In this morning’s piece “Free community college? Not so fast…” on The Hechinger Report, President John Ebersole explores unexamined factors of the Obama administration’s proposed “free community college” deal. President John Ebersole, offered the following remarks in his op-ed:
In his recent speech on higher education, Vice President Biden’s speech touched on the need for higher levels of degree completion, greater ease of access, especially for those of low income, and the need to address the growing cost of higher education, generally. His prescription: to make two years of community college free.
With this speech, the vice president promoted President Obama’s long-standing goal of greater degree attainment, while joining Presidential candidates Clinton, Sanders, and O’Malley in calls for various forms of “free,” or subsidized, higher education. Each of these reformation proposals assumes that the cost of a degree has risen beyond a point that students can afford. “Proof” is cited by the fact that student loan debt exceeds that of credit cards — $1.3 trillion.
That there may be little correlation between student debt and degree costs has not been considered. Yet, analysis shows that much debt can be attributed to factors other than college attendance. Over-borrowing, living expense support, and weak lending practices all appear to play a larger role in student debt than tuition.