The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

Subscribe to the blog

Discussion: (11 comments)

  1. Seattle Sam

    When the marginal cost of something is zero, the quantity demanded will be infinite.

  2. Also take a look at international experience. France provides free and pretty much unlimited access to universities for all with a high school diploma. With a few exceptions, the results are overcrowded, poorly equipped facilities providing low quality education. The poor state of most universities has led to a duel system whereby nearly all the bright students go not to the universities but to the highly competitive grandes ecoles (specialized colleges for very smart kids). Most university graduates find it very difficult to get a job.

    1. Seattle Sam

      Gee, it’s almost as if when government gets involved mediocrity ensues.

  3. The kind of increasingly incompetent financial analysis I’ve come to expect from persons on the right. The actual cost (expenditure including subsidies) of public higher education has actually increased little (in inflation-adjusted terms) over several decades. The reason tuition has gone up so much is to compensate for drastically reduced subsidy (per student, inflation adjusted) over the same time period. If reducing subsidies is the answer, as the article suggests, it has been going on for decades, and we’re reaping the benefits now. Private college costs are a somewhat different, more complicated matter.

    The answer the author suggests is MOOCs, competency based exams, and the like. Is he another slumming Ivy Leaguer recommending crumbs for the masses? No, Northwestern. I guess noblesse oblige has spread downward some. I’ll believe it when their kids start going for a MOOCs degree.

  4. Three points:
    1. Kids who can afford college probably go to four-year-college (university), rather than technical school.
    2. What if we called this not a public option, but a voucher? Take the money, and go where you want. Private schools/MOOCs/… Then?
    3. The voucher could be need-based.

  5. FranInAtlanta

    My understanding is that, in the years immediately following WW II Mississippi did this. I don’t know what became of it.
    George Wallace provided school bus service to community college or trade school in Alabama, but I don’t know what tuition was and if that program still exists.
    Georgia, for a number of years (it’s been modified now and includes SAT ) has done this – 3.0 was required for college and 2.0 for trade school and maintenance of GPA during college (not sure about trade school) was required. Many students still take advantage, some even riding public transportation to the community college near my house. My take (I live in Georgia) is that it has 1) given kids, the day they enter school, the idea that seriousness can get them to college, 2) provided a better workforce and attracted business to the state, 3) given us some serious people (retired military) who bring us some serious students in the high schools. I strongly support the program and have not seen any layabouts take advantage of it.

  6. Giving a college education to all is not the answer. Most employers want motivated workers. Students show they have that motivation to learn by going onto higher level learning that is NOT required. This is currently college, but was high school back in the day when all that was required was an 8th grade education. If college is provided for all students how will employers separate the motivated from unmotivated potential employees? Grad school? I think the better solution is to require merit based aid. Students who feel education is important get a 3.0 or higher for high school and then they get aid for college as long as they maintain grades.

  7. Jim Peterson

    College cannot be free for everyone. Someone must pay for it. It is very expensive.

    “Government” cannot pay, since government has no money, and government everywhere today is broke.

    Jim Peterson

  8. i do not understand why my daughter has to use my salary to determine if she gets help. i think help should be based solely on grades and not their parents income.

  9. You think college education should be free? Yep, so do we.
    Make a difference and sign this petition for free tuition! It only takes two seconds of your time and will make a difference for thousands.

  10. Jazmine Fowler

    Yes because we all deserve to have a free education and to further it.

Comments are closed.

Sort By:

Refine Content:


Additional Keywords:

Refine Results

or to save searches.

Refine Content