Progressives and Democrats, especially those gunning for the White House in the 2020 election, often try to win voters by promising a virtual cornucopia of free stuff, including college.
Now, the results from a state’s own experiment with higher education are in, and it’s not exactly the magic bullet the Democrats say it is.
The Tennessee Promise program was first signed into law in the faraway year of 2014. It consists of a “last dollar” scholarship that covers anything Pell Grants and state assistance won’t when students sign up for certain community colleges and technical institutes.
The scholarship will cover two years of tuition for community colleges and technical institutes. The program is billed as a way to get more students enrolled in college throughout the state.
Requirements to maintain the financial aid are relatively simple — the minimum grade point average of 2.0 is not a tough academic performance to keep and a stipulation that mandates eight hours of community service per term can easily be knocked out in one weekend.
Despite the relative ease with which Tennessee students can maintain their free college experience, dropouts are still happening on a massive scale.
As Bloomberg reported, the percentage of students dropping out did fall by a small percentage after the program, but the rate still remains high.
After the program became law, 18 percent of the Promise students dropped out within their first semester.
By the fourth and final year for many, the rate was a whopping 49 percent.
All the taxpayer money spent floating these students until their decision to drop out is gone. The former students have nothing to show for it (unless they completed an associate’s degree), and the state is left to foot the bill.
Now imagine what the waste would look like if a Democratic candidate won and instituted free college for all.
While the number of college graduates would no doubt increase, so would the number of people failing to complete any sort of degree.
Universities, now staring at a blank check from Uncle Sam, would likely increase their tuition rates and other fees with the guaranteed source of income. The already-increasing cost of college is partly what’s behind the massive student loan crisis that our country is currently in the midst of.
According to Student Loan Hero, the current outstanding student debt sits at a staggering $1.5 trillion. Over 11 percent of those loans are in default or are 90 days past due.
The crisis has reached such a fever pitch that some Democratic candidates for president are actively campaigning to eliminate existing student debt altogether.
Among those using the platform to lure voters is Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who claims she can eliminate student debt for pennies on the dollar. The senator is also behind a plan to provide free college to the masses.
Democrats are likely to be unconvinced by Tennessee’s experiment with free college. For some, only a nationwide program will be able to prove if the idea will work or not.
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