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Hey guys, don’t be Grubered into supporting ‘free’ community college

OPINION

From the Urban Dictionary: Grubered [Gr-oob-ered] Verb. To mislead the public into believing lies to get ideological laws passed. Example: The President really Grubered us on that healthcare bill.

Remember the Affordable Care Act? It’s not so affordable anymore. The government is forcing us young people to pay an average of $2,000 a year for comprehensive health care we don’t need at a time when we can barely find good jobs.

MIT scholar and “Obamacare architect” Jonathan Gruber infamously admitted the mandate passed because officials relied on “the stupidity of the American voter.” Thus the term “Grubered” was born.

Now it’s happening again.

President Obama is trying to Gruber us into this new “free” community college plan. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Contrary to popular belief, the best things in life aren’t free – and I’m not talking about the occasional ice cream or hot dog. When the government is the entity offering free things, something sinister is at hand.

Obama’s “free” plan will actually cost taxpayers an estimated $60 billion—75 percent funded by the feds and 25 percent funded by opting-in states, over a 10-year period. The financial burden is just being shifted from college students to society as a whole. But we young people will ultimately be left with the tab.

Luckily, Obama’s free college plan may never pass—and he knows it; yet another reason to assert your skepticism. This is one of several propositions the president has on his agenda, not to get passed, but to use as tools to demonize Republicans as 2016 approaches.

The biggest problem with our higher education system is the expensive cost, thanks to the unfettered plethora of government loans given to students, prompting greedy administrators to ratchet up tuition exponentially. Offering “free” community college will just result in higher tuition.

What’s more, community college is already affordable. In my home state of Michigan, it’s less than $100 per credit hour.

Even with a four-year degree, it’s not a given that graduates will be prepared for the workforce. A recent report by the Wall Street Journal pointed out that 40 percent of college students graduate without the reasoning skills to adequately work white-collar jobs. So why would we consider a free two-year degree as a solution to society’s woes if a bachelor’s degree isn’t even preparing students for the workforce?

Obama’s plan also snubs vital vocational colleges. His plan extends only to public community colleges and excludes technical schools. What a horrible caveat.

It’s time for society to quit ushering every person into a four-year college education. Not everyone is meant for college—and that’s okay. Instead, society and the government should also urge those seeking a post-high school education to consider technical schools or other options that teach entrepreneurial skills, both areas where there are jobs.

As it stands, young people are going to school for four to six years to study topics such as women’s studies and art history, subjects that don’t exactly translate into jobs.

Look, I went to a community college before transferring to the University of Michigan. I even recommended my sister go to community college. It’s ideal for the student who doesn’t quite know what they want to study yet or the student who has their eye on a two or four-year degree.

But this doesn’t mean community college is a springboard to a prosperous society.

Sure, the program would help underprivileged families put their kids through college, but it also will give students who can get by a free ride on the taxpayer dime. Plus, there are already federal programs through FAFSA to help struggling students along the way.

Community college, or any college, is not some deus ex machina to success, and Obama’s plan is not some benevolent policy. Don’t be Grubered, again.

College Fix reporter Derek Draplin is a student at the University of Michigan, editor of the Michigan Review, and a Student Free Press Association Spring 2015 journalism fellow at the Detroit News.

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