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How is free public college supposed to work?


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#1 JackD

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 04:26 PM

I'm having trouble understanding how its proponents intend to have free public college, community college, and/or junior college operate. I've read the Warren and Sanders websites on the topic. Not Buttigieg yet.
First of all, public colleges are operated by states and municipalities, not the federal government (except the military academies). Apparently, the idea is to provide students with money to cover their tuition (and fees, room and board, and other expenses?), or to directly fund the institutions (or supplement their funding?) that are currently funded by state and local taxation, fees, and student tuition payments.
What is supposed to control the costs such as academic salaries, maintenance, capital expenditures, and staff salaries? Are we headed toward federal control of funding and academic policies? Is this like the other efforts of the federal government to have states do jobs the federal government wants done with the certainty of arguments over adequacy of funding and violation of 10th Amendment provisions protecting state powers?
If anyone has a handle on this, I'd appreciate a lesson (without my having to pay anyone anything.)

#2 LFC

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 04:55 PM

View PostJackD, on 06 December 2019 - 04:26 PM, said:

What is supposed to control the costs such as academic salaries, maintenance, capital expenditures, and staff salaries? Are we headed toward federal control of funding and academic policies? Is this like the other efforts of the federal government to have states do jobs the federal government wants done with the certainty of arguments over adequacy of funding and violation of 10th Amendment provisions protecting state powers?
If anyone has a handle on this, I'd appreciate a lesson (without my having to pay anyone anything.)

I could see the federal money coming with strings attached. For example they could set a condition that it was only payable to a college that stayed within a tuition cap. That keeps the federal tuition support from just pushing up overall tuition. For states already providing free tuition I could see federal support going directly to their public university system.

This solution doesn't seem outside of the norm for the past attachment of strings to federal money. For example highway funds were tied to dropping the legal blood alcohol level for operating a motor vehicle to 0.08%. Ditto when they first demanded the 55mph speed limit.
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#3 AnBr

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 09:17 PM

View PostLFC, on 06 December 2019 - 04:55 PM, said:

View PostJackD, on 06 December 2019 - 04:26 PM, said:

What is supposed to control the costs such as academic salaries, maintenance, capital expenditures, and staff salaries? Are we headed toward federal control of funding and academic policies? Is this like the other efforts of the federal government to have states do jobs the federal government wants done with the certainty of arguments over adequacy of funding and violation of 10th Amendment provisions protecting state powers?
If anyone has a handle on this, I'd appreciate a lesson (without my having to pay anyone anything.)

I could see the federal money coming with strings attached. For example they could set a condition that it was only payable to a college that stayed within a tuition cap. That keeps the federal tuition support from just pushing up overall tuition. For states already providing free tuition I could see federal support going directly to their public university system.

This solution doesn't seem outside of the norm for the past attachment of strings to federal money. For example highway funds were tied to dropping the legal blood alcohol level for operating a motor vehicle to 0.08%. Ditto when they first demanded the 55mph speed limit.

There are always strings attached. I don't see this as any different than any other private vs public debate. The real question is, who would you rather be beholding to? A billionaire/faceless corporation or YOUR government? What bureaucracy would you rather have to deal with? A governmental one or a huge corporate one?
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#4 LFC

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 11:33 AM

View PostAnBr, on 06 December 2019 - 09:17 PM, said:

There are always strings attached. I don't see this as any different than any other private vs public debate. The real question is, who would you rather be beholding to? A billionaire/faceless corporation or YOUR government? What bureaucracy would you rather have to deal with? A governmental one or a huge corporate one?

Republicans will tell you that private companies are more efficient. They just won't tell you what they're efficient at. (HINT: It's not looking out for you.)
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#5 JackD

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Posted 07 December 2019 - 12:38 PM

In this case it's federal bureaucracies instead of state and local ones.
Those strings may have problems in today's Supreme Court.

#6 Practical Girl

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 03:18 PM

View PostAnBr, on 06 December 2019 - 09:17 PM, said:

There are always strings attached. I don't see this as any different than any other private vs public debate. The real question is, who would you rather be beholding to? A billionaire/faceless corporation or YOUR government? What bureaucracy would you rather have to deal with? A governmental one or a huge corporate one?

I hear you, but one of the main reasons for the huge spike in college costs has been my government. From late 80s on (at least), as soon as the Feds opened up the money, the colleges and universities took out their greed knives. First up- train every parent in America to embrace that their kid would be shit in life, without a degree. No matter how ill equipped or un focused they may be. Huge numbers of drop-outs, and at that point it mattered only a little to whom you were beholden.

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#7 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 03:40 PM

Free (or nearly so) postsecondary education is not a new thing. Arizona has it in their constitution [1], California had free attendance at the UCal and Cal State systems until Reagan got all incensed that those worthless college kids were getting a free ride. New Mexico, one of the two poorest States in the country, charges in-State students less than $4000 per semester.

Historically the land grant colleges have been very nearly free for in-State students. Only very recently have the rates been rising, and not because the faculties have been getting giant raises.


[1] Which has been reinterpreted to map "as nearly free as possible" to having in-State tuition be less than the Ivys.
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#8 JackD

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Posted 08 December 2019 - 04:10 PM

Not all Land Grant colleges have tried to be free or close to it. Northwestern, for example, and virtually all of them for out of state students. Then there is the competition to get in and limited space. The plans being discussed, as I understand it, want to make it free for anyone who wants to go. That's a whole nother thing.

#9 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 07:19 AM

"How is free public college supposed to work?"

My gut response would be "the same way that free schooling from 5 to 18 years of age is supposed to work". Unless there are reasons why schooling below 18 is an essential but over 18 isn't. Why can't parents themselves pay for the education of their own under-18 children, as is the case in so many other countries? A rhetorical question; I already know the answer.
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#10 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 07:33 AM

Exactly, Rich. Exactly.

It is essentially unknowable which children and young adults will benefit from education. If you leave it as a privilege of the aristocracy, you are guaranteed to have an ignorant populace unequipped for either modern work or self-governance [1]. Teach everyone as was expected even in Colonial times, and they will have the tools to adapt to change and build futures. The US GI Bill after WWII is too often overlooked as the foundation of US progress and prosperity, but all of those nostalgic looks back to the 50s, 60s, and 70s economies should bear in mind that around 1980 was when the WWII generation started to retire. I'm not claiming cause, but there are a lot worse explanations making the rounds.

[1] Yeah, I know: just what the aristocrats want.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#11 HockeyDon

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 01:41 PM

Eat the rich.
Well, fuck.

How can I be expected to distinguish BS from reality when so much of my reality is utter BS?!

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#12 JackD

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 03:01 PM

On the constitutional issues that may arise from the strings attached, recall the Supreme Court opinion holding the the strings inducing expansion of Medicaid coverage in Obamacare were too "coercive" and thus violated the 10th Amendment. That was a court less hostile than this one.

#13 baw1064

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 03:15 PM

I'm sure the right wing would be fine with free tuition for public universities as long as it includes vouchers for Liberty U.
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#14 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 09 December 2019 - 06:14 PM

View PostHockeyDon, on 09 December 2019 - 01:41 PM, said:

Eat the rich.

"Hey, Rich, what's eatin' you?"
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People don’t believe in ideas: they believe in people who believe in ideas. Ze’ev Mankowitz





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