If Community College is free, the cost will rise, the quality will degrade, and the education will become worthless.
It’s easy to be generous with other people’s money. The Obama administration is now proposing a taxpayer-subsidized community college education. Obama said they’d cover 75% of the cost and expect each state to pick up the rest of the tab. There are a few stipulations to qualify for this “free” education, according to Politico:
“What I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it,” Obama said in a White House video posted Thursday evening. “It’s something we can accomplish, and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody in the world.”
The president’s proposal would make two years of community college free for students of any age with a C+ average who attend school at least half-time and who are making “steady progress” toward their degree.
To be eligible, community colleges would have to offer academic programs that fully transfer credits to local public four-year colleges and universities or training programs with high graduation rates that lead to in-demand degrees and certificates. Community colleges must also adopt “promising and evidence-based institutional reforms” to improve student outcomes.
One of the problems with these “free” government programs is how much they cost. This community college program will likely cost tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.
Another problem is that programs and things freely offered by the government that should be offered by a competitive market lose value very quickly. What I mean is, kids today take for granted the things their parents and grandparents had to work and pay for. In generations past, if you wanted to attend college, it was because you had goals in mind that you were going to achieve, and no one was going to stop you. If it meant working two jobs to pay your way through, then so be it. If you didn’t have goals that required a college education, or if you didn’t want to work, you didn’t go.
Nowadays, kids feel like school and college are just “what everyone does.” There’s no real value in it. Kids don’t really care about it. (Obviously, I’m not talking about everyone.) There’s less and less of an incentive to work hard to succeed in college, because it’s becoming more and more “free.”
And when people take things like a college education for granted, they don’t work as hard, they don’t do as well, and then schools and colleges have to lower their standards so that their “success rates” look better on paper.
And another thing. If the government’s offering to pick up 75% of the tab, what do you think community colleges are going to do with their tuition? “Hey, if the government’s paying most of it, maybe our tuition is a little low. After all, our bonuses were a little small last year.”
That’s what happens. The government gets involved and starts offering “free” products and services. The cost goes way up, the quality goes way down, and the product or service itself becomes worthless as people take it for granted.