Why am I against offering tuition-free education at the post-high school level? Here are a few of my thoughts.
- If no tuition is required, the value of the education will be reduced by the general public. American society holds to the premise that "you get what you pay for." If you want quality service, there is a cost associated with it. No matter how much we want to argue otherwise, reduced or no tuition institutions will experience fiscal challenges that will ultimately be passed on to the faculty. Those professors who are most qualified will leave the junior college setting in search of positions that offer better financial packages. With the exodus of quality instructors, the level of instruction and assessment suffers. Even if some great professors stay behind for various reasons, the assumption of the public will be that a free education is markedly inferior to one that requires the payment of tuition. The varied costs of the services at different quality levels is a basic premise of the free market that we enjoy.
- The situation will result in increased government involvement in the community college, essentially making the two-year college an extension of public education. Let's face facts -- public education in the United States is horrible in those areas that have the greatest federal oversight. If the Department of Education cannot successfully educate the minds of our children and youth, why in the world would we want to see their increased presence in higher education? (The government already has enough of a presence to make the task of educating the next generation difficult.) With increased involvement, you can be certain that the government will establish guidelines and regulations that must be met in the community college. We have watched highly motivated teachers leave our elementary and secondary classrooms while many of them cite their frustration with federal programs and requirements to "teach to the test." I can see the same thing happening in the nation's two-year colleges as well.
I welcome your comments on this topic in the section below. It is important to emphasize that there are many sides to this discussion. Share your opinions with the attitude of respect for those who disagree with you or your post will be deleted from the thread. (That's one of the benefits of being the blogger and moderator of comments!)