Free public four year college means taxpayers will end up footing the bill


Yes, college costs are out of control and something needs to be done, but someone will have to pay.

Even though a poll finds 60 percent of Americans favor free public four-year college, free isn’t necessarily a good idea.

STA Wealth Management President Michael Smith said the biggest problem is that somebody will have to pay for it later on.

"Anytime anyone says something's free. See, I was brought up with nothing is for free. So, when I see this is for free, free at who's expense and what expense--at the taxpayer," said Smith.

He said the biggest problem is availability of credit.

"It's not just for college, it's for all the accessories. They've made it so easy. So, then institutions then drive up the cost of their price. If they will allow competition, that will drive down costs," said Smith.

He said in the future, with all the debt that's been accumulated, there will be higher taxes.

Andy Hogue with Travis County Republican Party said, “the survey mainly asked minorities and teachers their opinion. But even then, Hogue said, it really depends on how the question is worded. If you ask 3,000 people ‘Do you support making all public colleges free to attend’ then of course 60 percent will answer yes! On the other hand, if you ask should we raise taxes to pay for it, or should we make nearly 20 years of school the norm for the average American, then those same people may give a resounding NO.”

He said 20 states already have some form of tuition-free alternative.

“Almost every state has affordable alternatives, such as community college, dual credit high school, or state-supported trade schools. More college graduates means a lower return on a degree. In other words, the degree will not be as valuable -- with many having to pursue their master's, their doctorate, and even post-doctoral certificates just to compete in the job market as the bachelor's becomes the new diploma. Opening the doors to free tuition will not equal better jobs for graduates. Nearly half of community college graduates drop out -- and this is where the tuition is the most affordable and it's easier to receive a grant or scholarship to cover the entire cost. If we enact free tuition in Texas expect to see our college dropout rates skyrocket,” said Hogue.

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