation rates, despite tuition costs that are 200% and 300% that of California's community colleges.
- The President has called for community colleges to implement reforms. But, if the federal government's ability to reform K-12 education--through the U.S. Department of Educatoin--provides any indication of how well those reforms will proceed, what's the likelihood of the federal government success in reforming community colleges?
- Whenever the federal government pays for education, costs don't go down. In fact, tuition costs increase annually, once again putting that 43% of those Americans who pay federal taxes on the hook for that "2 years of free college."
The dirty little secret is that the President's proposal for "free" college is built upon the notion that such a thing as a "free" public education exists. There never has been, there currently isn't, and it's quite likely there never will be any such animal. Someone has to pay and it's those who pay the taxes.
What the President is proposing is nothing but a sop to the public education teachers' unions bosses. It's not about education but jobs and dues. Those union bosses want to keep those community colleges classrooms staffed with dues-paying teachers and filled with "free" students, courtesy of those who pay the taxes and don't have sufficient gumption to tell their elected leaders "Enough's enough! No more free lunches."
Let the discussion begin...
To read Andrew P. Kelly's article in Forbes.com, click on the following link:
"Four Reasons To Be Skeptical About Obama's Free Community College Proposal."