Free College

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by 3Sons, Jan 22, 2015.

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  1. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    Not too long ago, there was a post asking whether college should be free for everyone.

    Well, now it seems the President has proposed almost exactly that (with some limits -- just the first two years of college, and I'm assuming the students still have to get in).

    Of course, it's not "free" as in air or speech -- the taxpayers would essentially be footing the bill. I'm assuming those who prioritize lowering taxes* would thus be against this, and say it's a drain on public resources to help private individuals. I tend to think having access to education is a public matter (otherwise, why not make the same argument about libraries -- they use public resources, but it's just those who actually go get library cards that benefit). So, I'm generally in favor of the idea, though the implementation details would be important.

    Do you think it's a good idea? What details do you think would be most important to get right?


    * obviously, if you relate this to a party this could be "political". I hope it doesn't become that way. The fact is, lowering taxes is a good thing. Providing services is also a good thing. The fact that these two good things compete... well, that's where all the arguments start and snowball into accusations of idiocy, evil, and the like.
     
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  3. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    I do think this is a good idea. I spent the first two years of college at UoP's undergraduate college, Axia, and accumulated SO MUCH debt. I maxed out Stafford loans each semester and still had to apply for a PLUS loan to cover tuition. It would've been nice to save myself a good 30k, especially since I'm a career changer and spent 6.5 years in college!

    From what I understand, it isn't simply "free" in that any one can have access to the first two years for free without strings attached; they actually have to work for it. In order to get the free education, they have to maintain a certain GPA and attendance rate. They can lose the free education if they don't meet the criteria consistently. I like the accountability this way. For people like my sister, who enroll in college courses over and over again and either don't go or don't do the work, they won't be able to reap the benefits of this program. I also think it would help alleviate the massive debt college students accumulate from loans.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Having a more educated population would, in the long term, result in lower unemployment and higher income tax revenues from those who are employed. It would be an investment.
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Louisiana has long had a program that offers students who meet academic criteria tuition at public colleges (or the same grant towards a private education). This grant lasts for 8 semesters of full-time school, and for top students also includes an additional stipend. I think that tying it to academic performance in high school, and continued performance in college, is a good thing.

    I do think this is a good investment, and a better use of tax money than many, man things we spend money on.
     
  6. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    We should just let Americans keep going into massive debt for basic things like education and health care while the rest (developed countries) move on. An investment in education is a good idea. But soon we wont need anything but service jobs people because most of the good jobs have floated across the oceans.
     
  7. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I think that if every high school student knew that if they got accepted in a college, they would be able to go regardless of their parents wealth, you would see dropout rates plummet.
     
  8. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Community college already does not cost very much. I have tons of student loan debt but I don't think the idea is good. I am all for drastically lowering our taxes. The more tax cuts, the more money we can keep in our own pockets to save for things like.....college.
     
  9. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    All colleges are free in many European countries, however there is a limited number of openings. This makes for vigorous competition to see who can get in. As a result only the top 10% of college students can get into teaching thereby raising the quality of their teachers.

    I think it's a great idea unless this is a trick for the Obama/Duncan team to introduce their ideas of VAM, merit pay and other "reforms" into higher education.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I read somewhere that the cost of free Community College could cost as much as 60 billion in the next ten years. That's not free in my book...

    Community College now is minimal. I think that paying something into your own education makes you a partner in your education experience. The cost can create an incentive to "get the job done" in the time, get the grades, and move on. I graduated from a four year university because I didn't want to pay for more college. I think that giving so many things away for FREE detracts from the value of it...imo...
     
  11. bros

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    The only people who would be getting their taxes raised to pay for this are the ones who need to be taxed more.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    That's so naive.
    Marxist thinking: 'From each according to his ability; to each according to his need'.
     
  13. ku_alum

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    What happens to gen eds at universities? I did my gen eds at a university, not a community college.

    It seems like many of those classes like Eng Comp and Gen Psych are taught by graduate teaching assistants while the professors teach the 300+ level courses. So, if fewer people go to universities for those gen eds, how does that change the structure of universities?

    As I write all of this, I teach 6 credit hours of English and 6 hours of Psychology courses to high school seniors during their high school day. Sooo, ...
     
  14. MissCeliaB

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    I would imagine those courses would still be offered for dual enrollment, and still offered at four year colleges. But, some of the adjuncts now working at four year schools would probably move to working at community colleges. Around here, many students choose a four year school because they want a college experience: dorms, Greek life, whatever, and that will not change, especially in Louisiana with the TOPS program, which pays for college anyway. This program will be great for those students who might not otherwise have attended college, or (in Louisiana) who didn't qualify for TOPS. I really don't see it pulling that many students away from four year institutions here, but I can see that concern in other states.
     
  15. melnm

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    I think this is a great point. I feel the same way.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

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    I think we'll be much better off concentrating on getting kids to read in elementary school than worrying about extending the very generous free education that we already provide.

    I'm against the idea. My own bio kids don't even get to go for free. I think there needs to be some financial investment on the side of the student for them to focus on the work they need to do. Need to have "skin in the game." Even though we could afford to pay for college completely, we required they pay a portion to keep them focused.
     
  17. teacherguy111

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    In England they government gives you loans and then you don't have to pay it back until earn a certain amount. I am not sure how it affects the economy of the country etc but I do know that on a personal level this is much better.
    My sister is just about to start and she will not start paying it back until she has a solid full time job… unlike here in america where you get the student bill 6 months after you graduate.
     
  18. EdEd

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    I think I'm with 2ndTimeAround for a few reasons. First, there's only so much money we can tax, raise, and spend. I'd rather focus on early intervention as my experience has been that those who are extremely motivated to go to college often find a way, and as others have mentioned there are a few affordable options out there.

    2nd, the issue of "education inflation" - the more we push everyone to go to higher levels of education, the less those will matter. This means 2 things - first, we're pushing unqualified people to go to college, meaning the attainment of a 2 or 4 year degree less and less signifies competence. It used to be that having gone to college (even 2 year) meant you were responsible, accountable, literate, critical thinking, etc. - now, it just means you've gotten at least a C or D average sitting through classes that probably aren't as hard as many high school classes. This is largely happening because of privatization of education, or at least the monetization of education - when we want colleges to increase numbers (or they want to because they make more), they lower entrance criteria, find a way to keep kids, etc.

    Second, education inflation means that, as more people go to higher levels of college, companies will continue to increase job prerequisites because they need a meaningful way of differentiating between candidates.

    In short, there is a lot of artificial college education going on - it means less, is not as good, and doesn't count for as much once you get it. The more we push by cheapening college, I think the less it will continue to mean, and we'll find ourselves in a situation in which our President in 2050 will be pushing for free masters degrees and PhDs. Already, crazy enough, we're seeing a lot less valuable PhD and masters degree options from random universities - there are a lot more teachers in schools now that are Dr. X, 4th Grade Teacher.

    Do we really want to live in a society in which you're not considered minimally competent until you've sat through 6-8 years of post-secondary education, only to compete for a $32,000 a year job in which your boss is going to hand you a script of what to do each day?

    Don't get me wrong - I'm all about throwing resources toward young kids to level the playing field. However, at a certain point we need to expect kids to become adults, work hard, and make their path. I do believe, for folks who are willing to put in the time and energy, that college should be accessible. I do think it's ridiculous how much private colleges are charging now. However, if we are concerned, from a social justice perspective, about creating equal opportunity, I don't believe we should lower the bar of higher education and push more people, often times unqualified and questionably motivated, towards sitting in classrooms for 2-4 more years just to get the same job that, 20 years ago, they could have gotten with a high school diploma.
     
  19. Pashtun

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    With regards to what EDED said, I forget which city, but I believe it was a Latin American city, maybe Bogota, that had the highest percent of cab drivers with a 4 year degree...
     
  20. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    You mean the poor who don't pay as much as everyone else...
     
  21. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I honestly don't know how I feel about this. It would have been great for someone like me (and most of my friends) who went to community college first to get the basics out of the way. I paid my undergraduate with grants. No debt there. So this wouldn't have benefited me in the least. But I know there are kids out there that if this were to become reality would be the only way they could afford to go to college.

    I like the way that European countries do it where you don't have to pay back the loan until you make a certain amount of money a year.
     
  22. Backroads

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    I'm quite politically conservative, and I do like this idea, at least the first two years free with requirements.

    In my eyes, it's an efficient use of tax money and would benefit the population.

    I'm still not positive on all the details of this plan, but a free option for public colleges would be great while still allowing private universities to charge whatever. Those that are seeking touted top quality education can still go for it while competition exists and students can still get a decent college education.

    Yeah, I'm for it.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Ohio is one of two states (Minnesota is the other) that participates in Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO). If a student is doing well in high school, the Ohio Department of Education will pay for duel enrollment in a participating college. It is possible for a student to graduate high school with an associate's degree as well as a diploma, but that is up to the ability of the individual student.
     
  24. Koriemo

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    Rather than providing college to students for free, I think a better option would be to bring community college programs into high schools. I feel like the high school years could be so much more effective than they are.
     
  25. teacherguy111

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    My wife did this and got 1 year of college completely free. I also work at an early college school where students can complete high school course work in 2 years and could get possibly two years of college for free.
     
  26. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I think it's great.
     
  27. bros

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    No, the rich, who barely pay any.

    According to the figures provided during the SOTU, the 0.1% of top earners, aka people with over 100 million dollars, would be paying 85% of the cost for free university. The top 1% would pay 14% of that, then the top 3% would pay for 1%.

    Republicans are just completely wrong on this, and so many other issues.

    That's close to what it is now in order to have a job with a living wage.
     
  28. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    There are tons of jobs that provide a "living wage" it is just that many require you to work and move up a few positions. You can't just walk in off the street breathing and ask for a 32k year job.

    The climate today is, i should get a living wage for flipping burgers at McDonalds.
     
  29. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    Um, you should be able to earn a living wage flipping burgers at McDonalds.
     
  30. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I think it's a good idea for at some point... but not really great with the way the country is now. Primary education needs to be improved a LOT before we can really worry about whether college is free or not. I definitely think there's something majorly wrong with the way college works now -- students should not have to go into debt for the next 50 years just to get a degree; it's ridiculous. (And I am aware that there are ways to minimize debt, but the average college student owes over $30,000 when they graduate now).

    But I also think that the emphasis on higher education is coming at the cost of improving school at lower levels -- there's something majorly wrong if kids are going into high school reading at a 1st or 3rd or even 5th grade reading level.

    Plus... the government is 17 TRILLION dollars in debt. Spending billions of dollars more on higher education, rather than putting it toward early intervention in education, seems wasteful. (Side note: I just found out that the Andromeda Galaxy has about 1 Trillion stars. The US owes 17 times as many dollars as there are stars in an entire galaxy, which is just... sad.) Cheaper but still high quality education is needed, but putting the effort into lower grades first seems more responsible right now IMO.
     
  31. GTB4GT

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    Um, why?
     
  32. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Because no matter what job you are doing, if you are working full time you should expect to be able to have adequate food, housing and transportation.
     
  33. GTB4GT

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    Um, again, why?

    That is a rather modern day idea. i argue that wages should be based solely on supply and demand. Guess what happens to McDonald's if the french fry cooker is making $35K per year. That's right, there will be fewer McDonald's. Are you going to pay $17.95 for a happy meal? I didn't think so.


    the reason a french fry cooker makes $8/hour and Tom Brady makes $8 million a year is simple economics. There's millions of people who can cook fries. there's a handful of guys who can play qb in the NFL.Not that I am a a FB fan but i don't have a trouble with Tom Brady and his salary....he's earned. Our worth in the job market is based on simple supply and demand.t

    It is attitudes like this that force capitalists to move their jobs overseas when possible.
     
  34. vateacher757

    vateacher757 Cohort

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    Exactly! I would hope that when I go to McDonalds the person serving me or working there full time can afford to have roof over their head and food to eat jsut like myself.

    The classism in this country is just terrible...we define a persons worth by their income, education and/or job. Sad! :dizzy:

    Really??????:wow:
     
  35. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    People working full time don't deserve to have at least a decent living situation? If you are putting in 40 hours a week and can't afford to feed or shelter yourself, there's something wrong. I had to leave my last job because even working almost full time, I would not have been able to support myself. Even subbing I can barely afford an apartment -- I'm still living at home with my parents. Saving up to move out and still be able to support myself over the summer is going to take several months and a second job, even though I'm subbing as close to every day/full time as possible.
    The whole point of minimum wage originally was that it was the lowest amount people could be paid per hour and still be able to support themselves. The problem is that it hasn't increased with inflation and is no longer anywhere near the actual cost of living. Even a modest lifestyle can't be supported by minimum wage, and it's putting people into and leaving them in poverty. I'd rather pay more for fast food but have fewer people in poverty than have a high poverty rate that requires government handouts.
     
  36. bros

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    You do know that an economist did a study where they determined that in order to give every mcdonalds employee a living wage (at least $10 an hour), mcdonalds would only have to raise the price of every menu item by $0.10

    I think that is not too much to ask so a person doesn't have to worry where their next meal is coming from.
     
  37. Backroads

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    Once again, I'm a conservative, and I highly, highly respect the fast-food places and other trivial business that pay their employees a living wage.

    I think it can be done all over with the right procedures.

    And no, I'm not for a purely socialist system where burger flippers get to demand mansions and boats. I do believe you are worth what your skills can get you in the economy.

    But one ought to pay full-time workers enough to rent a little apartment and buy food.
     
  38. MissCeliaB

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    This is not a modern idea. The idea of needing to work two or three jobs is a modern idea. Think about the American Dream: a house, a family, a kid. That was absolutely attainable with what are unskilled labor: serving, working at a grocery store, etc. Minimum wage was once a living wage. I don't mean that you'll have fancy things, but you will have basic things needed to live. This website was enlightening to me: http://livingwage.mit.edu/
     
  39. GTB4GT

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    If a person who is working full time isn't happy with their economic situation, they have some decisions to make.

    it bothers me, for example, when I hear a teacher complain about their salary for instance. Wasn't the person aware of the pay prior to signing up??!! that makes absolutely no sense to me.

    If a person cannot afford to live in the style they want by working at McDonald's.....they should do something different!!!!! As opposed to asking McDonald's for more money.

    That is insanity and along the same lines, imo, of moving to the desert and complaining about the lack of water.
     
  40. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I agree, if you don't like your paycheck, move on. Develop skills and seek other opportunities.

    I don't respect those who work in such jobs for year after year without bettering themselves and yet complain.

    But most people looking for a job are hoping to make ends meet. It shouldn't be a slave market.
     
  41. vateacher757

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    So instead of paying McDonalds or Walmart etc employees living wages for FEAR of corporations jacking their prices up we the people subsidize McDonalds and Walmart by paying THEIR employees through social programs so that they can live while the CEO's and others at those corporations get millions.

    Something is truly wrong with that picture if that is acceptable....and with people if they honestly do not believe ALL people should be paid a living wage.

    How does it make you feel when people talk about and disrespect the job that teachers do and feel we are paid too much and don't deserve raises???? What makes you any more important than the burger flipper.....we all are working to provide for ourselves and/or our families.

    Greed is destroying this country.
     
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