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NY Gov's Free College Tuition Plan Would Create Another 'Safe Space' for Coddled Liberal Arts Majors


California Campuses Hold Walkouts And Rallies To Protest Education Cuts
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 The Wildfire is an opinion platform and any opinions or information put forth by contributors are exclusive to them and do not represent the views of IJR.

In the meme-glorified words of former congressman Ron Paul: It's happening.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that he is introducing a plan to provide “free” college tuition to any New York state college for families making up to $125,000 a year (by 2019).

On hand for the announcement was none other than “free education” evangelist and crazy loveable socialist from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

Senator Sanders warned that, not only was it 'happening,' but that it was going to continue to happen.

Student debt has been a rallying cry for much of the left during the campaign season. Hillary Clinton's platform promised unicorns for everyone tuition-free education at all community colleges and at state colleges for certain income levels, reduced interest rates, debt caps, and repayment deferrals, etcetera, etcetera. And, as Cuomo and Bernie show, the rallying cry hasn't been muffled by the Democrat Party's incredible election losses.

But before we further burden taxpayers for something that arguably doesn't even solve the problems it's supposed to address, we should consider what U.S. taxpayers are getting for their already considerable investment in college education.

Image Credit: Justin Tallis/Stringer/Getty Images

A brief perusal of headlines after a Google search for “university students” presents one with gems like these:

  • “U. of C. student says Trump aide's visit might make him sick” — Chicago Tribune
  • “Minority students at University Maryland issue 64 demands” — The Frederick News-Post
  • “Black students 'disgusted,' vow to keep protesting at EMU” — Detroit Free Press
  • “‘Problem of Whiteness’ course is valuable, necessary” — University of Wisconsin's The Daily Cardinal

Indeed, the last year has seen college campuses turn into a circus of protest for everything from physical “safe spaces” to hide from “triggering” on-campus events and presenters and lists of demands to cure all manner of perceived social ills.

To sum up:

Protests on campus are not a new phenomenon, but the dominating themes of those in recent memory aren't a convincing prospectus to justify wringing more out of taxpayers in the name of producing a capable and globally competitive workforce.... not to mention, responsible adults who understand that nothing is truly ever free.

As Reason.com's Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie put it:

As it happens, New York already regularly tops most rankings of combined state and local tax burdens (the Tax Foundation figures the total bite at 12.7 percent of income while Wallethub says it's 13.12 percent). So while there is apparently no ready money for this program, perhaps New Yorkers won't notice or care when their tax bills go up a bit more.

All students, regardless of who their parents are, should always have skin in the game. A college diploma raises average lifetime earnings by between $250,000 and $1 million (depending on many factors and assumptions) and it makes sense to ask the person who will cash that premium to pay for at least some part of it, doesn't it? Even a small amount will also dissuade people who are not really committed to college, which is also a good thing.

If people are still convinced that the collective “WE” must do something to help these poor, over-studied and over-burdened future taxpayers(?), they may want to consider the grateful petulant critique of Cuomo's proposal that appeared as an op-ed in The Washington Post, declaring that it doesn't go far enough:

Consider the State University of New York in Albany, where tuition is currently $6,470 per year for in-state students. SUNY Albany students from families making less than $30,000 receive more than $11,000 in grant aid, mostly from Pell and a state-specific program. As a result, tuition is already free for them and they receive no additional benefits under Cuomo’s plan, despite the fact that they still have to come up with more than $10,000 to cover non-tuition costs such as rent and food.

“WE” can surely make America great again if taxpayers just dig a little deeper... and they are going to have to if the real causes (ahem, federal aid) of increasing student debt aren't addressed. Especially, considering that some colleges have figured out that they can roll their ever-increasing “student fees” into the cost of tuition.

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