"We just needed to change the culture of expectations in our state," the governor said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "College is not for everybody, but it has to be for a lot more people than it’s been in the past if we’re going to have a competitive work force."
Tennessee considers tuition-free college
— By Tyler Falk on February 5, 2014, 4:18 PM PST
Why call it "college". Why not take the college out of it, and just extend the high school curriculum to 6 years? The last 2 years could be called "post-HS" or "advanced HS", or "Extended HS".
If one considers what 4 years of college entails, the first 2 years are, basically, worthless, and all that one gets from the first 2 years, is, a rehash of what one should have learned in HS, or just a liberal arts education which is virtually worthless in industry.
Plus, like everything free, it's always abused, and with this "free college" idea, most people who start the program will drop out before they finish the first year. People don't usually take anything serious if they didn't pay for it, but when they have to pony up for anything, they usually take better care of it.
Also, what the heck would 2 years prepare a student for? About half of students achieving a college degree now, are shocked to find out that, the jobs just aren't there, and it would be a lot worse for those people who "only" get 2 years of "wasted time" in the "free college".
There used to be a time when a person with just a HS education could land a job,and after a few years, be earning a respectable salary. Obviously, a free education won't change the part where people can't find jobs. Jobs are created by industry, and not by a college education. Free college is like putting the cart in front of the horse. Which came first? The degree or the jobs? Obviously, the jobs need to be there before people start training people to fill them. It's happening with law school, where far too many people get their law degrees, only to find that, the market for them is already too crowded and that there aren't enough jobs for all of them. So, why waste the money on "free college" if the training wont be worth it, and even it somebody learns anything, the jobs won't be there.
The amount spent on the war in Iraq would be enough to provide free higher education for every American for the next 52 years.
Is that an example of the right wing concept of consequences and taking responsibility?
Just a little bit of Smart Planet "thought provoking analysis" to bring some context into the story, would have produced that Tuition free higher education has been the norm in Scotland, Wales and Ireland, for ever and a day, and could have framed this story into possibilities for the US. There are also EU schemes giving free tuition exchange to participating countries. Indeed, further up until 1986 when (as the last starting year, which I was) full maintenance grants were also available to students throughout the UK, whilst although not overly generous, pretty much covered your rent and basic living costs - often supplemented by part time and holiday work - allowing you to focus on learning.
Unfortunately sacrificed on the alter of social engineering to push the %tge of University entrants from around 20% to almost 50%' aspiring to be like America'.
Now in Scotland, Wales, Northern (and Republic of Ireland) you will get free tuition, but are now largely saddled with college loans, giving new new graduates some financial issues at the start of their career. in England you are now stuffed into paying tuition fees too.
A return to 20% at University, and a return to paid for fees and grants would be my favoured approach. It's not like there were ever 50% graduate jobs to be had anyway....post social engineering.
Without going into it too much, in my study of what it takes to sustain a civilization, education is of incredible importance. It is also the only way we are going to be able to cope with increasing automation. We are going to need to massively subsidize education in the future. It does not fit market models.
It works, and its been done as the author notes. SO waiting for Tennessee is just a stall to cheat more of our children of the education which should be their birthright.
I started my 4 years at a state university in 1968. It wasn't free, but it was cheap enough to pay for it by working a minimum wage job during the summer and a Saturday job during the school year. The total tuition was $345 for the year. After factoring in inflation, today's "public university" tuition is 6 to 10 times as expensive, depending on the state and the school.
Given the additional income (and hence additional taxes) generated by the additional education, someone calculated that a free university education pays the government off in 10 years or less.
Wow great! I can only imagine seeing Germans raise their eyebrow watching this great information regarding tuition-free colleges (and by the way, community colleges, not top-of-list colleges). It'll be as if americans saw somebody get overwhelmed by fire.
I was in California during the free community college era. In fact, I was a student getting my lower-level classes out of the way before transferring to university, and vividly recall the furor when tuition went from "free" to $50 a semester. You would have thought the world was ending. A college education for only $50 a semester? What a deal! Mine was an unusual and seemingly abhorrent opinion.
The biggest problem with "free" was that people don't respect things that are free, and even have contempt for it. For way too many people, community college was basically "5th-year high school". (Usually kids who's parents said "Either go to school or get a job", and "free school" beat flipping burgers) Fortunately, by the time you hit the 200 and 300 level courses, you had left those people well behind.
One semester I had a class that was next door to the "financial aid" department, which usually had a long line of people. I never understood why a school that was basically free had a need for a "financial aid office". Most of the people in this line did not lack for the latest fashion; jewelry, designer jeans, and expensive sneakers, any part of which cost well more than $50. At the time, you could easily make $50 in a weekend of picking up aluminum cans at the beach. IMHO, if a college education isn't worth a weekend at the beach picking up cans, you really don't belong there.
I am all for reigning in today's absurd cost of education, which is mainly a product of government subsidies. However, making it "free" is no solution either. Basically, the places will be filled by "5th-year high schoolers" with little or no aptitude or commitment to the endevour. It will be a waste of taxpayer's money, will do little to help those who lack the will to commit in some form, and will detract from the experience of the serious students.
I'm all for it! We need more people to be educated in this country, not fewer. When I was in college (1978-1982) it wasn't expensive and I finished with no debt. Today, I owe over $40,000 on my two sons' college and I paid for most of their housing out-of-pocket, plus, they paid for about 1/2 of their own tuition. My parents could never have afforded to send me to college today and most likely I'd have had to had borrow all of the money myself.
Of course, he's talking about community college, not a university. That's a great idea, too, but I would want to add a program that sends students to the university at no cost if their community college grades are high enough. (And I don't mean all A's, but C or better.)
It seems to me that this country peaked in the 1970s as far as equal opportunity is concerned. There are too many people earning their living with jobs that were once reserved for students, and too many open positions in high paying jobs due to a lack of qualified applicants.
Finland and Denmark do this, and they deport all illegal aliens and do not give birthright citizenship.
"Why call it "college". Why not take the college out of it, and just extend the high school curriculum to 6 years? The last 2 years could be called "post-HS" or "advanced HS", or "Extended HS"."
That's really not a bad idea. At least it's thought provoking, and I congratulate you on that.
@adornoe When I attended a community college in the early '80s, the big debate at the moment was over what their defined role for the future should be: Should they be what they had been, a vehicle for either a 2-year degree and transfer mechanism to a 4-year school, or be a remedial school to make up for the fact that our high schools were failing, and the students coming out of them were not prepared for a 4-year school.
I thought it was an absurd debate. If the high schools were failing, then why engineer and maintain an entire remedial school system instead of just fixing the high schools? It was like if GM was making defective cars, setting up an alternative factory to to deliver and then repair the cars instead of just reforming the original factory. But hey, this was government. They don't think like we do.
And you are 100% about the "jobs" situation. Since the '70s, the liberal solution to every employment or economic crisis has been to sell more 'education". Today, with over a trillion-dollars of outstanding student loan debt, we are already the most educated country on the planet. Clearly, "education" is not the problem. (or at least the quantity of it isn't) And yet the same agenda keeps getting proposed. (The President did it again last week) One would almost suspect that it's the "education industrial complex" is behind this agenda. After 40 years of this, why would we keep doing the same thing?
@antiguajohn I see that you still have not responded to my comments.
So, I'll give you a hint, to get you started towards answering my comments.
The government funding that went to the Iraq war, or to the other "Bush wars", did not exist before the wars, and for the most part, it still doesn't exist. IOW, budgeting that wasn't there to begin with, would not have been available to redirect to other programs, like education. Once a war is over, whatever budgeting was created for it, stops existing completely, and there won't be any money to use at all.
Also, most wasteful government programs came as result of liberal policies, and in reality, they are the spendthrift party. In addition, education in the U.S. is not as bad as you think it is, and even where it's lacking in quality, it's not because of lack of money. The education system in America is broken because of the unions, plain and simple.
@antiguajohn The paid-for education isn't working, so why should we expect that "free' would be any better?
@antiguajohn That's a pretty dumb post, and I'll bet you wont understand why.
@JohnMcGrew You do have an interesting point about how people value free, but I've never seen a beach where you could find a dozen aluminum cans. People are too litter adverse and there are too many (what is politically correct term for bum) local entrepreneurs collecting them. It used to be easy to get piece work. I used to do it all the time when young. It is far harder to scrounge a buck now.
@AlanLaRue We currently have over $1-trillion dollars of outstanding student loan debt in this country. Clearly, we already have a lot of "educated" people in America, many of them working as waiters and baristas. More people go to college today than ever before in history. I'm not sure we need more "educated" people. We don't seem to have enough for our already educated people to do as it is. Somehow we seem stuck-on-stupid with the idea that if we only had more "educated people", we'd have more jobs. That clearly doesn't seem to be the case. Otherwise, the employment participation rate would not be at an modern all-time low and wages would be rising.
@aspblom And neither have world power cost responsibilities - a military industrial complex that eats their national budget. Plus no amount of education prepares you for a society where the number of required workers are constantly in decline while the population grows.
@copracr I'd say the biggest issue is that you would be extending a failed system. Let's face it, the mandatory 4 years of HS is basically a baby-sitting program. Extending that to 6 years won't make a bit of difference. At least this program is elective, a lot of the students who do nothing but bring their classmates down will elect not to utilize the program, thus increasing it's effectiveness and reducing it's costs.
@a1swdeveloper @JohnMcGrew Do consider that I was speaking of events of over 30 years ago when both jobs and loose aluminum cans were much easier to come by. In California at the time before mandated recycling programs, recycled materials we worth far more than they are today, and it was not unrealistic to be able to make a sizable sum of money over a weekend if one actually tried.
My main point is that if a mere $50 is all that stands between someone and a decent college education (which even community colleges can provide) and someone is unwilling to make even that token level of effort., then education must not mean very much to that individual. As I mentioned above, more than a few of those people didn't think twice about spending more than that sum on their casual appearance.
I was more than happy to spend that $50, even though $50 was still a lot of money to me at the time. I was by no means "poor", but it highly offended me people with $50 sneakers were pleading poverty when my sneakers were hardly as fashionable and had holes in them as a choice of personal priorities. As you can tell, that's been a hot-button that's followed me through life.
@dduggerbiocepts @aspblom The "military industrial complex" meme is tired. Soon, we'll be paying more to China in interest payments than we spend on the military. So enjoy using that while you still can.
@JohnMcGrew Yah, but think of the calculated cost of the Iraq Afghanistan Excellent War Adventure. It is probably at least 3 billion dollars. .. We're paying interest on that. That's a pretty big lick by any standard, even the national debt.