To continue my rant about tuition-free public universities, I am going to look into the staggering cost of running a University, the dire financial implications of free tuition, and how we should run a tuition-free system.
In true socialist/Bernie fashion, we are left with no real indication about the true cost of college in America. I have read articles purporting that colleges collected around $62 Billion in tuition in 2012, and therefore erroneously claim that the federal government only needs to cover $62 Billion in tuition costs, right? Wrong! There are two problems with statistic: first – it doesn’t reveal the true cost of college, second – it doesn’t account for the potential growth in costs.
According the National Center for Education Statistics , from 2012 to 2013 public colleges and universities spent approximately $311 Billion dollars educating students – that is a lot of money! In fact, its much more than $62 Billion. The true cost of college is important because most of it is currently paid for by States, individuals, and Scholarships of various kinds. According to the New America Foundation, from 2014 – 2015 Federal grants, tax-breaks, and work study programs amounted to about $69 Billion. This means(assuming unchanged costs from 2013 to 2015) the Federal Government pays about 22% of college tuition. So, if the national government assumes %100 percent of education costs, its supposed to simply tax financial transactions over $300 billion annually?! That is insane! This type of heavy taxation would likely decimate the number of financial transactions in the United States. The Almighty Government would need to find money elsewhere.
Since state governments and scholarships pay for large amounts of the cost of college, would they be necessary under a tuition-free model? Will the Almighty Government mandate state governments pay more money? Or, perhaps The Almighty will mandate hundreds of billions of dollars in scholarships. If the federal government assumes the responsibility of paying every students tuition, why would states or private foundations feel the need to contribute? These questions need to be sensibly answered before we pursue such an ill thought out policy.
In addition to the current size of college expenditures, we need to think about possible future expenditures. However, I do realize that most far-left individuals don’t have the capability to think about long-term consequences. Under a tuition-free system there would be a mind-boggling expansion in unfunded liabilities. Unfunded liabilities are expenses that cannot be covered by current income. The CBO projects the 2016 fiscal deficit to be $534 billion dollars, so maybe we could just continue to add on a few hundred billion more dollars… no big deal, right? Well, if you plan on dying in the next 10 years its probably not. However, all the money the Government borrows today must be paid back eventually. We must also remember that as long as the population continues to grow,a tuition-free promise will become increasingly unsustainable. Enough of the problems, lets talk about how we ought to run a tuition-free system.
If the Federal Government guarantees every ones tuition, there ought to be limits on the types of degrees that can be obtained with federal funding. Students should only be allowed to obtain degrees that contribute to the economic well-being of society. I would define well-being as productive capacity. If you are not learning how to increase your productive capacity – you cannot obtain a fee tuition. I imagine this would eliminate most people studying things like literature, art, philosophy, etc…, unless they will pay for it themselves.