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