Free Community College Won’t Solve Any Problems and May Lead to Unintended Consequences

//Free Community College Won’t Solve Any Problems and May Lead to Unintended Consequences

Free Community College Won’t Solve Any Problems and May Lead to Unintended Consequences

Recently, President Obama proclaimed that he wants to provide free community college for those that want to work for it:

Free Education! A fantastic goal, however, I believe there are two unintended consequences that will be discussed years after this program is enacted (if it is ever enacted at all).  Of course, politicians either often choose to ignore glaring unintended consequences, or do not see them at all so my post which will be seen by tens of hundreds of people is likely not to matter all that much.

The first and obvious unintended consequence is that the program will basically make high school 6 years instead of four.  As such, a high school diploma, in it of itself, will further devalue in the job market.  One has to ask themselves if the high school diploma loses even more value then who is actually to be hurt most?  Those individuals for whom college was never even a thought in their head (i.e. likely the population that the program is actually trying to help).

Second, the preliminary details indicate the program would be a federal reimbursement to the community college for a sum certain.  I am not sure how the finances of the community college system works (and my guess it is different State to State), but isn’t it possible that the community colleges look at the federal money as a baseline to start charging? or alternatively, the community college system may start to look more like the traditional 4 year model where the higher paying students are supporting the artificially low tuition of those using the federal program.

 

I doubt this program will get any traction, but what do I know I guessed completely wrong on Obamacare.

By | 2016-02-22T13:46:29+00:00 February 5th, 2015|Politics|4 Comments

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4 Comments

  1. Lazy Man and Money February 5, 2015 at 9:11 am - Reply

    I wrote about this because it seemed like it was going to be the end of the 529s. By the end of the article, I had convinced myself that the best plan would be to have a standardized, accredited version of University of Phoenix online that is free for all

    It’s just much, much more scalable and everyone would be getting essentially the same level of education. People who can afford community college can pay extra and get the real classroom experience. People who can afford to pay a lot more can pay and go to a public or private school.

    This would close the gap and give someone an option if they want to do the extra work to go beyond high school level classes if they can’t afford it.

    When I was going to college, it wasn’t because I felt like I had a ton to learn, but that I felt I needed to have the sheepskin for someone to hire me. I ended up studying a lot of computer science that I didn’t use at my first few software engineering jobs.

    If I could have gotten a GED-like equivalent for college by taking some course and/or testing out, that might have been a good path.

    • Evan February 18, 2015 at 12:14 am - Reply

      “When I was going to college, it wasn’t because I felt like I had a ton to learn, but that I felt I needed to have the sheepskin for someone to hire me. I ended up studying a lot of computer science that I didn’t use at my first few software engineering jobs.

      If I could have gotten a GED-like equivalent for college by taking some course and/or testing out, that might have been a good path.”

      – Doubt it would ever work…it would be looked upon as even below a CC.

      • Lazy Man and Money February 18, 2015 at 3:38 am - Reply

        If it was a national standard and there was national scoring, I don’t see why it has to be that way.

        I can’t find an exact parallel, but if someone gets near perfect on their SATs, I have high confidence in their academic ability.

        Perhaps a better parallel would be if you scored at a certain level taking advanced placement tests, it shows you know the material.

        My thinking is that this would be nearly the same thing… just expanded another level of learning above high school.

        • Evan February 18, 2015 at 8:37 am - Reply

          The argument I hear a lot (and not sure I believe it) is that a college degree at least proves someone can start and finish something. Again, I am not sure how true it is as it relates to work effort. A test wouldn’t provide that.

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