Free College. . . More Scams

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Free college education Bernie says . . . for what, Bernie?  For a larger voting base?  Yes, for sure.  However, this proposal is another political scam of America's youth . . . and here are the reasons.


Nobody can know the value of what an education would be.  That is why the marketplace should determine this value.  Moreso, the market place will always determine the value.
The problem is that students, just out of HS, have no way of knowing the value of their education four years in advance of marketplace demand.  Students are carrying 100% of the risks for their education and being the least equipped in predicting market value.
And for this problem, the colleges need to put skin in the game and share risks for the programs they offer.  Risk sharing being . . . colleges share the government-backed loan risks if the market for that degree collapses and the students can't get jobs to pay back their loans.  This would clean up the college curriculum and state-funded programs.  The value to the economy and America's youth would be tremendous.


Free education doesn't solve a thing.  It only makes these problems worse for students in that they end up with worthless degrees that the market won't support.
If people want to get a degree in underwater whistling, fine.   They can pay for these marketless "degrees" entirely from their parents . . . not through the government with government backed loans.  The reality is that 25% of these loans will never get paid back.  That means your tax dollars are making college professors and administrators rich while destroying the lives and careers of young Americans.


As I see it, government schools and government backed loan programs are the biggest scam today defaulting the economic livelihood of young Americans. Free college education would be a worse solution.  Making these institutions economically accountable would fix this problem promptly.  I'm surprised most students don't sue their colleges for providing these worthless programs and crappy education which do not market.  There is an implied agreement that nobody is enforcing.


By the way, a disastrous "free" education example already exists.  It is called High School.  Students come out of that institution clueless and without the skills needed to go directly into the workplace.  Companies now have to train these skills into fresh grads which is expensive and risky.  Why isn't a "Free" education in high schools providing practical job skills?  When education in American was viewed as a practical learning experience, this was the case.  Now, high schools are used as preparation for college programs to serve universities issuing too many worthless degrees.  Poor deal for kids who just want a better future.
Our education system in the USA has gone off the rails.  In most respects, it is now a political training enterprise.  Political training, sex, and PC education is the only real-world schooling these kids get.  I would also argue that these "progressive" government institutions are also creating generations of kids that would be economically strapped to the government for life.  Either in a loan they cannot repay or government assistance (welfare & unemployment).   A terrible situation right now . . . and more free stuff is the answer?  Ok.  Sure.  What happened to the grown-ups in American?  Oh, that's right . . . these are the same grown-ups, once kids themselves having been "educated" in that corrupted institution known as "American Education".


EXPAT Added Jul 31, 2017 - 3:30pm
Spot On William.
And if you need real life example, I am it. I worked my way thru first Community College, and then University. No loans, no scholarships, white skin and all. It was my privilege to work my ass off for what I wanted..
My plan was to be a Lawyer, so I Majored in Political Science. Well my career turned to Construction Management, and by the time I graduated, I was at such a High Level in my Profession, that I couldn't afford to take entry level government jobs. My Degree was useless!
My point is that a degree is useless in and of itself! Except in a few jobs, such as Computer Programming, where you are hired in your Senior year. Your world experience and talent, determines your employment.
EXPAT Added Jul 31, 2017 - 3:33pm
That should have been WORK experience, not world. Fat fingers.
Dino Manalis Added Jul 31, 2017 - 5:37pm
Nothing's free, taxpayers will pay for it unless the state requires graduates to work in-state for nothing for a few years.
George N Romey Added Jul 31, 2017 - 5:44pm
Sadly the high school to work programs I remember from the 70s were looked down upon so kids starting to go to college in droves often getting worthless degrees from questionable colleges. The for profit college model put that on drive on steroids.
I agree free college other than to the top students is not the answer. We need to provide alternatives to useless college degrees and get over this myth that anyone without a college degree is a moron.
The trades are one way but in no way can solve the entire dilemma. We need to start to realize that jobs such as store manager, factory supervisor, industrial sales and the like do not need a college degree. They need good old fashion on the job training in the particular sector.  Start young people on the store selling floor or on the factory floor and yet the motivated, tenacious and able ones to be promoted into management.
I've got an MBA and it took me many years to realize just how dimwitted so many managers are with pedigree educations.  
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 31, 2017 - 9:39pm
Great points William. One thing to keep in mind is the industry of education, the universities, the staff, the profs, and all of the support that they need to run a university. Yes, there are degrees that no one has any use for at all. Just because you went to college doesn't make you smart, although it can teach you things if you are willing to learn. Some of the business profs insisted that one of my undergraduate degrees was worthless, and this is from the very university where I earned it. They had no respect for the degrees that the university they taught at awarded students. They taught the biz grads that their degree was much better, and the biz majors passed the nasty attitude along in the workplace, even if they didn't learn anything about critical thinking and evaluating things, not to mention writing, speaking, and communicating complex ideas.
America needs engineers desperately, and, as many experience, companies are willing to bring in engineers from outside the U.S. who, incidentally, they pay substantially the imported talent less money. From my experience, a lot of the folks teaching these subjects really understand them, but know almost nothing about teaching the subject, but that's only my perspective. Keep in mind to become a professor only requires degrees, not experience nor knowledge of actually teaching the subject. That might be why we don't have as many as we might need. If half of a class fails an exam, did they fail to learn it, or did the instructor fail to teach it?
EXPAT Added Jul 31, 2017 - 11:45pm
Jeff Jackson.
I once had a secretary who had 3 Phd's. One in Greek Orthodox Studies, one in Greek Art, and one in Koine Greek Language. She did much of her study in Greece.
She worked for me when I had a Community College degree and I made triple her salary.
Later, as my career progressed, I had Engineers working for me. They were licensed engineers, and I had a Political Science BA. But I directed their efforts.
Don't underestimate OJT and experience.
Cullen Kehoe Added Aug 1, 2017 - 5:51am
Good idea, William. Maybe it's not THE answer but something like this makes sense. Imagine some of these pompous professors needing to adjust their lectures every year, every semester to meet the demands of local businesses, of the job market in that region of the country.
I'd have to guess that nothing of the sort ever enters their mind.
William Stockton Added Aug 1, 2017 - 9:30am
EXPAT, "Except in a few jobs, such as Computer Programming, where you are hired in your Senior year."
I agree.  Why aren't all college degrees directly applicable?  I bet even a poly-sci degree could have direct value if they would change the course material.  The problem is, there is no market force putting pressure on universities and colleges to update their courses.
William Stockton Added Aug 1, 2017 - 9:38am
George, "We need to start to realize that jobs such as store manager, factory supervisor, industrial sales and the like do not need a college degree."
I am amazed that parents, having their kid graduate from HS without any tangible job skills, don't rise up in revolt.  People are just going along.  When I graduated from HS I had welding & carpentry skills that were hireable.  This is not the case for kids today, especially for young girls.  Practically the only option for girls is college and we see this in the statistics with many more girls entering college than boys.
William Stockton Added Aug 1, 2017 - 9:44am
Jeff, "One thing to keep in mind is the industry of education, the universities, the staff, the profs, and all of the support that they need to run a university."
True.  Those are the brick & mortar costs.  Establishment costs.  Imagine if colleges dedicated more development $ in education options that don't require kids to attend a brick & mortar institution?  There are a few of these options (online degrees) but not enough.  If kids had that choice, the costs for a degree would be 1/4 of today's cost.
If universities were challenged by market forces, you would see these low cost, high-value degrees more common than brick & mortar courses.
William Stockton Added Aug 1, 2017 - 9:45am
Patrick,  "I'd have to guess that nothing of the sort ever enters their mind."
I completely agree.
EXPAT Added Aug 1, 2017 - 9:47am
William. Bad parents from the Peace generation, are the reason schools are not functioning. Social Issues are more important than job skills and Life understanding.
They look at Spring Break video's and see their little Angel acting like a whore, and think: There's a lot of stress in school today.
William Stockton Added Aug 1, 2017 - 9:49am
As well Patrick, I am also amazed that there are so many people seeing a problem in education and then claiming more free education is the solution.  Universities and colleges are not even being challenged!  What?  Why?  It seems so obvious that universities and colleges ARE a big part of the problem.
William Stockton Added Aug 1, 2017 - 10:05am
EXPAT, "Social Issues are more important than job skills and Life understanding."
Great assessment there!
Bill Kamps Added Aug 1, 2017 - 12:50pm
Student Loans have created enough problems, making the education free to students, would only make matters much worse.
Student Loans greatly distort the market, and exaggerate the risks that the students are undertaking.  As anyone in business knows, when you borrow money to create new capability, you are taking more risks than if you just pay for this new capability from your pocket.  The risk is that whether you are successful or not, you still have to pay back the loan with interest.  So if your new capability, in this case the student education, does not get you a high paying job, then you dont have the job, but still have the debt.  Even if you get a decent job, you have to pay back debt which could be the equivalent of 1-2 years of your salary. 
In the past only doctors borrowed money for their education, because these folks generally made enough to pay back their  loans, without much strain.  Now people studying English Lit take out loans, and then cant even find a job.
Student loans have made it possible for many  more to go to university, and therefore this increased demand, has made the cost of the university go up many  times faster than inflation.  In fact it goes up faster than health care costs.  Making the cost free to students, would only increase demand even more, making the cost to fund this free education ever more expensive.  The government's costs would sky rocket, because there would be no market forces to contain the costs.  Of course the government's answer would be to create some agency  to oversea the  costs, but they would  rise just the same.
If we want to contain costs, the university should work with the private sector, to make sure there are jobs waiting for their students when they graduate.  Salaries could be known, and the number of existing jobs could be matched approximately  to the number of slots at the university.  Right now the university will educate any number of English Lit students, without regard for whether there are any jobs or not.  Students are forced to do this job research on their own, when they are ill equipped for this analysis.
Yes, putting some of the responsibility for matching the education to the job market belongs to the university.  They are best able to match the needs to the market, rather than offering random educations based on what 18 year old think they want.
George N Romey Added Aug 1, 2017 - 1:25pm
The problem is that those in power in higher education see no reason for change.  Tenured professor and administrators are doing very well.  To cut costs colleges have moved to TAs, many which are on public assistance because their jobs pay so low.
Educators feel they should not be in the job placement business. However unlike pre WW2 people go to college today to secure better jobs.
Bill Kamps Added Aug 1, 2017 - 1:49pm
Higher education wont create the change, agreed.  The change will come if parents start demanding accountability, instead of just encouraging their kids to take on loans.  Unfortunately the families least able to asses the risk of the loan, are those that need it the most.  The people that understand the financial risks are probably more wealthy, and avoid the loans in the first place.  Consumer groups may  need to help out and step in.
George N Romey Added Aug 1, 2017 - 2:45pm
I think the biggest step needed is to stop having the Federal government guarantee the loans.  No guarantees and lenders won't be so willing to finance a useless degree or a degree from some diploma mill for profit college.
john guzlowski Added Aug 1, 2017 - 3:17pm
I think that one of the things that's missing in this discussion is the fact that for most people a college education is a waste of time.
Somehow we got convinced that you have to go to college to do anything.
That's BS.
Most of the successful people I know (self-made businessmen) started out learning a trade.  College doesn't teach a trade.
Take a look at Germany.  About 10% of students go on to college.  The rest learn some kind of trade and pursue that.
wsucram15 Added Aug 1, 2017 - 4:08pm
William, I can agree to a point.
There are programs that can be taught in less affluent neighborhoods (based on income) that should be available to people for career opportunities.
Now High schools do have programs like this (at least here) and the waiting list is 2 years.  This could alleviate that problem or we could just build more schools for the trade programs that young adults can be put into jobs.  The success rates on these types of programs varies but averages at 72%, depending on which program you choose.  The Hvac program for example is at this point almost 98% placement.  The Nursing program is similar but next step in training VERY difficult to get into due to limited space and too many applicants.  In that case, the additional training should be free, and more open programs should be available.
We as a nation are behind most on education, Im not sure you are aware of this.  I dont think free education ( government provided) is the answer as the US would provide it.  But if we brought in some countries successful with these programs that do this cost effectively and also have successful work programs along with job placement and low unemployment.  This would be a start.
Like Germany, France (unemployment rate higher but dropping), Sweden, Finland and there are a bunch more like Mexico but some just have to high unemployment or the cost of living is ridiculous.  But if you are only paying to live and not college tuition, why not?
For those of you that think US education is better than "free" education, I beg to differ. I  have loans for 37K and spent most of my time with computerized classrooms. Yeah.   Tests online, some timed quizes..papers online, graded by a team of staff.
It isnt until you get into much HIGHER education or private very expensive colleges that you get smaller classrooms and Professors.
In community colleges they are moving away from hiring the specialized people teaching the classes and more computerized classrooms, the same with State 4 year institutions.  Now this comes from the head of IT at the college I attend.
I actually liked the online classes as long as a Professor was still connected with the class, that was my vote.  Saves classroom space and can be done in your pjs if you want, at your own pace, except for the group project or tests.  The only thing I didnt like was that you have the ability to take the tests open book.  They do make it very difficult though when they put a time limit on the tests, you dont have time to look up an answer if you dont know. 
So to some degree and in some instances, the way college is headed, I think free college in trade industry or for what America needs to become competitive again, would not hurt.
George N Romey Added Aug 1, 2017 - 4:23pm
Jeanne I agree that for some courses and for adult ed online is the way to go.  But I worry.  Our young people are not getting life skills. As kids they no longer go out and play and make up games and rules. They sit in front of a computer screen.  They remain that way through high school.  At some point young people need to be taught how to interact, debate, discuss, and relate.  At least from my experience the under 30 year old crowd is very lacking in those attributes. 
john guzlowski Added Aug 1, 2017 - 4:57pm
A part of the problem with students not learning much here as compared to the kids in other countries is that parents (white, black, brown or whatever) don't take education seriously.
Most parents feel it's more important to know who is a quarterback for a national team than who is Walt Whitman or Einstein or Picasso.
wsucram15 Added Aug 1, 2017 - 6:26pm know i agree with you.. however, this is a post about free education.
So I ask you, do you want to be competitive in the worlds workforce or play outside?
The new classes insist on groups of discussion, debate and projects.
Its a pain in the ass, but you are graded on your cooperation, in some classes it is your final.
George N Romey Added Aug 1, 2017 - 6:42pm
Jeanne the games you played as a kid required you to make up the rules, chose a leader, decide what something was worth, etc.  It becomes training for one day in real life.  When kids sit at a computer and have the games mapped out for them that learning process gets retarded.
I'm working on another article to be published after 48 hours. Ultimately I think people will go back to personal interaction once the novelty of technology finally wears off.  You see it with Generation Z.
As a species of mammals were are inclined to socialize with others. People are missing out on the shared journey of life and community when they become fixated on a virtual world.  They also become very lonely and detached. Through my unemployment it happened to me and while it was a factor of lack of funds to do much the toll of having only casual online friends has taken a devastating and lasting toll on me.   I look back 20 years ago when I had a vast reservoir of friends and interests before the Internet, email and an Iphone came into my life.  Yes those have made life easier but I've lost something in between.
Mike Haluska Added Aug 2, 2017 - 10:15am
It still amazes me that we have to explain to so-called "grown adults" that NOTHING IS FREE! 
john guzlowski Added Aug 2, 2017 - 10:38am
In 1966, I attended the University of Illinois.  Tuition was about 275 bucks a year.
This year?
$16,000.  That's just tuition.  Dorm room and board is another 11,000.
George N Romey Added Aug 2, 2017 - 12:58pm
John that is the big differences.  We see in China parents are requiring their children to get a good education so their children will have a much better life. The way in which the Bob Hope generation encouraged Baby Boomers. The difference is that China is trying to build their country and economy albeit with lots of issues to contend with.  The US seems stuck in a low value, low income kind of economy with very little desire to change.
john guzlowski Added Aug 2, 2017 - 1:33pm
George, I feel that way.  America seems to want to return to the steam driven, coal powered world of the 19th century when most Americans worked on farms or on factory,  
George N Romey Added Aug 2, 2017 - 1:39pm
John it just amaze me of how we have talked ourselves into the most stupid situation.  We can't afford infrastructure programs or guaranteed employment because were broke.  We not broke enough to spend trillions on dysfunctional mega banks or trillions to drop bombs on the Middle East.  Instead of investing in the quality of education we've invested in college sports stadiums, student union centers, etc.
We somehow want to think that even with automation we can look at the world of work with 1933 eyes.  We talk about constant education and training for the 21st century but no one wants to provide it.
In short, we tell ourselves a lot of dumb things.
Mike Haluska Added Aug 2, 2017 - 4:24pm
John G -
Wasn't there a gentle Teddy Bear of a football player at the University of Illinois when you were there that went on and had a notable career in the NFL?
john guzlowski Added Aug 2, 2017 - 5:07pm
Mike Haluska, I don't know shit from shinola when it comes to football or baseball or basketball or hockey etc.  
 I lived a couple miles from Wrigley Field and never saw a ball game.
Cuckoo o'clock Added Aug 2, 2017 - 9:01pm
I think you're wrong - a good education is good, doesn't really matter if the degree is meaningless or dumb. If someone wants to major in poetry, that's fine, they just need to take a few classes in something to develop a skill. You learn and develop a skill, that is what everyone should do. 
Mike Haluska Added Aug 3, 2017 - 10:31am
John Guz-
Too bad - you missed watching Dick Butkus wreak havoc on Illinois opponents!
Mike Haluska Added Aug 3, 2017 - 10:36am
Cuckoo - your statement:
" If someone wants to major in poetry, that's fine, they just need to take a few classes in something to develop a skill."
ignores a big problem.  That "14th Century French Poetry" student borrowed $100,000 from all of us and 99.8% of them will never be able to repay what they borrowed.  There is over $1.4 TRILLION in Student Loan Debt held by the Federal Government the vast majority of which will never be repaid. 

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