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The False Hope of Free College

Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley 6084 replies100309 postsFounder Senior Member
Free college sounds great to families who can't afford to pay today's high tuition rates, but it hasn't always worked as planned. In this Washington Post article, Jeffrey Selingo points out that in programs like Georgia's HOPE scholarship money has often gone mostly to students who would graduate from college anyway, Furthermore, these programs do nothing to address the real problem of bloated higher ed costs.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/02/23/the-false-hope-of-free-college/

Do you agree or disagree with the author's points?


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Replies to: The False Hope of Free College

  • NeoDymiumNeoDymium 2301 replies3 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    This article presumes that "free college" has to come from the same expensive bloated mess of a system that has made college as expensive as it is now. It also does not address other "backdoor" options to go to college, like starting from CC to show ability then finishing in university, an idea that would be more viable if community colleges had real funding to give a more solid education.

    It's been done in other countries and the biggest drawback is that people who have little to no chance of finishing college are not given a chance to attend without going to a CC-like school first. And perhaps that is how it should be.
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  • velcromanvelcroman 1 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    First of all, the article does not always distinguish between free public university and free college (including private), which is sloppy.
    Also, the purpose, as stated in the article, for the HOPE scholarship was to keep talented students in state. If the Florida program had the same purpose, then paying to keep wealthy students in state is not a waste.
    Then the author points out that low-income students often drop out or lose their scholarship, and have other problems that are not financial. But this has nothing to do with the headline.
    The article says that only one fifth of waivers go to students with family income of $30K or less. It is possible that every student in that bracket gets a waiver - but they are a small proportion of the total students. The author does not give us the information needed to make a judgment.

    Finally, the conclusion states "the experience of a dozen states during the past decade shows that free tuition fails to change the college-going patterns of low-income students and quickly becomes an entitlement for those students who need it the least.". Nothing in the article supports these statement.
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  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 3303 replies119 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I believe Florda Bright Futures is funded by the lottery. But then cut beyond recognition by Governor Scott
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83965 replies1010 postsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    edited February 2016
    <<<<
    What these people are actually wanting and complaining about is the money is not going to students who do not make the grade and probably should not be there anyway.
    >>>


    Exactly.

    If CCs want to offer free online sub100 classes for those who aren't college ready, but want to go to an on-campus CC or state univ, then fine. But wasting money one people who are just biding time is silly.

    I wish the UC's and CSU's would require incoming frosh to complete/pass sub100 classes during the summer before fall semester stats, then that might help more graduate in 4 years and waste less money.
    edited February 2016
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  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 3303 replies119 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    There should be free community college and technical schools to train and retrain workers tied into jobs programs local to those schools.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 83965 replies1010 postsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    edited February 2016
    ^^ high schools should be able to provide some of this....bring back shop and auto classes. The high school by my parents' home still has auto shop classes.

    Providing post high school often presents a boarding issue. Many kids bound for technical jobs are expected to "be on their own" after high school. Offering DE and other classes before high school graduation would be more effective....and less debt.
    edited February 2016
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22461 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Bright futures has changed a lot. It used to cover tuition, but as tuition rose, the amount did not. Then in the last 3-4 years, the requiremen's changed too, especially the test score needed. I think the figure is something like a 50% drop in the number of students qualifying now because of the test score requirements. It's nice to have the $2500-3000, but it's not going to keep someone in state if there is a good offer from OOS.

    I think the statistics will show that the reduction in the number of BF grants awards disproportionately affect low income and minority students, and perhaps that principal will get his wish and the program will be dropped.
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  • MotherOfDragonsMotherOfDragons 3934 replies25 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    Such an annoying article. The statement "The cost of college continued to rise; someone else just footed the bill, mostly those who played the lottery." just cracks me up. Yes, the tax on stupid people (the lottery) continues to make education affordable for hard working students in Georgia.

    Oh the humanity.

    As a Georgia resident, the most annoying thing that is happening with the HOPE is that the tuition is not going up, the FEES are going up. Fees aren't covered by the HOPE scholarship, only the Zell (not Zen, lol) Miller. So the fees are getting to the point where it makes the in-state option not a slam-dunk anymore for bright kids to stay.

    Also, the special interest groups, after YEARS of trying, have finally gotten their greedy, sweaty little hands on this big pile of money and have begun to pillage the reserves. Now it's not the regular B kids who are getting this scholarship, it's the kids taking VERY specific HOPE-Scholarship approved classes-the honors and the AP classes.

    This was directly caused by the money not all going to the kids anymore. People are still playing the lottery like crazy here.

    In addition, UGA and Tech are pretty much the only games in town, so to speak, in terms of a competitive education. It's not attractive out there in Georgia for a smart kid outside of these two options, in my opinion. There are many solid public Georgia universities of varying sizes, but they are not aimed at the super ambitious high achieving kid that is the HOPE scholarship qualifier kid.

    So, they make the HOPE really hard to qualify for, but then the options for the kids is pretty much limited to Tech and UGA (driving the admit rate to these two places down to near and elite levels), or they go to schools where they are a lot more accomplished (and ambitious) than most of their peers, and they don't feel like it's a good fit for them, and they end up transferring out of state or to a private school.

    So, yet again, human greed wrecks what had the potential to be a pretty good thing. The average kid getting an affordable average college education is not the operational reality today of the HOPE.
    edited February 2016
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 14654 replies980 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Take a look at Canadian universities, not free but lower tuition. Huge classes, low retention and graduation rates and decrepit campuses due to no money for repairs.....you get what you pay for.
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  • Jamrock411Jamrock411 499 replies0 postsRegistered User Member
    edited February 2016
    .......Offering DE and other classes before high school graduation would be more effective....and less debt.

    IMHO, Dual Enrollment (DE) is an effective resource that can cut the total college cost in half, yet only a few high school students actually take advantage of this "free" option. In the State of Florida, where the 50K number is frequently touted, the vast majority of these 50K students enrolled in DE courses only take a handful of courses, typically taken on high school campuses throughout the state. Even those students who have accumulated 60 or more DE credits, choose to graduate in 3 - 4-years, instead of 2, by taking less than 15 credits per semester (more often 12 credits/semester to maintain fulltime status). At current rates, a typical student in florida can reduce their total cost by approximately $42K ($21K x 2) by judicious selection of DE credits while in high school.

    There is als0 the issue of Guidance Counselors forcing students to take AP courses in lieu of DE courses to boast their high school ranking, even at the detriment of these students scoring less than a 3 (or 4/5) on their AP exams, while a C grade on a DE course will gain transferable college credits.
    Ok...some FL univ president was annoyed that a doctor's kids used BF for low/free tuition at a Florida public. Big whoop. The guy probably pays the tuition thru income taxes and property taxes.

    Fortunately, Florida has no income taxes and I don't think any of "local" property taxes goes to the state (major components are: City Taxes, School Board, Hospital District, etc. - ). If I not mistaken, the Scholarship is solely funded by lottery proceeds.
    edited February 2016
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  • CaliCashCaliCash 2759 replies69 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @ClarinetDad16 "All one needs to look back to when the City of New York schools offered free college."

    Right because outside of NY, people are jumping through hoops to try to get into a CUNY.
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