My Take on Why Free College won’t Work:
I can see why “free college” is appealing to many. Debt from student loans can be crippling for some. But free college won’t work; all it will do is raise the price of college. As I discussed in my “Capitalism will Save Us” post, the free market is not what is wrong with college tuition.
Before government got involved with subsidies like FAFSA, tuition was reasonable. It was only after government got involved that tuition skyrocketed. Once government subsidies took effect, a huge number of people were able to go to college that would or could not have gone otherwise. In many ways, that was a success; it made the population better educated and more prepared for an economy that prizes highly educated people.
However, it also had two deleterious effects. One was that by vastly increasing the eligible population, government increased demand without increasing supply. In turn, that made prices skyrocket. Too many people could both pay the original tuition and were applying for limited spots.
Furthermore, once more of the population became college-educated, the value of a college degree decreased. Too many people have them now. So not only did people have to start paying more for college, their degree was also worth less.
The other problem was that once the government was footing the bill, many students no longer took majors that gave them marketable skills. It used to be that colleges only offered majors in disciplines that meant something and taught their students valuable skills.
Yes, those skills may have been more theoretical things such as how to think or develop a strong argument, but they were still useful. Now, the majors like feminist studies and underwater basket weaving are all too real. Students spend tens of thousands of dollars in loan money to get a degree of practically no value. That is a complete waste.
Free college won’t work because of those two problems. It will raise tuition and lead to even more students spending thousands of dollars on a useless degree. They’ll learn nothing and have only accomplished the all too common feat of wasting lots of taxpayer money.
That brings me to my final point which is that nothing is really free. Especially not college. Someone is always footing the bill. If Bernie Sanders implemented his free college plan, then the taxpayer would have to pay for everything. That dramatic expansion of the welfare state would be both expensive and a complete waste. We shouldn’t let it happen.
By: Gen Z Conservative