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(7,629 posts)
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 04:17 PM Jun 2016

On opening college education for all who can benefit

I don't understand why Secretary Clinton's campaign is being so obtuse about Senator Sander's proposal to offer (as I understand it) free college tuition to all those who can pass the various entrance requirements.

First of all--it's an entirely realistic goal. Several western European nations (I'm most familiar with Germany) enable their citizens, and even foreign visitors, tuition free college education, as long as students pass the exams and do the work required. This isn't some impossible, unattainable dream. It's something other nations have done, and like the idea of universal health insurance, it's something that our nation would do well to try to emulate.

Secondly--the argument that "I don't want the taxpayers to foot the bill for Donald Trump's kids" is beside the point. That's like saying you want to means test Social Security, since, after all, Donald Trump probably qualifies for benefits. The whole idea of an entitlement (and I hate that phraseology, but it's what we're stuck with for the present) is that EVERYONE has a chance to reap the benefits. This enormously simplifies the system. To qualify for Social Security pension benefits once one reaches the appropriate age, all one needs is a Social Security card and evidence that you've paid into the system for the required number of quarters. To add some sort of income eligibility limit vastly increases the paperwork--and thus the frustration--of people trying to apply. Frustration with any government program almost inevitably leads to lower public support for said program. Not to mention--the more people qualify, the wider the base of political support.

Thirdly--a university system open to the middle and working classes has historically been an incubator for liberal and progressive change. Let's take a quick look at the history. The GI Bill of Rights, passed in 1944 under FDR, vastly increased not only those able to go to college (basically anyone who had been in the service, more than twelve million people) but it also vastly increased funds available to public colleges and universities. It's basically what created the public college system as we've known it since the 1950s. It was out of that system that tens if not hundreds of thousands of middle and working class students became politically educated--resulting in groups like SNCC, the SDS, and myriad others at the forefront of the civil rights, antiwar movements. Labor history, feminism, and LGBT rights groups also benefited.

All this was not lost on the right. Ronald Reagan ran for governor of California largely on a platform of hostility to the University of California. Among his first actions as governor was to begin to do all her could to dismantle that system. His election to president coincided with the pullback from the commitment to an affordable college education to all who could benefit. More than that--by allowing tuition costs and fees to skyrocket--thereby either putting college out of reach, or requiring students to assume crushing debt--meant both a less educated electorate (which has generally hurt Democrats and progressives) and young people less able to engage in social activism. This means political activism has become, more and more, the province of the well to do, or at any rate more difficult for people to try. It's tough to do volunteer work for the environment, reproductive rights, anti-domestic violence work, or whatever your focus might be--if you have to slave away to pay off some humungous debt, as soon as you leave college.

For all these reasons, Senator Sanders' proposal makes sense, not only to younger people in or entering college, but to liberals, progressives, and the Democratic Party as an institution. Like labor unions, college students used to be among our most stalwart activists and supporters. That both of these have been under unremitting attack from the right is no coincidence, nor is it any accident.

There's nothing wrong with having a goal beyond our reach at the moment. Like a moon landing, a polio vaccine, or health insurance for all, there are certain aspirational goals that have a huge range of side benefits, even before the prize is eventually attained.

I try not to be cynical, and I don't buy the notion that everything the Clintons do is to benefit the one percent. But the tone-deafness of how the Clinton campaign has treated this issue really has me stumped. I'm hoping, therefore, that someone in the campaign might read this, and that it might make some sort of political, social, and ethical sense.

BTW, and for what it's worth, I voted for Bernie in my primary, but will absolutely support Hillary in the general if she turns out to be the nominee. All the more reason for me to want to see the campaign change its tone and direction on this issue.

Thank you all for your patience. I have to get going for a while, but will be back to engage with folks who might have various response to this OP.

Best wishes to all.

On opening college education for all who can benefit (Original Post) thucythucy Jun 2016 OP
here are a few problems with it geek tragedy Jun 2016 #1
Thank you for such a thoughtful reply. thucythucy Jun 2016 #5
Nice discussion, you two. Good point on both sides, nt Jitter65 Jun 2016 #17
It's my understanding that a much smaller percentage makes it to college in Europe? bettyellen Jun 2016 #20
My thought on fixing primary education thucythucy Jun 2016 #30
Thanks Thucy! I agree there has to be a better way to fund schools. I know it went to the courts in bettyellen Jun 2016 #42
Here are some other issues that you haven't mentioned. politicaljunkie41910 Jun 2016 #48
Interesting and informative post. thucythucy Jun 2016 #49
Thanks for your civil response. It's really in short supply here at DU these days. politicaljunkie41910 Jun 2016 #54
This message was self-deleted by its author PufPuf23 Jun 2016 #46
People in this country for the most part have not clue SheilaT Jun 2016 #2
It is not a realistic goal Demsrule86 Jun 2016 #3
I'm not familiar with the program in Georgia-- thucythucy Jun 2016 #7
The Hope Scholarship is still working well in GA. aikoaiko Jun 2016 #14
"lottery revenue" ProgressiveEconomist Jun 2016 #18
The GA lottery also augments prek-12 education. aikoaiko Jun 2016 #19
It does not work well Demsrule86 Jun 2016 #21
I've lived in GA since 1999 and while HOPE is not perfect it helps aikoaiko Jun 2016 #23
"State has reduced funding ProgressiveEconomist Jun 2016 #24
The biggest cuts to state funding were during recent recession aikoaiko Jun 2016 #25
There is no Hope any more Demsrule86 Jun 2016 #29
Instate Tuition and fees at OH and UGA are the same. aikoaiko Jun 2016 #35
It is a bad thing when it drives tuition up Demsrule86 Jun 2016 #37
My niece was forced to drop out of college Demsrule86 Jun 2016 #27
Sorry about your niece aikoaiko Jun 2016 #34
The standard are so high now for the Zell scholarship which is what is used mostly for UGA Demsrule86 Jun 2016 #36
ok hill2016 Jun 2016 #4
Your questions would need to be answered for any proposal to work. thucythucy Jun 2016 #9
I believe federalization of state schools would be near impossible. eom yawnmaster Jun 2016 #6
You're probably right. thucythucy Jun 2016 #12
Why would they have to be federalized? They are already jwirr Jun 2016 #16
Feasible and much better ProgressiveEconomist Jun 2016 #8
I like this proposal as well thucythucy Jun 2016 #10
It would stop her friends the banksters from bloodsucking students. Waiting For Everyman Jun 2016 #11
Not the most helpful of replies. Nt. thucythucy Jun 2016 #13
You're right, I edited Waiting For Everyman Jun 2016 #15
Thanks. I'll get to it later today. Nt. thucythucy Jun 2016 #31
I would also like to point out that since Demsrule86 Jun 2016 #22
Still don't understand how? MichMan Jun 2016 #26
Can you post a link explaining the rise in tuition since, say, the 1980s? thucythucy Jun 2016 #32
Loans enable the increases MichMan Jun 2016 #38
The really big factor in public college tuition increases QC Jun 2016 #43
Excellent point thucythucy Jun 2016 #50
Very good couple of points I had not considered. Thank you. Nt seabeyond Jun 2016 #44
It's not only an expense, it is an investment in the future Hav Jun 2016 #28
Thanks for your perspective. thucythucy Jun 2016 #33
Used to be for the free college stuff until I looked deeper forjusticethunders Jun 2016 #39
MASSIVE transfer of wealth from the poor to the middle and upper class seabeyond Jun 2016 #45
ThucyThucy, a very informative thread. Thank you. The replies that supply information is the DU seabeyond Jun 2016 #40
Hi Seabeyond! thucythucy Jun 2016 #52
Why not just increase Pell grants? Orangepeel Jun 2016 #41
Increasing Pell grants should definitely be a part of the mix thucythucy Jun 2016 #55
Then who will join the military... actslikeacarrot Jun 2016 #47
Hillary Clinton is the worst candidate we've ever run as Democrats. Aerows Jun 2016 #51
Sanders offers nothing on actually controlling the runaway cost beachbumbob Jun 2016 #53

geek tragedy

(68,868 posts)
1. here are a few problems with it
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 04:29 PM
Jun 2016

1) federalism issues. lots of states opted out of the Medicaid expansion, which provided a lot higher percentage of federal money with a lot fewer strings attached. How many states are going to jack up taxes and surrender control to the federal government over their budgeting decisions in order to participate?

2) This will cost a lot of money--a lot--and it's not been established that Sanders has made all the numbers add up. His proposed tax on financial transactions is several times higher than what is recommended for such taxes before they start to seriously throw the entire financial system out of whack. And, getting it through Congress would be difficult even with Democrats in charge. Also, what's to control tuition costs on the other end?

3) There will be increased competition for seats at schools offering free tuition. Not everyone will get in to one of those schools, since there are limited seats. That will create a system of winners and losers, with nothing being done to ease the burden on the losers. And who would win and who would lose under this system? Upper middle class families who could hire tutors and coaches for standardized tests and whose kids attend good school districts in affluent neighborhoods. Who would lose? Everyone else.


(7,629 posts)
5. Thank you for such a thoughtful reply.
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 06:38 PM
Jun 2016

Let me try to begin to answer (or not!) some of your concerns.

1) I hadn't thought about federalism as an issue. The situation here is certainly different, I would think, from a nation such as Sweden or Germany in that federalism isn't as big a reality (though Germany is certainly divided into something resembling our states). At any rate, any proposal to do what I'm suggesting would have to take this into account.

2) Yes, it will cost money, though I would guess not as much as some of our high end weapons systems. It's always a question of priorities. We currently spend more per capita on those incarcerated in our prisons than we do on those in our public schools. We've CHOSEN to do so by implementing a draconian criminal justice system that's long on spite and vitriol and short on answers that actually work to rehabilitate prisoners. Similarly--and I care about this issue because I'm involved in the disability rights movement--we spend far more money per capita putting people into nursing homes and "rehabilitation" facilities--and I'm talking billions here--than we do on programs that work to keep people in their own homes in the community. I agree with the poster in another thread talking about this issue who said the money is there--we are after all a relatively rich society--it's a question of what we want to spend it on. For instance, we spend billions of collegiate sports--on ridiculously expensive college stadiums, on exorbitant coaches' salaries, etc. To my knowledge this sort of spending, and the link between college and sports, is almost uniquely American.

Getting it through Congress--developing the political will--of course these will be difficult. Pretty much anything we try to do these days to improve our society in general ranges from being difficult to being well nigh impossible. It doesn't mean we shouldn't at least begin seriously thinking through a) what are the problems and b) what would be the best solutions. Then comes c) how to do it politically. Up until 1964 passage of a meaningful civil rights act was considered politically impossible. And yet it happened, and during a presidential election year to boot. One thing is certain--if we try nothing, we'll achieve nothing.

3) The gist of your comment is repeated in some of the posts down thread--that "not everyone will get into those schools." I have mixed feelings about this. In Germany, as I mentioned, tuition is free as long as you pass the exams and do the work. I remember having conversations with some of my German friends trying to explain what a "gaff" course is--you know, an easy course people take just for the sake of getting a grade on their transcript. There's also the question of "legacies"--getting into college simply because your parents went, etc. One thing that definitely struck me is that Europeans seem to take college, and scholastics in general, more seriously than Americans. Anyway, your point raises an interesting philosophical question--should EVERYONE go to college, even if they want to? What about folks who simply can't or won't do the work? And how does one make such distinctions?

As for creating a system of "winners and losers" we already have such a system, in which very many people are the losers. Those who rack up mountains of debt before they even begin their working lives, those who don't even consider college because of the costs. I think upper middle class families will always have an advantage--money is power after all--the question is how do we structure a system to maximize the ability of those without money to have a more decent life. The current system fails, I think, on pretty much every level.

Anyway, thanks for your reply, I appreciate you taking my OP seriously.



(47,209 posts)
20. It's my understanding that a much smaller percentage makes it to college in Europe?
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 08:34 PM
Jun 2016

The other thing is public schools 1-12 desperately need a fix, many kids graduate barely knowing how to read or write. They get passed through somehow anyway. It's critical we fix that first or this program will just help kids who already have a leg up.


(7,629 posts)
30. My thought on fixing primary education
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 08:41 AM
Jun 2016

is even more "pie in the sky" than the idea of free college tuition for all who qualify. But here it is:

I think the major problem with education in the US K-12 is how it's funded. Where I live, and I suspect in most other jurisdictions, schools are run at and funded by the local school district, through the levy of property taxes. Yes, there's federal and state money, but this comes almost as an afterthought, a (not very successful) attempt to correct for the inevitable disparities that come through such local funding. What this means is that schools in economically stressed areas in almost all cases get less funding than schools in more affluent areas. In other words, those that have, get more, those that don't (and who, you would think, might need MORE than the average per capita expenditure for students dealing with multiple issues complicating their ability to get an education) get less.

In Europe schools are funded via an income tax, either national or regional, and the money is more or less allocated equally per capita. This means that, in Finland, let's say, even students coming from the most depressed areas have a shot at a quality education, with the result that Finland, last I read, is the leading country on earth in terms of social mobility. In the US, the number one predictor of a child's eventual economic and social success is the economic and social success of her parents. In Finland--not so much.

Given how zealously this country defends "local control" of its schools, I doubt we'll see this change any time soon. It would be nice, though, if we could at least acknowledge this as a factor when discussing all the various schemes for education reform.

I'm growing more and more to like the President's community college initiative, which is supported by Secretary Clinton. But I wish we could address what is a huge and important and seemingly intractable problem in more sweeping and in my humble opinion what would be more effective ways.

Thanks for your input. I always look forward bettyellen to seeing your posts, even if I don't always agree.



(47,209 posts)
42. Thanks Thucy! I agree there has to be a better way to fund schools. I know it went to the courts in
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 11:48 AM
Jun 2016

NY a few years back and won, but on appeals a judge overturned it saying that basically some kids were going to "flip burgers" anyway so we didn't owe them much. Sad, in some areas it takes more money than others and so many problems - over crowding and lack of supplies, etc are never addressed. Inner city schools can be a nightmare, and it seems like the states themselves don't want to fix them. There has to be a way.


(3,335 posts)
48. Here are some other issues that you haven't mentioned.
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 04:43 PM
Jun 2016

Just to give you a few that I included in another post a few months ago.

Bernie's projected costs were based on current funding levels based on current enrollment levels and states being 100% responsible for the facilities themselves and the costs of maintenance and construction with the federal government picking up a percentage of the costs for administration costs. (This may not be exact but it's roughly what I recall. I don't have time to go look it up currently, but I did before.) The problem with this is that I believe that college enrollment would double at least if not triple the current levels if college was suddenly free in all states. The reason being is that currently only those who can afford to go to college, usually go. (That includes those receiving financial assistance). But if college tuition was suddenly free for everyone, there would be many more people who would want to go. What about those middle-aged folks who have lost their jobs or are in dead end jobs and would like to go to college now that it's free. What about those who never went to college because they couldn't afford to go and took a dead end job like working in retail, or some other low wage, mundane employment opportunity. That bunch might also now want to go to college for the first time, since it's now FREE. What about older workers whose jobs have been outsourced, or mothers who married young and never had a chance to go to college, and now want to go. What about those middle aged people who have current jobs but no college education and see the handwriting on the wall as their jobs are outsourced or risk being automated and decided that since college is now free, this is the time to try a new career. What about the young girl who decides to go college because her boyfriend is going to college.

My point is that everything I've seen related to Bernie's plans is about young people who are high school age but doesn't take into consideration that new pool of college applicants who are not being considered in the equation, and who would be if college was suddenly free for all, and you couldn't discriminate and make college free for some but not for all. After all those displaced workers or the suddenly unemployed were once taxpayers and it wouldn't be fair to charge some people tuition and not others. Also, there would still be costs beyond tuition costs which have not been considered. Tuition makes up only half the costs of college if you're not living at home with your parents which the majority or college students aren't. As a matter of fact, current financial aid packages rewards those who don't live at home with their parents or who don't stay local, which encourages them to incur more cost.

The American people won't tolerate a federal free college program that works for some and not for all. That's called discrimination and we've been down that road before. The program Bernie's proposed must be available to all students and it's going to cost a lot more than what Bernie has calculated in his plan. Therefore, taxes will have to be raised beyond what Bernie has included in his plans which means his current plan is not workable.


(7,629 posts)
49. Interesting and informative post.
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:14 PM
Jun 2016

Lots here for me to digest.

"The American people won't tolerate a federal free college program that works for some and not for all." Not only would that be discrimination, but it would be a far less effective social program. It would be a social good for people other than your stereotypical college aged person to be able to go back to school.

I have an uncle in Germany who, after getting his first doctorate, went back when he was in his 40s to get a second.

I don't know if college enrollment would double or triple, but there certainly would be a substantial increase in numbers, something that any program would have to factor in.

Thanks for taking the time to respond in such a thoughtful manner. As I said, lots to think about.


(3,335 posts)
54. Thanks for your civil response. It's really in short supply here at DU these days.
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 10:39 PM
Jun 2016

I saw your other responses as well, and they all demonstrate that you are a great example of what a discussion can be when people attack the issues and not the person. I also wish there was no cursing permitted. Cursing never elevated a discussion to a higher level or brought someone around to another's point of view. It just makes the other person stop listening sooner. At this point we could all use a little less shouting at one another, and a little more listening. I admit that I've allowed myself to get caught up in the moment as well when I've felt like I was personally being attacked rather than my idea or my opinion. But you've renewed my faith in what this board was at one time and what it could be again. Thank you once again.

Response to geek tragedy (Reply #1)



(23,156 posts)
2. People in this country for the most part have not clue
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 04:39 PM
Jun 2016

that college is free in certain European countries. And, for the most part, war enterprises are considered far more important than things like free (or even inexpensive) college and universal health care. The degree to which many people in this country simply don't care at all about others is depressing.


(67,491 posts)
3. It is not a realistic goal
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 05:41 PM
Jun 2016

And those countries you mention early on decide who goes to college and who does not...they do not send as many to college as we do...here everyone has a shot which I think is better. And what happens is what happened in Georgia with the hope scholarship where rich folks who can afford the best schools and tutors took the places...and everyone else was out of luck. Also, Bernie raises payroll taxes to do it...so the poor who are in shitty schools have little chance but must pay for their 'betters' to go. Like most of Bernie's ideas, it is not well thought out and reeks of entitlement. We need to improve public schools for all and I like Hillary's idea about community college.


(7,629 posts)
7. I'm not familiar with the program in Georgia--
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 06:46 PM
Jun 2016

I'll have to Google "Hope Scholarships" and check it out.

It's true that there's an earlier sifting in European countries, though that process isn't by any means final, that is, I know students who were in one track and then changed later on when their motivations/goals changed.

How we fund the public schools in this country--even before college--is part of the problem. My understanding is that in most or all western European countries, Germany for example, education is funded through a national income tax, or at the least a state wide income tax, so that even schools in poorer neighborhoods get funded in a way that's roughly equal across the board. In this country the main way we finance public education is through property taxes at the district level--which means kids in rich neighborhoods go to great, well funded schools, kids in poor neighborhoods have less funding and thus their schools tend to be deficient. In Germany, even kids from piss poor families have a shot at a decent education from kindergarten on.

My point in this OP isn't so much to defend Bernie's specific proposal, but to urge the Clinton campaign to come up with some alternatives to capture the public imagination.

Anyway, I like anything that builds up our community colleges.


(33,931 posts)
14. The Hope Scholarship is still working well in GA.
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:36 PM
Jun 2016

If you graduate high school with a 3.8 GPA your public college tuition is paid for.

If you graduate high school with a 3.0 GPA, 90% of tuition is paid for.

It's funded through lottery revenue. The demand is straining the funpding model but it's still a great deal for 20 years.


(5,818 posts)
18. "lottery revenue"
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 08:18 PM
Jun 2016

Sounds EXTREMELY regressive. Who tends to spend the most on lottery tickets? And who tends to even get to the fourth year of high school, let alone graduate with an almost perfect GPA? And who can afford to live away at college, even when tuition is fully paid?

Sounds like a plan for poor families to subsidize wealthy and upper-middle class families. There are many much better priorities for lottery revenue, such as high quality universal preschool, second-chance high school for dropouts, and needs-based scholarships.


(33,931 posts)
19. The GA lottery also augments prek-12 education.
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 08:28 PM
Jun 2016

Nevertheless your criticisms are sound. It's not perfect, but it is working than most other states.

There over 30 four year public colleges in GA and almost as many tech schools. Almost every Georgia on lives within 20 minutes of a college or branch campus.

One of the best things Zell Miller ever did even if he was a conservative Democrat.


(67,491 posts)
21. It does not work well
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 10:45 PM
Jun 2016

I lived there. Mostly wealthy kids go...they can afford the best schools and tutors. While poor kids attend some of the worst schools in the country. When I lived there, the drop out rate in a middle-class area was above 50% and a kid was beaten to death at a bus stop. It does not work well at all and has caused tuition to skyrocket...so that even 10% is unaffordable.


(33,931 posts)
23. I've lived in GA since 1999 and while HOPE is not perfect it helps
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 12:30 AM
Jun 2016

HOPE is credited with increasing African American Georgia students by 25%

The state has reduced funding public colleges where in 1999 it supplied 75% of the cost of attending and now only covers 50%. That had a huge impact on raising tuition, too.

Even at GATech, tuition is about $5000 per semester before HOPE. That's very low for a decent STEM college education. Most of the other colleges are even less expensive.

Its true that GA primary and secondary public schools are not good, but they are improving.

How is someone dying at a bus-stop a fault of HOPE?


(5,818 posts)
24. "State has reduced funding
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 01:10 AM
Jun 2016

public colleges". So in addition to getting disproportionate amounts of free tuition, the wealthy and upper middle class get tax cuts?

What an ingenious way to subsidize the well-off at the expense of desperately poor lottery ticket buyers. While claiming to be helping education! Almost as ingenious as Jim Baker's voter ID.


(33,931 posts)
25. The biggest cuts to state funding were during recent recession
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 01:20 AM
Jun 2016

Tax revenues are coming back but they are not putting it back into higher education.

A comprehensive state university with which I am familar reports getting the same dollars from the state as they did in 1997 even though they have 50% more students.

It's really about legislators hating higher Ed.


(67,491 posts)
29. There is no Hope any more
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 08:39 AM
Jun 2016

You have Hope lite scholarships that cover about 55% of tuition these days and Zell scholarships basically designed for the wealthy...Bernie has not thought out the college thing...I have seen how bad it can be. We live in Northern Ohio where tuition is still fairly reasonable. I would not want anything resembling Hope in this state. Also, what about states that opt out as they did with health care...No Bernie is wrong about this.


(33,931 posts)
35. Instate Tuition and fees at OH and UGA are the same.
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:32 AM
Jun 2016

They are both about 12000.

Even if it is true that HOPE only pays 55% or 64% (according to the Atlanta mag article) how is that a bad thing and how are Ohio students served better for not having HOPE?


(67,491 posts)
37. It is a bad thing when it drives tuition up
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:48 AM
Jun 2016

and since there is not a cap on income...mostly upper-income student can take advantage of the program...it is a program for the privileged. And every year it pays less and less. I have seen it first hand and it can not be called successful.


(67,491 posts)
27. My niece was forced to drop out of college
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 08:35 AM
Jun 2016

This program requires a very high-grade average...most of these kids would get other scholarships which have dried up since this program was implemented. My niece was attempting to work her way through school...paying tuitions which have gone up substantially because of this program. She also had to deal with red-lining by the banks...this was before Obama took student loans away from the banks...she joined the Air Force in order to get an education. This program fails the middle class and poor Georgia students.

"The Wall Street Journal determined that Georgia students from zip codes with median incomes greater than $50,000 were almost three times as likely to win Zell scholarships as those from less affluent areas. The analysis also found that seven zip codes—all in metro Atlanta, all with median incomes over $100,000—produce 10 percent of Zell scholars but only 3 percent of the state’s fifteen-to-nineteen-year-olds.

The GSFC has projected that about 14 percent of HOPE-eligible students qualify for the Zell. So today they account for a relatively modest portion of the budget. But as Zell awards keep pace with tuition, and as HOPE Lite does not, top-tier students will receive more of the limited lottery pie.

Conversely, the gap between tuition and HOPE grows ever wider. According to the GSFC, HOPE now covers about 64 percent of tuition and fees at UGA. In four years, it will cover only 55 percent. For many students, that shortfall makes or breaks their chances at a four-year diploma."

- See more at: http://www.atlantamagazine.com/colleges/hope-scholarship-cons/#sthash.c0sRW7jm.dpuf


(33,931 posts)
34. Sorry about your niece
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:27 AM
Jun 2016

Some of what you say about HOPE is true but you are also attributing a lot to HOPE unfairly.

Yes, HOPE was better in the 1990s because state revenue was very high, lottery rev was very high, and GA legislatures were still reasonably committed to funding higher education. Then the tech bubble burst, then the Great Recession hit, and conservatives saw colleges as their enemies and defunded. The decline in the proportion of cost of attendance funded directly from the state caused a significant increase in tuition. That was caused by conservatives and not HOPE. Tuition was going to increase a lot even without HOPE.

Nor is the fact that affuent area kids with better schools getting HOPE and Zell the cause of HOPE.

Bottom line - take away HOPE and fewer poor and middle class kids are going to college in GA.

First take s look at the real numbers, yearly tuition and fees at UGA and Georgia Tech are 12000 and 10000 respectively. This is still really cheap even after all the increases. I'm not sure how the article finds that HOPE is only covering 64% of tuition at UGA. Some of that is attributable to the state not wanting to fund a higher proportion of cost of attendance and not wanting to increase tuition (nominally) so they add fees that aren't covered by HOPE. Again this is caused by legislators.

Many of the other comprehensive state universities' tuition and fees are still be covered well. No one has to go to UGA or Tech to get a really good education in GA.

Could HOPE be improved to help the pie more - absolutely. But it's still helping people get to college who otherwise wouldn't.


(67,491 posts)
36. The standard are so high now for the Zell scholarship which is what is used mostly for UGA
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:45 AM
Jun 2016

that few kids of modest mean can get in. The schools in Georgia even in the better areas with few exceptions are terrible. My son did another year of High school when we moved to Wisconsin in 07 (pre-Walker of course) No matter what ...this program can not be called a success... and poor kids from bad schools rarely benefit. My niece is a smart girl and survived Afghanistan thank God...she will be out soon. Hope this year covered 55 % of tuition depending on the school...less at UGA where tuition is 11,000 and the maximum hope award was under 4000. I believe the plan outlined by Sanders would drive tuition up and benefit mostly the rich in the end.





(1,772 posts)
4. ok
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 06:01 PM
Jun 2016

(1) what percentage of the population in Europe enjoys free college? I don't believe that all kids go to college in Europe. If there are any limits on free public college tuition in the US, what are they? Entirely academic based (GPA in high school)? Course of study (STEM vs gender studies)? Would the criteria be race-blind or subject to affirmative action policies?

(2) I don't think public policy should be used for political reasons ("create a generation of liberals&quot . That would be an extremely cynical reason for doing so. It has to stand on its own apolitical merits.

(3) Are you okay if these benefits accrue mainly to people who attend college, who are demographically much more likely to be white/Asian and middle/upper class? Would such a public policy further exacerbate the income gap with lower-income minorities? What are your thoughts on how effective this is as a public policy to narrow the income/wealth inequity between whites and minorities? Effectively, the lower-income minorities (if they pay taxes) who are not able to go to college would be paying for those richer/whiter kids to do so.


(7,629 posts)
9. Your questions would need to be answered for any proposal to work.
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:21 PM
Jun 2016

1) No, not all kids go to college in Europe. Not all kids go to college in the US either. But in Europe what determines whether or not a kid goes to college isn't the size of their parents' bankbook, but rather their academic achievements. BTW, in Sweden kids who qualify get college tuition paid for by the government, even if they chose to study abroad, as long as what they're studying abroad isn't offered in Sweden. Years back a Swedish kid I knew took his major in jazz guitar at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, tuition paid courtesy of the Swedish government. It didn't matter that his folks were or were not upper class--but rather that the kid had chops. I can't think of anything close to that level of accommodation in the US.

Do you think ALL kids should go to college? Even those who have no ability or intention to do the work? Isn't that a waste of everyone's time? As it is today, some rich jerk who spends his time at frat parties can coast through four years (and I've seen it happen) while a very serious student from a poorer background might not be able to attend college at all. How does this help anyone but the rich who can afford to coast?

I could see a system where maybe everyone who applies gets in for a year, at the end of which there's some sort of process to weed out folks who aren't serious--the Sarah Palins of the academic world. Granted how these distinctions are made must be up for discussion, but I don't know that every single person in the nation with a pulse should somehow be entitled to a four year degree, no matter what their merits. You disagree?

Race-blind vs. affirmative action is a good point. We have a unique, or at any rate idiosyncratic history regarding race in this country, which any system would have to take into account. We also have to consider the fact that the quality of public school education in this country varies wildly, depending on which neighborhood you live in. Public schools here are most often managed on the district level, and funded via property taxes--which means kids from poor neighborhoods usually lose out. In western Europe it's more likely the funds come from a national or state wide income tax, which means there's far more consistency in academic quality from place to place. Finland comes to mind as a good example.

2) Any public policy will have political ramifications. Conservatives have been using public policy to shift the country to the right now for decades. My example of Reagan attacking the University of California is a case in point. It frustrates me that progressives for the most part seem unwilling or unable to understand this, and to think strategically. It's not like we're arguing for our own pockets. Our policies are BETTER, and if we can use public policy to further them, what's the problem? If, for instance, allowing greater access to the vote in the form of extended voting, easier registration, ending poll taxes, accrues to our benefit, does this make pushing for voting rights some kind of cynical ploy? Or enabling women to vote--which benefits Democrats (at least it has these past decades). Is that cynical? To my mind it's both better public policy AND better politics. I don't see the two as being mutually exclusive.

3) We're talking about a specific program to deal with a specific problem--massive student debt brought on by a huge increase in tuition and fees (and the privatization of the student loan system). As it is, the system in place also works best for affluent, predominantly white students. I mean, your question presupposes a reality in which kids from minority backgrounds are already at a disadvantage. Are you okay with THAT? (That's a rhetorical question, I strongly suspect you aren't).

Anyway, thanks for your reply. You've clearly given me lots to think about here.

Best wishes.


(7,629 posts)
12. You're probably right.
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:36 PM
Jun 2016

Though we might be able to work out some sort of system where it wouldn't be required.

Thanks for your reply.


(39,215 posts)
16. Why would they have to be federalized? They are already
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:55 PM
Jun 2016

government owned by the states. Money from federal programs already flows through the states for certain mandatory programs. Why would that have to be changed?


(5,818 posts)
8. Feasible and much better
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 06:54 PM
Jun 2016

would be the Clinton-Obama ACP (America's College Promise), which I'm pretty sure Senator Sanders and company never really investigated.

See https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/09/fact-sheet-white-house-unveils-america-s-college-promise-proposal-tuitio

It would cost only about $100 billion a year for nationwide implementation. Unlike Bernie's cynical and impossible promise to his coterie of white millenials, ACP would provide paths out of poverty, be available to those who cannot afford to live away on-campus at the few public college locations in any state, and would increase the supply of college-educated labor for employers. Harvard economist Claudia Goldin has shown how ACP is the natural follow-on to the rise of universal public high school early last century.

Even many Republicans support the ACP idea. A version of it already has been implemented in very red TN, where it is very popular across the political spectrum.

But since it would provide very little " free stuff" to Bernie's power base, Bernie has little interest in this idea, far superior to the hare-brained, opportunistic pabulum Sanders is peddling.


(7,629 posts)
10. I like this proposal as well
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 07:32 PM
Jun 2016

and hope whoever gets the nomination can push it through. It's certainly a push in the right direction.

To me it seems like a middle step on the path to what I'm proposing. Free two year college (and the various other parts, Pell Grants has always been a great program) which gives poorer kids with determination a way to launch into a four year program, if they so desire, or go directly into the work force with an associates' degree. I'm hoping there will be more emphasis placed on this proposal in the weeks and months ahead.

But your comment about "free stuff" and Bernie's "coterie of white millenials" is just the sort of off putting tone I describe in my OP.

Moving forward, let's all try to assume the best about our Democratic friends. If you check my past posts, you'll see I'm just as critical of Bernie supporters who caricature Clinton supporters. In fact, I was banned from the Bernie group for making just such a critique. I still voted for him in my primary, and however this process ends I'll certainly be voting for our Democratic candidate in the general.

Best wishes.


(67,491 posts)
22. I would also like to point out that since
Fri Jun 3, 2016, 10:56 PM
Jun 2016

payroll taxes and some unknown additional taxes will be used...poor people and middle-class folks will fund this mostly. So you have the poor ...many who are minorities...attending terrible schools...who do not receive an education that would allow them to participate in this program in significant numbers... who will then be forced to pay for kids who come from families who can afford better schools, better neighborhoods, tutors etc. Perhaps, this program would be used by very wealthy kids. We should put the money in K-12 education. And I have two kids in college...I would love some relief but not at the expense of those less fortunate...this program like much of Sanders proposals reeks of entitlement. Check you privilege Bern.


(10,724 posts)
26. Still don't understand how?
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 07:25 AM
Jun 2016

I have asked multiple times and can't get anyone that supports Sanders to explain it to me.

Even within public colleges, the tuition costs can vary rather substantially. In Michigan for example, University of Michigan is $14K per year while nearby Eastern Michigan Univ. is $10K. In comparison, Washtenaw Community College (also very close geographically to the other two) is under $4K per year.

If Sander's College tuition plan will pay the tuition costs for all three, why wouldn't EMU immediately raise their tuition $4k/year to match what their neighbor, UM charges?

Why would a student ever desire to attend a Community College, if a well known 4 year school, with a great campus atmosphere,would cost the same amount to the student; zero tuition?

Finally, would there be situations where grade inflation would occur? If it was required to obtain a 2.5 GPA to keep the free tuition checks coming, would professors get a lot of pressure from both administrators and students to make sure everyone qualifies.

IMO, the availability of loans has what has caused college costs to skyrocket. People are not deterred by the costs, they just borrow more, so there is no incentive by colleges to not keep raising it. Would that situation be exacerbated if the government is footing the bill?


(7,629 posts)
32. Can you post a link explaining the rise in tuition since, say, the 1980s?
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 08:54 AM
Jun 2016

I'm not being snarky, I genuinely want to see this, and will Google it myself later today. In the meantime I thought if you had a progressive website that explained some of this, I'd find it really helpful.

I just wonder if it's really the availability of loans that's caused the problem, or other factors: administrative inflation, the expansion of campus sports (and the hefty price tag this brings with it), the rise of for-profit schemes like the University of Phoenix and Trump U., etc.

It was fairly easy for me to get a loan when I was starting out, and my parents were most definitely working class. (Father worked at a grocery store cash register, grandfather was a coal miner, etc.). And yet tuition then, especially at state universities (which is where I got my undergrad degree) was a fraction of what it is now.

I definitely can empathize with kids starting out today. College seems both way more expensive, and the debt younger people are saddled with so early on in their careers is just heart breaking. No wonder so many of them feel overwhelmed.

Best wishes.


(10,724 posts)
38. Loans enable the increases
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:59 AM
Jun 2016

I don't have a link that explains the rise in tuition; it is undeniably caused by all the factors you mentioned. The point is that the costs of attending college has far outpaced inflation. As costs increased substantially, you would expect that enrollment would drop as students would either decide it was no longer worth it or they just couldn't afford the increases.

That wasn't what happened. Enrollments did not drop; students and parents still decided that a college education was a requirement in today's economy and just kept borrowing as much as they needed to cover the costs. At that point there was little to no incentive for colleges to cut the costs as people kept enrolling & paying no matter what.

I think some students/parents knew the costs were out of line, but felt like they had no other options while others saw it as monopoly money and didn't really think that borrowing $100K for a degree in Parks & Recreation or Radio, TV & Film wasn't a good idea.

FYI, I realize it was 25 yrs ago, and times have changed, but I went to fine private college in the Detroit area and received a fantastic education earning a Mechanical Engineering degree. Had to take out student loans as I was making just a little over minimum wage at the time, but it was worth every penny.

I think making college more affordable is essential, but free college? ; not sure how that is realistically feasible.


(26,371 posts)
43. The really big factor in public college tuition increases
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 12:28 PM
Jun 2016

has been cuts in state funding.

Here in Florida, we took a 40% cut in per-student higher ed funding. Many flagship state universities, like Virginia and Ohio State, now get only single-digit percentage of their budgets from state government. Arizona has cut off all funding to a couple of their community colleges.

(It goes without saying that the states still want to micromanage the colleges for which they provide little or no funding.)

You could argue that the availability of loans makes it easier for legislatures to cut funding--since they figure that the kids can just borrow more--but there's something else happening, too, which is the sense that higher ed is an individual commodity instead of a public good. Remember Mitt Romney telling that young woman that she should have all the education she could afford?

Sadly, that same attitude has taken hold in "the party of the people" as well.


(5,968 posts)
28. It's not only an expense, it is an investment in the future
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 08:38 AM
Jun 2016

There are some legitimate points raised against free college but wouldn't most of us agree that it is a good goal? As Europe was mentioned here, let me provide my perspective. I absolutely enjoyed going to university for almost nothing. For a time, there was this new and unpopular fee of 500 Euros per semester but usually it was only around 100 Euros with free public transportation included. I also got monthly support, a kind of a loan, from the state. You only have to pay back half of this loan (no interest rates btw) and even less for repaying it early. In the end, I saved almost an additional 20% of the half I had to pay back. I don't mind that my taxes pay to provide this opportunity for the next generation. I also know that many fellow students struggled financially and couldn't have gone to university without this setup.
I have an affinity for the US and been there a couple of times. I loved it. But if I lived there, what would worry me is healthcare and should I have kids, how to pay for their education.


(7,629 posts)
33. Thanks for your perspective.
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:03 AM
Jun 2016

It reinforces what I know about European college education--at least Germany and Scandinavia anyway.

I'd forgotten about the living stipend provided to college students. Another idea that most Americans would find simply too good to be true.



(1,151 posts)
39. Used to be for the free college stuff until I looked deeper
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 10:16 AM
Jun 2016

It is a MASSIVE transfer of wealth from the poor to the middle and upper class, almost Bush Tax Cuts level of expropriation of the working class (payroll and possible sales taxes to fund admission to colleges their children will likely never be able to attend, especially given the fact that they still have to pay board and other fees) to subsidize their access into professional networks and other realms of privilege and access.

To me, in order to help the working class, K-12 HAS to be the priority. Investing in schools, expanding curricula, moving away from high stakes testing, and then furthermore, we have to recognize that the traditional college experience is very much a racket - from the bloated athletic departments to the massive administrative pay. Not only that, it's heavily geared towards middle/upper class sensibilities and we're trying to shoehorn the working class into it (and the political aspects are important to note because part of the problem with the Left the past 50 years is that we're centering all our activism around privileged white college kids and look where that's gotten us). The European model works because it doesn't have as much bloat, and the other aspects of education are supported too.

We really need to destigmatize community college as well; there is ABSOLUTELY no shame doing community college, and there's no shame getting an education from a lesser ranked school or even an online college. Knowledge is knowledge. Again, a lot of this is centered around middle/upper class vanity rather than practicality.



(110,159 posts)
40. ThucyThucy, a very informative thread. Thank you. The replies that supply information is the DU
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 10:19 AM
Jun 2016

of the past where the conversation was insiteful and learning was to be had.

Months ago, I saw the unlevel playing field and who would receive, and who would lose out. I saw this action not a progressive gift, but a gift to those that already have. I saw Clinton and extension Obama's plans more receptive to the need of those disadvantaged. But, I really appreciate all the posts that spell it out.



(7,629 posts)
52. Hi Seabeyond!
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:20 PM
Jun 2016

It's great to see you again!

I haven't been posting much of late, due to personal issues, but I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things. I definitely have to check out the feminist groups more often.

Best wishes!


(13,908 posts)
41. Why not just increase Pell grants?
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 10:49 AM
Jun 2016

Sanders' plan, as described on his Senate website, is not realistic.

The federal government will give states an amount of money equivalent to 2/3 of the total tuition at states schools if the states put up 1/3 and, I guess, all public universities agree to abide by various regulations. What happens if a state or the boards of public universities in the stare don't want to participate? Total state funding for public universities has been decreasing. Why is it reasonable to assume they'll put up more?

On average, 21% of public university budgets come from tuition, 21% from state funding, and 16% from federal funding (in the form of Pell grants, research grants, and veteran's benefits).


Instead of making everything more complicated and relying on state governments, why not just increase funding for Pell grants so that they pay more (or all) of the tuition and more students qualify? Whatever regulations on how the money is used that are part of Sanders' plan could be instituted more easily by restricting where Pell grants are used (e.g., only at Colleges that comply) than they could be by going through states.


(7,629 posts)
55. Increasing Pell grants should definitely be a part of the mix
Sun Jun 5, 2016, 07:21 AM
Jun 2016

in any tuition aid program.

One point that hadn't occurred to me, when I posted my OP, was the role in the cutbacks of state funding to state universities and colleges have played in the incredible tuition inflation we've seen in past years.

In a way, all of these problems can be rolled at the feet of the Reagan/Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, on both the federal and state levels, with a concomitant increase with "defense" spending--meaning even less money for education. One of my criticisms of President Obama (whom I support and think is brilliant, BTW) was extending the Bush cuts when they were due to expire. I can't remember all the details, and know this was part of some insanely complex web of political back and forth, but allowing those cuts to roll forward has been a major--and generally unacknowledged--part of the problems younger people face today. It has been, in essence, not only a transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy, but also from younger generations to older (who were far more likely to benefit from the cuts than younger students and workers).

All that just to say: yay Pell grants!


(464 posts)
47. Then who will join the military...
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 01:45 PM
Jun 2016

...for the G.I. bill? Which I suspect is some of the reason for the pushback. An "economic draft" is still needed in this day and age. So poors who passed high school but can't afford college will fill out the militarys needs with those who were going to join anyways, and chad and muffy can enjoy four years of their parents paying.



(39,961 posts)
51. Hillary Clinton is the worst candidate we've ever run as Democrats.
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:20 PM
Jun 2016

There isn't enough money in the universe to concoct a campaign where she could win.

Sorry, folks, but she failed in 2008 and she's busy failing in 2016. She's the energizer bunny of latching on to failure.

That's how the cow ate the cabbage, and the truth is still the truth whether you appreciate it or not.



(9,263 posts)
53. Sanders offers nothing on actually controlling the runaway cost
Sat Jun 4, 2016, 09:22 PM
Jun 2016

Of college education...the runaway salaries and pensions of college professors where a retired professor makes more in pension than what he made when teaching....just another blank check idea to buy votes...with no reality in place.

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