Is “Free Education” Really Free?

Is “Free Education” Really Free?

Bernie Sanders has been hitting the media, touting his idea of free education in the United States as an entitlement for American youth. But what Rand Paul pointed out during his three-day college tour in Iowa, and Sanders should realize, is that nothing is actually for free.

The Des Moines Register noted that Paul started his “Iowa 10,000” initiative to create a stronger caucus of 10,000 college students across the state. Central to his initiative is the idea of affordable college. While Sanders delivers a pipe dream of free education for everyone, Paul offers a realistic alternative. As anyone who knows Paul, while challengers offer soundbites and pipe dreams, Paul comes to the table with real solutions.

Sanders would have us believe that it is equitable for the American taxpayers to shoulder the burden of college tuition for anyone wishing to attend. But where does this money actually come from? The short answer is all taxpayers. This may sound good on paper, but let’s look at who that includes.

We are talking small business owners – many of whom never even got to attend college themselves. At what point do taxpayers get to say enough and stop covering the cost of Americans who don’t take financial accountability for themselves? There are no shortage of Americans with stories of working two jobs to put themselves through college. Yet, now we are told this is an entitlement and people do not have to work for it?

Regardless of your thoughts on this, someone actually does have to pay for it.

As Paul noted:

“There’s no free lunch; it just means somebody’s paying for it you can’t see. Maybe they’re a welder, maybe they’re a carpenter, maybe they’re a plumber, maybe they didn’t go to school. Do you really expect they should pay for your school? What we ought to do is figure out why school costs so much and figure out why the cost is so inflated.” (Iowa City Press-Citizen)

So, if free university is a pipe dream, what is the alternative? Paul does answer that question. He has proposed breaking up the monopoly that is our current education system. Much like government, it is overpaid, bloated and does not reflect a good return on investment.

What are your thoughts on the so-called concept of “free education”? Would you like to see more reasonable tuition fees? Let us know on Twitter. Also, keep up with us on Facebook.

(Photo courtesy of Kunal Shah, Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0)

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