Clinton's "Free" College a Bailout of a Failed System?

Clinton's "Free" College a Bailout of a Failed System?
Susan Dutca-Lovell

Today, going to college could cost as much as buying a new BMW every year, according to the Wall Street Journal. With ever-increasing college costs ranging between $120,000 and $200,000 (depending on the school), some politicians' higher education reforms are simply a "massive bailout wrapped in the promise of free tuition and relief from student loans."

College unaffordability has forced students into the growing $1.3 trillion national debt issue, with the average student owing $26,700. Where's this money going? Money is going towards grandiose campus facilities such as Purdue University's $98 million Cordova Recreational Sports center, which houses a climbing wall, vortex pool, and 25-person spa. Elsewhere, funding is being spent heavily on administration, promotions, athletics, and "noninstructional student services." There's little evidence that shows additional spending enhances the value of a college degree. Even after spending "more than half a trillion dollars from 1987 to 2005," one study notes that completion rates are declining, grade inflation is increasing, students are studying less, adult numeracy/literacy rates are declining and critical thinking skills are not improving.

Demand is strong for student loan forgiveness, as well as attaining "free" college. Such million-dollar proposed bailouts have "no new accountability measures" and will only dump the costs of higher education onto taxpayers, many of whom don't have a college education. Rather than having students invest and borrow money to go to the "wrong colleges to study the wrong subjects" - which doesn't actually prepare them with the necessary skills for the workforce - universities could be "smaller, leaner and more focused on actually teaching undergraduates." Roughly 40 percent of students are not graduating college within six years and the "college for all" mantra can be overused and pushed onto students who could alternatively attend trade/vocational schools, earn two-year and three-year degrees or certifications in professions that don't necessitate college degrees.

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