“Free College” Is a False Hope and Millennials Will Bear the Cost
(Washington, D.C.) – According to recent research by the National Bureau of Economic Research, proponents of taxpayer-funded higher education would not be addressing the underlying issue of rising tuition costs. While this shift might lower tuition costs – at least initially – these findings suggest it may also allow schools to continue operating under their current wasteful cost structures. By removing a powerful incentive to control costs, the ultimate effect could be to raise costs. According to the study, almost all of the increase in the cost of tuition over the last two decades can be attributed to rising federal aid. Unfortunately, an influx of new funding might actually lead universities to pay less attention to cost-effectiveness than they do now, incentivizing higher tuitions over time.
Marilinda García, National Spokesperson for The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“The government can’t offer anything “for free.” Somebody has to pay for it. And the ones that will be stuck with the “free college” bills in years to come are hard-working young people trying to afford an apartment, or save for a car or a house, and already with college debt of their own. When policymakers promise “free college,” it’s one more example of unrealistic pandering. Instead of truly addressing high college costs, it papers over the problem and sends taxpayers the bill. When colleges and universities are guaranteed a steady taxpayer-funded subsidy they are less attentive to student needs and not concerned that young people will look elsewhere for better, lower-cost academic options. It makes institutions essentially unaccountable, and frees them to raise tuition with the knowledge they’ll be getting a government check at the end of the day.
The massive tax increases necessary to offer “free college” are proof that it is anything but free, and may even fail to raise adequate revenue as they force American banks and financial institutions to do business elsewhere. Instead of throwing money at the problem, which has been shown to increase costs, lawmakers should address the problem of rising higher education costs at the root. We need to focus assistance on those who need it most, and promote policies that incentivize competition and innovation, two key aspects in lowering costs. “Free college” sounds very appealing but we need real ideas on the table.”