What Free College Really Means
Is free college a real possibility?
You have probably heard the words “free college” recently. Although it sounds exciting and it can get a lot of people cheering and clapping in political rallies, it is important to understand what this really means.
“Free College Will Not Apply To Private Colleges & Universities”
It is important to understand that when candidates propose this, they are not talking about making Harvard, Duke, or any private college free.
People who propose the idea of free college are usually talking about public colleges. In other words, public state universities & community colleges.
As we mentioned when we talked about the difference between private and public institutions, public universities receive funds from the state.
It is also important to keep in mind that these public colleges are also receive funding from tuition revenue.
Therefore, a public state school will generate tuition revenue when students pay for tuition and fees.
If free college was to occur, then , what would happen if students no longer had to pay for tuition and fees?
If colleges no longer received this tuition revenue, then, where they get it from?
One option would be to have the state legislature increase taxes.
Another option would be to have colleges tap into both their institutional operating reserves and large endowments to offer grant aid to their students.
As you can see, the Free-College proposal can be very conflicting and expensive.
Free College is already available in some states
What are the Effects of Free College?
New York is one of the few states in the country that offer a free college program.
What would happen if a state like Florida began offering free tuition?
Well, let’s take the University of Central Florida as an example.
UCF is a public state school with an acceptance rate of 43%.
It is not as competitive as an Ivy League but it is pretty selective.
If 30% of the 180,000 students that graduate high school in Florida every year decided to apply to UCF, 54,000 students would apply per year!
Its total undergraduate enrollment is already at 59,000!
What would happen to the acceptance rate?
Well, if free college happened it would be safe to assume UCF would become as competitive as an Ivy League!
If free college happened it would be safe to assume UCF would become as competitive as an Ivy League.
Free college and Community Colleges
What would happen to community colleges?
Well, if you look at data from NY community colleges, since 2015, community colleges have seen a 10% drop in enrollment–losing more than 23,000 students.
Community college is a great way to save money on your first two years of higher education while getting your general education requirements out of the way.
These students use these 2-year colleges as a stepping-stone to then transfer to the University of Texas.
Not only do they fulfill their academic goals, but they also save tens of thousands of dollars in their first two years.
When you hear someone talk about free colleges they are usually talking about public state institutions.Private schools do not receive funds from the state so it would be very hard for these types of colleges to offer free tuition.
There are many ways to make college affordable, if you are interested in learning more visit our course to start planning for college now!