Author Topic: Is free public college something that should happen?  (Read 1775 times)

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Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2019, 01:05:46 PM »

Offline fairweatherfan

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Free public college tuition

This would be wasted on many who are not college material.   It is a waste of their time, and our money.   There would have to be minimum standards for me to ever support free college for everyone like a GPA minimum or maintaining a GPA for keep the free college or satisfactory academic progress.   I know people who did not work and took seven years to get their bachelor degree, do you think they ought to get free college.

Of course this policy would need to require being qualified and maintaining your grades.  It  would also need to be limited to a quota of degree programs based on needs (you could not just have everyone study art history).  This system exists in Finland (as well as other countries).  I worked in Finland and all of the engineers that I worked with were educated through this program.  All of them.  You only got a chance to get this free education if you had the highest scores on the board exams coming out of high school.  The result were very bright and well trained engineers.  I knew one girl who was studying film history.  She was a brilliant young woman and "won" one of the 4 slots in the country for this degree.

It is the fake narrative of everyone going to college for free and drinking beer bongs on someone else's dime that most people seem to have in their heads.  In reality, this program would be a benefit to the roofer (for example) if their child was smart enough to be an engineer, did well on the college boards, and then worked hard to keep their grades up.  How much money their parents make is not part of the issue.

I agree that this would be a hard sell, due largely to the false narrative.  It is absolutely ridiculous to think that the program would pay for unqualified people who had no chance at a degree.  This is right up there with liberals hate America, want to take your guns away, want open boarders, etc....

Branding -- conservative media and politicians are much better at this than the progressives.

But... On a personal note, free college does stick in my craw.   We (wife and I)  literally spent our retirement on our children's education -- our choice and I wouldn't change the way it's worked out for them.  But if free college happens, it's going to be depressing.   

When all is said and done my wife and I will have spent in the area of $350,000 for college.  I'm 60 and there's not much left.   I know... I am a financial idiot.

Well, I don't think schools with that kind of price tag would be included, most proposals are just for public+community colleges, trade schools, etc.

But what I don't really get is how someone could have to choose between retirement and the education they want to provide their kids and the takeaway is that more people should have to do that, including perhaps someday those same kids. I've had it easier than a lot of people, especially people younger than me, but still had my struggles with student loans. My conclusion from that experience is that the fewer people saddled with that kind of financial burden in their early careers the better - for them and the overall economy. Student loan debt, or in your case paying the tuition directly, is wrecking financial stability and wealth accumulation and is a major stressor for huge chunks of entire generations. Perpetuating it as it only continues to worsen isn't the answer. The resentment that bubbles up around this stuff just feels like crabs in a barrel.

We are talking about human beings right?  If you pay for something on Monday and it’s free on Tuesday sour grapes is probably a reasonable response. Though your generosity of spirit is commendable, I’d guess my initial lack thereof could be understandable. In fact, I’ll bet you “get it” though you (kind of sanctimoniously) suggest you don’t.  That said, I in turn get that (despite my initial frustration), depending on the societal impact overall, I don’t want my kids saddled similarly. 

But as you say, it probably wouldn’t cover the tuition size suggested in my example anyway.  The quality gap between Public and Private would possibly become increasingly significant - something that exists K-12 but could be more profound if public were expanded to K-16.

I think of it more as "if something bad happens to you on Monday trying to prevent it from happening to someone else on Tuesday." And I'm not trying to be sanctimonious, sorry if I come off that way, I just have had a very different response to a much milder set of problems with education costs and have a hard time relating to resenting that others would not have to deal with them (and usually far worse). It's nothing personal it's just a disconnect.

The gap in quality really depends on how it's structured - there'd probably be more brakes on public schools pumping up tuition which means less spending (or more fundraising). But as someone in academia, a lot of spending isn't really essential or even that important but the result of a kind of rat race to stay ahead of the competition, and the administrative bloat that goes along with it. If public schooling is supposed to become less selective that's a problem too; I wouldn't be in favor of that, just tuition for those who can clear the bars that already exist.

Elite private schools would now only really be competing with each other but that was basically true already. For less prestigious private schools I think there'd be some downward pressure on tuition - how many people are gonna pay/borrow $50k+ a year instead of (assuming only tuition is waived) say $1-3k plus housing at a public school, when the education isn't that much better and there's little cachet to having attended? They'd need to either justify the price tag or make the price tag more justifiable. My big concern there is that some of them would be unable to adapt and have to shut down, but if their existence was that dependent on inflated tuitions then they arguably shouldn't be around anyway.

Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2019, 01:18:06 PM »

Offline indeedproceed

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Yeah, I'd love for my SL debt to be forgiven, but if the choice is "nothing happens" and "nothing happens for you but your kids get free public college" I'm gonna be okay with that too. As it sits right now I wouldn't push my kids towards college unless they knew exactly what they wanted to do, and had the majority paid for through grants and scholarships.

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Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2019, 01:42:37 PM »

Online Roy H.

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I’m fine with free public education for all (or for all below a certain income)  assuming there are appropriate safeguards regarding GPA, case load, and certain limits on majors. At the very least, two free years at community college / trade school.
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Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2019, 02:41:15 PM »

Offline nickagneta

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The ex and I helped our 3 kids out some but maxed out at $20,000 each over 4 years. We just decided we weren't going to put the house, the business and our retirements on the line for their education. So they each have some debt after graduating after 4 years, somewhere between $60-80,000 each.

Knowing they would be accumulating the debt made them more attentive to getting good grades to be eligible for and to get scholarships and it made them work while in school. Each one became RAs at their schools so got free room and board which saved them big bucks. Two of them did co-op programs for some semesters and used the money to pay for school, meaning less loans.

I had student loan debt. Now, my $12,000 owed in 1987 isn't anywhere near the $80,000 my oldest had in 2008 but I started a job out of college at $20,000 and he started his job at $75,000.

Anyway, just because my sons or I had to accrue student loan debt(and also pay for some of my kids college costs)isn't going to affect our thoughts that we would want our kids and grandkids to finish college with massively less student loan debt or none at all. Maybe convert about $35-70 billion a year from the Department of Defense and give it to the Department of Education. That should at least offset somewhat the continued increase in student debt each year which has been increasing yearly at levels between $60-110 billion a year, every year since 2004.

Take a look at this article. Just some staggering numbers regarding student loan debt:

https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-student-loan-debt#nogo


Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2019, 04:00:41 PM »

Offline gift

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I think we should improve the value of education rather than just focus on the cost. Free college that neither specifically prepares you for post-college employment nor provides a credentialed advantage over a significant number of your peers has very low value at any cost.


Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2019, 04:19:20 PM »

Offline angryguy77

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If we give everyone free college, what's to stop the schools from increasing tuition? If the gov caps what schools can charge, then how do schools divide their resources in a way that allows them to keep excelling at what they're good at, i.e. nursing? I don't understand why colleges are not being questioned on their tuition. We all want to light the insurance industry on fire for their pricing as well as pharmaceuticals, but colleges are untouchable? 

Putting in an income threshold would hurt those that can't pay for college themselves but also look like they make too much on paper to get help.

Here's what you do if you want to see the cost of college come down: Limit the number of loans given and the amount of those loans. Make the customers(students) treat the schools like they would with any other purchase and put some thought into it. The schools will then have to.....gasp...compete with each other.

Do we not see that as the gov made college easier to pay for, tuition costs have risen exponentially?

Would anyone who works a hard job feel good that they're paying higher taxes so some dude can go get a degree that will not make the student any money after they graduate?

It's sad we live in a day where everyone feels they're entitled to free everything. No need to better yourself because all the basics are taken care of.


Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2019, 04:21:00 PM »

Offline angryguy77

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If we give everyone free college, what's to stop the schools from increasing tuition? If the gov caps what schools can charge, then how do schools divide their resources in a way that allows them to keep excelling at what they're good at, i.e. nursing? I don't understand why colleges are not being questioned on their tuition. We all want to light the insurance industry on fire for their pricing as well as pharmaceuticals, but colleges are untouchable? 

Putting in an income threshold would hurt those that can't pay for college themselves but also look like they make too much on paper to get help.

Here's what you do if you want to see the cost of college come down: Limit the number of loans given and the amount of those loans. Make the customers(students) treat the schools like they would with any other purchase and put some thought into it. The schools will then have to.....gasp...compete with each other and prices will come down.

Do we not see that as the gov made college easier to pay for, tuition costs have risen exponentially?

Would anyone who works a hard job feel good that they're paying higher taxes so some dude can go get a degree that will not make the student any money after they graduate?

It's sad we live in a day where everyone feels they're entitled to free everything. No need to better yourself because all the basics are taken care of.

Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2019, 04:44:41 PM »

Offline KGs Knee

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I'll never support free college, it's just not okay in my book.  But I hope to god if it ever does come to that it will be for STEM programs only.

Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #24 on: July 22, 2019, 04:59:37 PM »

Offline greece666

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So, the mark of lack of decency and sanity is support for free public education?

As a non-American, I´m confused reading this thread.

Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #25 on: July 22, 2019, 05:28:17 PM »

Online Neurotic Guy

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So, the mark of lack of decency and sanity is support for free public education?

As a non-American, I´m confused reading this thread.

Huh? Not sure I get your conclusion.

Some are agreeing with the concept of “free” college; some not. My take is evolving in part influenced by some of the posters here.   Providing increased affordability for qualified applicants to receive public college education (which is already subsidized) seems to be where there is some agreement.   

KG - I get the value of STEM but there is value in other fields of endeavor.  Yes the slayers of liberal arts can mock Art History and the like but within the broad reach of liberal arts education there are fields that have relevant societal value and are worth investing in. Education being one.

Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2019, 05:42:11 PM »

Online Neurotic Guy

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Yeah, I'd love for my SL debt to be forgiven, but if the choice is "nothing happens" and "nothing happens for you but your kids get free public college" I'm gonna be okay with that too. As it sits right now I wouldn't push my kids towards college unless they knew exactly what they wanted to do, and had the majority paid for through grants and scholarships.

I have to say I admire your and Nicks’ approach. My parents paid for my undergrad (not post-grad) and I so had an irrational need to blindly do the same for my kids.  They both did great - one has almost completed her doctorate in molecular bio — doing cancer research with grad program free.  Other completed 2 years Americorp (which will take $11K off the loans I have for her). Both kids will probably assume their loans  (about 30k each) eventually, but not yet. I would probably do differently if I understood the full implications of where we’d be right now with regard to retirement (but as I said previously, I am an idiot). On the plus side I’m glad for my kids and I expect they’ll help up us down the road if needed.

Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #27 on: July 22, 2019, 06:03:33 PM »

Online Neurotic Guy

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It's sad we live in a day where everyone feels they're entitled to free everything. No need to better yourself because all the basics are taken care of.

I do think it’s a disconnect (inherent in your post) that leaves our country divided and angry rather than communicating and resolving. 

It is patently untrue that everyone feels they’re entitled to free everything. You know that is hyperbole, but it’s such hyperbole that drives the divide. I agree that some American want to sit back and let everyone else provide for them. I’d guess that  isn’t a high percentage at all.  And further, I don’t think anyone here who is arguing in favor of some support to lower education costs (read closely and “free for everyone” isn’t what you’ll find in anyone’s suggestions) come across as entitled or seeking free everything.   They are responding to a societal issue (exorbitant education costs) with thoughts about how to address it fairly.  No need to consider that entitled.  You could possibly find some common ground if you wanted to.

Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #28 on: July 22, 2019, 06:34:12 PM »

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It's sad we live in a day where everyone feels they're entitled to free everything. No need to better yourself because all the basics are taken care of.

I do think it’s a disconnect (inherent in your post) that leaves our country divided and angry rather than communicating and resolving. 

It is patently untrue that everyone feels they’re entitled to free everything. You know that is hyperbole, but it’s such hyperbole that drives the divide. I agree that some American want to sit back and let everyone else provide for them. I’d guess that  isn’t a high percentage at all.  And further, I don’t think anyone here who is arguing in favor of some support to lower education costs (read closely and “free for everyone” isn’t what you’ll find in anyone’s suggestions) come across as entitled or seeking free everything.   They are responding to a societal issue (exorbitant education costs) with thoughts about how to address it fairly.  No need to consider that entitled.  You could possibly find some common ground if you wanted to.

angryguy77 wrote 6 paragraphs. 5 really solid, IMO, and 1 hyperbolic. I don't know if it reinforces your point or defeats it that that is the one part of the post you responded to. On the one hand, it is a valid point that the final comment describes very few people and certainly fewer of those actively engaging in the discussion. On the other hand, you only furthered the conversation on the one hyperbolic point and didn't on the substantive critique on the mechanics of the issue.

Re: Is free public college something that should come about?
« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2019, 07:48:44 PM »

Offline td450

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A couple of things to consider about free public higher ed:

These are state chartered and owned institutions, not Federal. Providing free tuition would swamp these colleges and likely ruin a large number of private schools competing against them.

With the Federal government suddenly providing all this money, but not controlling the institutions, there would be huge problems controlling the costs, and would create huge incentive hazards. Does the Federal government take managerial control? There is no way to make this work without a complete reorg of the public college system, and no one knows how to manage a transition that big.

Even if you love this idea, it should happen at the State level, not the Federal level, and it needs to happen gradually over a decade or more. Otherwise it will do more harm than good.

 

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