Monday, February 15, 2016

Free College Tuition

After his victory last week in the New Hampshire Democrat primary, Senator Bernie Sanders took advantage of the prime time television opportunity to address the Nation on the features of his "revolutionary" platform. Of great interest to his fervent young followers is his call for free college tuition for all. However, it would appear that most followers and commentators missed an important qualifier. Senator Sanders insisted that tuition would be free only at State and other public schools.

Does Sanders really mean that if you attend a private college or university, you will still have to pay the full tuition? If this is the case, his plan would drive most private schools, whether profit or non profit, out of business. At the same time, his idea would put an incredible burden on existing state college systems. Currently, there are no Federal colleges and universities, and so the various states and municipalities would have to expand their facilities and staffs to cover the huge influx of new students.

According to Sanders the Federal government would somehow find the means to pay the tuition costs at these public educational institutions. Also, can there be any doubt that if the Federal government pays the tuition, it will be the boss. It will determine the amount of tuition that the states can charge in the same way that it sets medical costs in Medicare and Obamacare.

In addition, the Federal bureaucrats will inevitably cave into activist demands that there be no admission standards. Actually, this is the case in most state universities today. In Connecticut, for example, the State promises that it's university system will provide a place for every applicant. Of course, only the top students can go to the flagship UCONN campus. Less qualified students go to a variety of less prestigious schools. Once the Federal Government takes over, such an arrangement will likely be declared discriminatory. The lesser schools are separate but not equal.

In effect, Senator Sanders is talking about a Federal takeover of the entire higher education system in this country. Inevitably, it will mean centralized control of curriculum and standards. When President Obama pushed his medical care plan back in 2008, he claimed that if you liked your current plan, you could keep it. We now know how false that promise was. Under the Sanders free tuition proposal, the Alma Mater that you love will either go out of business, or descend into government directed sameness and mediocrity.


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