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17 reasons why Obama’s ‘free community college’ plan is a really bad idea

The chorus of folks lampooning President Obama’s “free community college” plan – an obvious attempt to pander to liberals and young people as well as further grow the size and scope of the federal government – continues to mount ahead of the State of the Union speech on Jan. 20, when the president is slated to tout his proposal.

The plan, estimated to cost $60 billion over 10 years, has been roundly criticized not only for its sky-high price tag as this nation staggers under debt and unfunded mandates, but for many, many other reasons as well.

Writing in TownHall.com, editor Conn Carroll sums up six reasons:

1) It Isn’t Free …
2) It Will Drown Community Colleges In Red Tape …
3) Too Many High School Students Aren’t Prepared For Community College …
4) Community College’s Have A Poor Track Record …
5) “Free” Tuition Will Drive Up Costs …
6) Government Spending Crowds Out Private Sector Solutions …

Then, over at Forbes, comes another six reasons penned by Professor Richard Vedder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity:

1. The diverse nature of U.S. higher education is one of its strengths –we have 50 different ways of providing postsecondary education, and the nation has benefited from having diverse approaches. …
2. Second, a significant portion of persons going to community colleges come from at least moderately affluent families, and subsidizing their education more than presently is a waste of resources. …
3. Third, the recent post-graduation job experience is not very good for community college graduates, perhaps one reason why the popularity of these schools is in decline, with enrollments down significantly in the past four years. …
4. Fourth, why should we give “free” education at public community colleges, while at the same time the Obama Administration, through highly discriminatory regulatory policies, has virtually declared war on for-profit higher education? …
5. Fifth … the U.S. government’s finances are somewhat precarious, which has already led to its first credit downgrade in modern American history. …
6. Finally, the past large expenditures for federal student financial assistance, such as the Pell Grant and student loan programs, have contributed importantly to the tuition fee explosion.

Writing in the American Thinker, Michael Filozof – who says he has spent more than 15 years teaching at community colleges – declared “I cannot think of a worse idea than President Obama’s proposal for the federal government to provide ‘free’ community college tuition nationwide.”

Among his points:

1. The federal government has no business in education: Article 1, Sec. 8 of the Constitution enumerates the powers of the federal government. Education is not one of them. …

2. You get what you pay for: If community college becomes “free,” it will attract even more unserious students than the ones already enrolled in community colleges. …

3. Obama’s proposal will promote grade inflation: The Obama proposal is to provide “free” tuition for students who maintain a C+ average. This will almost certainly result in rampant grade inflation (which is prevalent already) …

4. Federally guaranteed tuition will increase inefficiency and patronage: Community colleges are often swamps of political patronage, nepotism, and favoritism.

And in case you missed it, The College Fix has also explained why it’s a horrible plan. Among our reasons, it’s another way in which the federal government treats young people as helpless saps who can only get ahead in life with the help of Uncle Sam.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix (@JenniferKabbany)

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IMAGE: Kerry M/ Flickr

About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix. She previously worked as a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for a decade in Southern California, and prior to that held editorial positions at The Weekly Standard, Washington Times and FrontPageMagazine. She is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship recipient and has contributed to National Review.

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