Why college shouldn't be free

Dive Brief:

  • Writing for Slate, Matt Yglesias outlines his counterpoints to an argument for free public higher education, including the idea that the biggest barrier to poor students isn't tuition, it's low test scores.
  • He also contends that getting rid of tuition would be temporary; eventually students with deep pockets would chase higher education slots and the market would respond by accepting money for those places.
  • The third problem Yglesias identifies is that four-year universities are low on the list of where we should spend more education money, behind preschool and high-poverty high schools.

Dive Insight:

As usual, the truth may lie somewhere in the middle, where public four-year schools should charge less than their private counterparts, which is already generally the case. The fear may be that as tuition at many public universities rises, the gap — real or perceived — between their price tags and that of more expensive private schools could shrink. And that would be a shame.

Recommended Reading

Slate: Three Problems With Making College Free