Bernie Sanders has been going around suggesting that public universities should be free for students to attend.
Essentially, he wants to build a country in which the expectation is even greater that people go to college, whether or not that will be useful to their career. We already have seen signs of the cost of college versus its benefits degrade in value. The blame is put on the cost and the loans that students take out without ever addressing the quality of the education or the fundamental question: are too many people going to college who shouldn’t?
Considering the learning opportunities now available to us for free online, college no longer holds the keys to higher education. It simply holds the power of granting degrees (or at least accredited degrees). Kids are told early on about how they should go to college, long before there has been any consideration as to whether or not college would actually be beneficial. There’s not even a serious discussion. It’s just “college or bust,” when in fact it is closer to “college or create success elsewhere.”
Making college free will only exacerbate the problem. This is a government solution to a problem that has nothing to do with the cost. The cost should exist so that people think critically about actually going. And if people gave it critical consideration, colleges would be forced to step up their educational game and lower prices to try to entice more people to attend. Student loan companies would need to offer more favorable rates as an incentive to go through the trouble of paying for college.
This is a problem that can be solved by letting the free market run its course. It’s going to happen soon. If the government steps in before the market gets to take care of the problem, we will be left with a much longer-term problem in the form of the federal government being stuck with the bill for something that will become unsustainable and eventually go to ruin.
Not everyone should go to college. If that was preached as an okay thing – which it is – this problem would solve itself.