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.