There’s Much More To “Free Tuition” Than Obama Wants You To Know About (Guest Post)

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Cash for College

Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama has been on an education kick of late. On January 20, 2015, he proposed in his State of the Union speech “free tuition” to Community Colleges for anyone.

To make sure that community college is accessible for everybody, put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it.

Obama announced a series of tax proposals that would raise taxes on financial institutions and wealthy individuals, and simplify education tax credits to pay for his plan for free community college education.

Wow! Sounds great.

So great that a closer examination is in order. Let’s begin with the phrase “… everybody who’s willing to work for it.”

If we use dropouts to represent those NOT willing to work, we find that about 1 in 4 high school students does not graduate from high school with his or her class. Nearly 4 in 10 minority students do not graduate with their class. The total number of high-school dropouts annually is presently about 3,030,000, or about 8,300 per day.

But, hey, most community colleges don’t require high school graduation, so everything’s cool. Those not willing to work can still feed at the free public money trough.

The national graduation rate for Community Colleges is nothing to brag about. Only 21 percent of students graduate with a two-year degree three years after beginning to attend community college. Yes, that’s correct – three years, two year degree, 21 percent graduation rate.

Obama’s plan includes ensuring that community college credits are transferable to four-year schools. But, so what? Only 16.2 percent of community college students with an associate degree went on complete a four-year degree. And only 9.8 percent of students who left a community college without an associate degree went on to graduate from a four-year college.

Holders of a Community College Associate Degree earn 94 percent of the median weekly wage of all workers. True, they earn more than those with no degree of any kind, but an associate degree holder isn’t going to be rolling in money.

What does all of this sum to? Not much “bang for the buck.” Taking Obama’s numbers, we can expect about 1.9 million community college graduates each year (21% of 9 million). At a cost of $7.2 billion each year (21% of $34.2 billion).

But let’s examine yearly cost from another angle: we get NOTHING from the 7.1 million students (79% of 9 million) who receive “free” tuition amounting to $27.02 billion each year (79% of $34.2 billion) who don’t complete an associate degree.

Obama is the master of “sound bite” politics. Those who oppose Obama’s latest community college proposal will be chastised in the MSM as “against education.” The MSM will ignore all this provided information (that they could find) that demonstrates that Obama’s latest “free tuition” scheme does not support education at all.

But wait! Obama, in his mind, IS addressing the dropout problem. He proposed, at Northwestern University on October 2, 2014, “high-quality preschool”:

If we make high-quality preschool available to every child, … we’ll give them the start that they need to succeed in school; and earn higher wages, ….

To “pay” for the program, Obama proposes the consolidate of several tax incentives so as to increase the maximum Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to $3,000 for each child younger than 5, for families who make up to $120,000. So families with preschool children would get more money that they could spend on preschool. Currently, the tax credit averages $550.

All we have to do is wait for these preschoolers reach high school to see if the drop out rate has fallen. After being in “high-quality preschool,” who would want to drop out?

Cross-posted at The Pot Stirrer

4 Responses to “There’s Much More To “Free Tuition” Than Obama Wants You To Know About (Guest Post)”

  1. 1


    The numbers I have seen is that this “free” community college would cost the Feds about 60 billion dollars with the states having to pick up about another 20 billion….All those billions will come from those of us who actually work for a living….
    Maybe it’s just just me but I struggle to define something as “free” when it is going to cost billions…

  2. 2


    Obama plans to pay for this ”Free Tuition,” by taxing the special saving funds, called 529 plans, that middle-class people can use to gather money to pay for their children (or themselves) to go to college:

    Under current law, 529 plans work like Roth IRAs: you put money in, and the money grows tax-free for college. Distributions are tax-free provided they are to pay for college.

    Under the Obama plan, earnings growth in a 529 plan would no longer be tax-free. Earnings would face taxation upon withdrawal, even if the withdrawal is to pay for college.

    Recall how Obama ”front-loaded,”the 529 plans he set up for his own children: he put hundreds of thousands into them already.
    Nowadays you can only put in a top amount of $14,000/year or else pay a hefty gift tax penalty.
    Perhaps he’s been adding to this since 2008.
    Obama put almost $1/4 million in for his children in 2008, before this penalty HE put in place prevented that for other parents.
    I guess community college will be THE college middle class students will attend….it will be all they can afford now that Obama has their parents paying for other kids’ schooling, so they can all compete with one another in the job market later.

  3. 3


    Obama just backtracked away from taxing 529 plans that would hurt the middle class to pay for stupid people to go to community college for free.
    How he intends to pay for this now is a mystery.
    His ”promise” is still out there.
    Expiration date just a few days after promise made.

  4. 4


    I have an Associates in Applied Science (Computer Science) and I earn 300% of the Median American income. Now I didn’t start out with that. I started out with about 120% of the Median American income back then. I earned that AAS while I was driving a delivery truck and helping to support my family.

    So if you want to go to community college, and you’re willing to work for it, go for it. Earn the money and pay for it yourself.

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