Posts Tagged ‘free college tuition’

Can college education be free for everyone?

March 25, 2016

I think it is feasible to provide college education with free or affordable tuition, as Bernie Sanders advocates.  Foreign countries do so, and the United States once did, too.

I have long been in favor of free or affordable college education for everybody who has the desire and ability to do college work, but this is different from providing free tuition for everybody.

collegekids97944673-copyRon Unz, the maverick political editor and writer, has proposed that Harvard University offer free tuition.  As he says, it can easily afford it because of the tax-free revenues of its huge endowment fund.  He also advocates for a fairer admissions process, especially for Asian-American students.

Those are excellent proposals.  But they wouldn’t get everybody who wishes into Harvard.

Sanders’ plan is for the federal government to pay for two-thirds of the cost of college education at state universities that offer free tuition and meet other conditions.  I expect that many state governors would turn down this generous offer.  Most states are cutting the budgets of their state university systems.  And after all, many states refused to expand Medicaid even though the Affordable Care Act offered to cover nine-tenths of the cost.

Germany is frequently cited as an example of a country that provides free college tuition for everyone, including foreigners, who can pass an entrance examination.

But only about 28 percent of young German adults are college graduates, compared to 43 percent of Americans.

During the golden age of American public higher education, college education was much less common.  As recently as 1990, only 23 percent of young American adults were college graduates.

Higher education in Germany also is much more bare bones than it is in the USA.  German colleged generally offer a rigorous academic program without the extra-curricular amenities that Americans typically regard as a part of the college experience.

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The passing scene: Links & comments 10/10/14

October 10, 2014

Where to get a free college degree by Lynn O’Shaughnessy for CBS MoneyWatch.

Germany just made college tuition free to everyone, including Americans and other foreigners.  Students also get discounts for food, clothing and events tickets, and free or inexpensive transportation.

Tuition had been free prior to 2006.  Then German states started charging tuition, typically $630 a semester.  Critics said it was unfair to make college education depend on ability to pay and the states one by one repealed tuition charges.  Lower Saxony, the last holdout, repealed college tuition fees last week.

However, this does not mean that just anybody can enroll in a German university.  You have to be proficient in German, which isn’t an easy language, and you have to pass an entrance examination, which I don’t think would be easy, either.

The Amish Farmers Reinventing Organic Agriculture by Ric Morin for The Atlantic.

An Amish scientist—yes, there are Amish scientists—has discovered a way to fight pests without chemical poisons.  It is based on using nutrients to build up plants’ natural immune systems.   This is a step beyond standard organic farming, because it is pro-active action to make plants healthier.

Generator Produces 250,000 Watts Without Consuming Fuel by Kevin Bullis for MIT Technology Review.

A startup company called Alpha Energy has invented a new thermoelectric material, which converts heat into electricity more efficiently than other such materials.   Its generator runs on waste heat from other generators and industrial engines.  It’s not perpetual motion, but it improves energy efficiency.

Destroying a $30,000 Islamic State pickup truck can cost US $500,000 by Justine Drennan for Foreign Policy (via Stars and Stripes)

To tell the truth, I thought it cost more.