“Free” Education With Strings Attached

If you think college tuition is expensive now, wait until it is free. Two years of “free” community college sounds wonderful, even though some students who just graduated felt cheated that they did not get it “free” and, in the name of fairness and justice, retroactive reimbursement was immediately demanded.

The President announced that two years of junior college will be free if “you are willing to work hard.” Was he referring to working hard to keep up stellar grades or doing community service in exchange for “free” or subsidized tuition? Surely even liberals must understand that nothing is free, somebody must pay for it—it is basic economics. There is an opportunity cost attached to any choice made. Not to mention that the government is going to dictate the curriculum taught in these junior colleges and there will be subliminal deliberate indoctrination.

Since liberals run education, it is really easy to search for ulterior motives. As Thomas Sowell said, “The real motives of liberals have nothing to do with the welfare of other people. Instead, they have two related goals – to establish themselves as morally and intellectually superior to the rather distasteful population of common people, and to gather as much power as possible to tell those distasteful common people how they must live their lives.”

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How much is this generous “free” education going to cost U.S. taxpayers? The initial estimation is $60 billion, however, with everything that the government does, the price tag will escalate to much larger levels. The $10 billion the government lost on bailing out GM and Chrysler, not counting the forced loss to private investors, pales by comparison to how much taxpayers are going to lose with this “free” community college education.

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Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey M. Burke reports that students with “C” average or better, will have three-quarters of the cost paid by our government with hopes that states will cover one-fourth, saving students $3,800 in tuition costs per year. This sounds like the Obamacare promise of saving families $2,500 a year in premiums. That worked out really well.

What’s going to keep junior colleges from increasing their tuitions, knowing that the government is paying the tab, Burke wonders. Federal subsidies should decrease, not increase. “According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, only 20 percent of community college students transfer to four-year schools, and only 72 percent of those will have finished or remained enrolled four years later.”

Rush Limbaugh suggested on his show that perhaps President Obama is offering this “freebie” because he wants the young vote; maybe he wants to sweeten the financial pie after young people are going to have to fork over penalties for non-compliance with Obamacare, pay taxes on the subsidies, and lose potential W-2 tax refunds to IRS collection.

Who says that everybody is college material or is actually taking classes to learn? Some do it in order to defraud the government. One colleague mentioned 19 students who enrolled with a government grant through one of the community college programs, collecting over $20,000. By the end of the semester, the 19 students had passed a total of 12 semester hours even though the courses chosen were very easy. None returned. The following school year, the same people attempted to enroll in a community college 550 miles away with the same intent of fraud. Because the two community colleges had academic ties, contact was made, and it was verified that the very same 19 were involved.

William Voegeli was quoted in the Blaze, “It sounds like what we’re saying is that…since the K-12 education system is doing such a questionable job on behalf of most of our students, what we’re really going to have now is a K-14 educational system. We’re going to have a fifth and sixth year of high school.”

There is a model of extended high school in Germany. The students who wish to pursue a college degree must attend a five-year high school. The rest either go to technical schools, apprentice schools, or are trained by various companies who foot the education bill.

Who says that a college degree is worth much anymore? Lately it’s like attending a bastion of liberal insanity. If you are interested in classes and degrees in studies of race, gender, environmental justice, social justice, and other non-sense degrees that will leave you unemployable after four years of expensive college tuition, and you don’t care that free speech is suppressed, then college is for you.

My education was theoretically free in Romania until, after two years of college, I decided to move to America. Why should capitalists benefit from my education, I was told? Suddenly, my free education was no longer free. The communist party decided that I had to pay back the cost of everything, elementary, middle, high school, and two years of college. Thank God I did not go to kindergarten and day care, my parents were too poor to afford it. It was only free to communist party elites’ children.

How much was it all worth, I asked? At subsidy rates, it was about $250 in 1978 dollars. I got a good education, minus the socialist/communist indoctrination, so the price was more than reasonable even though we were dirt-poor. The college tuition in the U.S. at that time was about $600 per semester in a state university.

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