What’s Wrong with Free College?

What’s wrong with free college for everybody? This.

And on top of everything else listed in the article, you’ll need an even larger army of adjuncts to teach introductory English composition and Co without any hope of tenure. Because nobody in their right mind would award tenure for this kind of teaching.

Free college for all sounds great. To those who have zero understanding of how higher education works.

12 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with Free College?

    1. Right – these exist in a whole context, where there are a lot of other educational options and the university is only one kind of path. With better pay at a few trades, and a different kind of civil society, you can do fine and even be intellectually engaged and educated, without a university degree. I really do miss the days of the California master plan, though.


  1. College was basically free when I went. It cost me $600/year. It was kind of hard to get in, but you could get the courses you needed in public schools. If you didn’t get into the elite tier I got into (the top 10% or so), you could get into a second-tier place (top 35%), and there were good community colleges with various kinds of 2-year degrees, for various kinds of professions or for transfer to a four-year institution. It didn’t break the state — the decision to make college expensive was basically ideological, the need to cut state funding having been created by other decisions made by the government/voters.

    And in the community colleges, you did have people tenured who taught freshman and sophomore writing and things like that. You could then have real professionals, doing professional development, supporting the school and the students in all sorts of ways. It’s not unimportant teaching and there is a trick to it, and there is value in valuing people.

    The point about insisting everyone go to college is true enough, it shouldn’t be required or strictly necessary, but truly, I’ve known people who don’t look like “college material” to get a whole lot out of college. And even if you think college should cost something, costs now have really gotten out of hand and the outlook is kind of bleak for many with or without college. It’s concerning.


  2. When I attended community college for almost no money save the books, I did appreciate the opportunity, but sadly, when I transferred to a university, getting much of it paid through grants and some scholarships, so I paid little, my appreciation waned. Why? Because, at the time, opportunities came easy for me. I could do or learn anything. And since school came easy for me, I didn’t have to ponder and pain over dreams of what might be. Thankfully, I eventually learned the lesson, completed the training while educating myself in various other ways, and used it to it’s fullest in the field selected. But this was not a discussion growing up, not often. I wonder how much more it would mean to people if the discussions occurred in families due to the difficulty of gaining a higher education. In high school, the length of our career counseling entailed a box of cards, the ones selected meaning our future choices. I wonder, if children and teens are exposed to discussions and talks from those who have entered and had careers, what those careers entailed, and the ways to get into those fields, what their mindsets would be. I wonder, while growing up, if I had seen and listened to doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, entrepreneurs, chemists, and a host of other professionals, say a couple each year, what dreams that might have created. But not only learning about the fields, perhaps actually going to some of these jobs to witness real work, but also learning about the difficulties and challenges to working in those fields. How a mindset could be changed at so early an age. And most people understand that what dreams are set early in life often becomes reality when those children grow up.

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  3. Also, much in schools could be geared towards projects and vocations that the kids’ and teens’ early training would be goal oriented with work taking place in producing things that take time, but also require a level of excellence.

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