Feb. 26, 2019

free college education? Why?

   The latest mantra being tossed around is 'free college for all'. This is certainly a laudable goal in the minds of many, but what about the logistics and ultimatley the cost ? We already have free education for all children grades 1-12, but mismanagement of that system has led to the downgrading of our students in the eyes of the learned community as well as the world. Obviously mistakes have been made and if we can't learn from those errors, why should we consider another program that will likely produce the same result when controlled by a government of well-meaning yet unrealistic bureaucrats.

    In order for 'free college' to become a reality, it is necessary to consider the logistics of such a proposal along with the real, longterm effects of the proposal. According to the 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 65% (70% Female, 60% male if that consideration is even allowed anymore) of high school graduates subscribe to a 2-4 year college program while 30% enter the labor force. Of these numbers, only about 3% are actually accepted to a large, well known university due to admission requirements or other factors.  Many colleges/Universities already have a maximum carrying capacity necessitating some limit on enrollment. If a 'free college' environment is established, then it is quite likely that the 30% of current high school graduates joining the workforce now will opt for 2-4 more years of 'freedom' from reality by taking the college option in spite of the fact that 80% of available jobs do not require that advanced type of education. When one considers that the present number of high school graduates is about 2.9 million, that means at a minimum, 870,000 will now look for a 'free' home to extend their learning experience. Perhaps some of these will end up taking on-line courses while working (as many already do) but the majority will likely want the full college experience fantasized on romantic movie and TV sitcoms. This will require more buildings, teachers, housing, cafeterias etc. because afterall, that is often included in a university tuition or scholarship (the room and board). For discussion's sake, let's put a small yearly pricetag on this of $25,000/yr./student even though most Universities are much more. The cost of the education alone not including all the other amenities mentioned above would be around $7 BILLION a year ! That makes the $5 Billion one time request by the current POTUS for wall funding look rather miniscule. I'm not  sure that even progressive, liberal teachers will be willing to take a cut in their capitalistic salaries in order to fulfill the need for more instructors with less available dollars to pay them.

   Perhaps a better, and smarter, consideration would be to take an instituition already in place and make it work as it was intended, to provide qualified individuals ready to take their place as productive citizens in society.  We can take a high school graduate and train him/her in the miltary to work on jet engines without a college degree, but can't consider that in private life ?  High school used to be a place where a teenager could learn trade skills useful in a growing society. For some reason ( I believe it was called progressive education ) these programs were removed from the curriculum and students were indoctrinated to think that the only way to get ahead was to get a college education. Good paying, productive jobs don't always mean one wears a coat and tie, rather the jobs require knowledge in 'hands on' things like electrical, building, plumbing, farming, maintenance etc. All of these are well-paying endeavors with room for growth and advancement, yet these very fields that are so important to daily life are often construed as 'not reaching ones' potential' ! I dare say most reading this would have a hard time diagnosing and fixing the problem with a car that won't start, the backed-up sewer system or downed power lines.  

   Now let's add one more variable to the complicated equation. The same proponents for 'free college' also want open borders and medicare for all.  Immigrants living in less desireable conditions will have even more reasons to come in mass and enter the country....a free college education and health care! Maybe the equation number of those taking advantage of this new system of equality will need another boost in cost estimates to better coincide with the reality of the Pandora's box that will likely be opened. This scenario is just looking at the tip of a gigantic iceberg ready to sink the economy of the United States and with it, the world's economy that depends on America for stability and guidance.