‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’
Writing for the Hillsdale Collegian, student Arielle Mueller offers a powerful personal anecdote on working to pay for college, a story that stands in stark contrast to President Obama’s giveaway mentality.
She also explains why Obama’s “free” college offer will cost this country billions and strap the middle class with massive debt. Mueller writes:
“We still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need,” said President Obama on Tuesday night, in his State of the Union speech. “That’s why I’m sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero.”
The president’s words reminded me of my own experience. Before coming to Hillsdale College, I went to a state university, where I worked two jobs to help pay my bills. I learned that education is an investment that requires sacrifice — and I came to appreciate one of my father’s favorite sayings: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Obama hopes to make two years of community college free for up to nine million Americans, a plan he dubs America’s College Promise. Under this program, federal funding would absorb 75 percent of the average cost of community college, while states would contribute the remaining funds. To be eligible, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA and “make steady progress” toward graduation. Community colleges would then have to award vocational certificates or permit students to transfer to four-year colleges with half the credits needed for a bachelor’s degree.
Upon first glance, the president’s proposal seems like a good solution to a growing problem. Offering a free education would equip more students with the knowledge and skills they need to compete in our growing global economy but without the heavy burden of debt. A free education seems too good to be true.
So what’s the catch?
Obama may try to sell his proposal as “free,” but it comes at a monumental cost to the American people. Taxpayers will face a price tag of $60 billion over ten years. These taxpayers are all of us, including the “veterans and single parents” who, as Obama suggested in his speech, are the target beneficiaries. The same people who receive Obama’s free education will be paying it back later through higher taxes and mounting national debt.