Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Smoke and Mirrors: Uhhhh, Community College Education Is Already Free, Mr. President

Education: President Obama is announcing a $60 billion plan to make two years of community college "free." Hold on. The College Board reports that that a two-year public education is already effectively free. This is pork.
As with all of his spending plan proposals, President Obama thinks big. On Thursday, he told a community college audience in Knoxville, Tenn., of his new 10-year, $60 billion plan to provide "free" college tuition to nine million students across the country, an idea that the left will lap up.
As always, he tried to sell it as a bootstrap initiative.
"Community colleges should be free for those willing to work for it," Obama said. "It's not a blank check, not a free lunch, but for those willing to do the work ... it can be a game-changer."
He'd have you think that nine million people are being shut out of "the middle class" for lack of money, as if federal grants, federal loans, private scholarships and the bloated Department of Education never existed.
It's a straw man. The reality is that community college is essentially not only free, it's actually profitable.
According to the latest 2013 Trends In Pricing Report from the College Board, the average (not honors or scholarship) student enrolled full time in a two-year public college in 2013-14 "receives enough funding through tax benefits and grant aid from all sources to cover tuition and fees, plus about $1,550 in other expenses." With average tuition and fees at $3,260 and average total grants at $4,810, that's a net gain in income.
President Obama's plans to make college "tuition-free" are little more than an effort to further federalize and Obama-fy education, just as he did health care — and with the same kinds of unintended consequences.
Read the rest of the IBT editorial HERE.

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