Why Free College is So Problematic

Rhode Island has become the fourth U.S. state to offer free community college to all comers, bringing cries of support from the political left and anyone who understands the problem with this roll their eyes.  And there is a problem with this, one that nobody on the political left seems to understand.  If everyone has it, it’s just not worth anything.

To be honest, this is one of the reasons, not the only reason by any means, but one of the reasons why a high school education means nothing these days.  Getting that diploma doesn’t mean you’ve actually done any work or earned the right.  It just means you showed up.  And that’s something the left has done in this country too, they care more about rewarding people for waking up in the morning, because it makes them feel good, than in giving them a diploma for being successful in their studies.  You could be a failing student but you’ll still get a diploma because it might make someone feel bad if they don’t.  It’s pathetic.  A high school diploma means nothing because it doesn’t signify educational success.

But the left started insisting that everyone ought to go to college, whether they deserved it or not. They pushed down the requirements, people didn’t have to actually have the grades to go to college anymore, so long as they had the cash, and with government loans anyone could do it, so after a while, even college didn’t really mean anything.  It was just one more step in the educational ladder with a meaningless degree that didn’t actually prove you put in the work to earn it.  And with places like Evergreen State and Mizzou, where students are demanding they don’t actually have to do any school work because it might get in the way of their constant protesting, and liberal “feels-over-reals” professors not giving a damn if they’re actually teaching anything worthwhile, it’s no wonder why a college education is quickly becoming meaningless.

There’s this thing called supply and demand, maybe you’ve heard of it?  If there are too many people with a particular degree, the benefits for having that degree go down.  When you almost have to have a doctorate to get a job as a trash collector, then doctorates become meaningless.  All we have to do is look at Europe to see how the push for universal college education, regardless of qualifications, is turning into a disaster.  In Canada, England and India, people with advanced university degrees are driving taxis because there are no jobs for them.  Too much supply, not enough demand.  The taxi companies are even demanding that their applicants have degrees because it’s so easy to get applicants with those degrees. And because there are too many with degrees, those degrees don’t really mean anything.  The drive to hand them out has devalued them entirely.

So yes, by all means, let’s keep pushing kids to go to college, just for the sake of a college degree, whether or not that college degree will get them a job.  In far too many cases, it’s just another useless piece of paper that doesn’t really contribute to real world success.  And while we’re at it, let’s do it all at taxpayer expense because apparently, money grows on trees.  How is this supposed to make society better?  Because like it or not, it isn’t making society smarter, not when people are taking gender studies and other liberal arts programs that have no jobs whatsoever waiting for them at the end.  But it makes them feel good, and the political left gets more indoctrinated voters, which is why they spend so much time and money pushing this nonsense.  And if  you’ve fallen for it, you’re just their stooge.  Congrats.  You’ve failed this nation and this planet.  But that comes as no surprise at all.

3 thoughts on “Why Free College is So Problematic

  1. I graduated from high school in the 1980s. Even back then, most people regarded a high school diploma as almost meaningless. I have to say "almost" because many jobs required either a diploma or a GED. The people I knew who went the GED route often seemed to work harder for it than they had in high school, but that was probably about maturity and having a more compelling motive than anything else. But yes, when almost everyone has something, it rarely seems to have much value.

    I'm on the political left, and I think it is a terrible idea to push everyone to go to college. I see students every day who have no business being in college. Some of them can barely read! Many won't make it through college even though the requirements have indeed been dumbed down. They should not make it through college because if we allow them to do so, we make everyone else's degree worthless. And of course, nothing is free.

    I'll admit that I don't like the idea of a truly talented kid who would obviously excel in college not being able to go because he or she cannot afford it. I am in favor of making this scenario far less likely; however, this doesn't seem sufficient for most of those pushing the "free" college thing. They want to ignore ability, and that leads to exactly what you are talking about: worthless degrees.

    At least one other factor is contributing to this problem: by refusing to adequately fund their public universities, states have set up a system where universities must operate like businesses to survive. This leads to lowered admission standards and increased pressure on faculty to lower grading standards because we need to keep the "customer" happy even if he or she learns little in the process.

    1. Yet everyone can go now, there's no excuse not to go to college if you'll do well there. Even without the kind of government-backed loans, there are tons and tons and tons of scholarships available for the exceptional to wind up in a college. I want the exceptional to succeed. However, the whole government-loan thing is really driving up costs and making students who otherwise could and should go get priced out of the game.

      Plus, why would the states fund their colleges when the federal government is willing to throw money at them? If someone else is willing to pay, why would you?

      1. I work with students regularly who are doing fairly well in college but are having to sit out semesters and sometimes drop out due to financial reasons. Most are working, and some have loans but they rarely cover the costs. And while there are scholarships, most are too small to make much difference or have strange restrictions so that most students don't qualify for them.

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