First two years of college for free?

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Henry Vilas
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First two years of college for free?

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:01 pm

Two UW professors wrote a paper proposing a change in how financial aid for higher education is distributed.

The first two years of college should be free at public schools and the federal and state governments should work together to change funding models and make it possible, according to a new paper by two UW-Madison professors. The idea comes in response to what they call a deeply flawed system of awarding financial aid to fund college for most students.
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To fix the system, they suggest rerouting about $80 billion in federal financial aid to public colleges and universities, including technical colleges, and using the money to cover tuition for every qualifying student.

Another $89 billion in state and local government funds would cover living expenses, books and supplies. Students would be expected to work 15 hours a week in work study programs, which the authors argue is one part of the current funding mechanism that doesn’t need much fixing.

The new system would mean a free ride — and they mean free — for the first two years.

The UW was relatively affordable back when I first enrolled in 1966. It certainly isn't now for many otherwise qualified students.

And this proposal would likely reduce the outstanding debt that burden many of today's graduates.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Ned Flanders » Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:47 pm

How about getting colleges to get spending under control and maybe distributing some of those gigantic "endowments" they're sitting on?

How can a pubic university like Wisconsin be hoarding $2 billion dollars?

http://www.bc.edu/offices/endowment/top ... ments.html

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Sandi » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:09 pm

Or not building recreation perks like 50 foot rock climbing walls, and swimming pools.

Take the Eppley Recreation Center operated by Campus Recreation Services (CRS) at the University of Maryland for example – a state-of-the-art facility with 258,000 square feet of space and a $39.5 million price tag.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Ned Flanders » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:19 pm

Exactly. And every time loan limits go up, surprise!, so does tuition. It's nice little circle of grift they've set up.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:27 pm

So does that mean you like the first-two-years-free proposal or not? Would it help or hurt?

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:22 pm

It's interesting ... these profs are not asking for more money for financial aid, just that it be distributed differently.

My first instinct was "no," since I believe one of the primary ways people place value on something is how much it cost them. But maybe there's something more to these profs' idea.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby snoqueen » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:16 pm

I think given the complex demands of employment today, more than twelve years of schooling is almost mandatory. We give all students a free ride for their first twelve years, but perhaps it's time to offer those who are motivated another two years to develop into really employable adults. A high school degree isn't worth all that much by itself any more. I'm a huge fan of tech schools, but two years of a four-year college program is fine too.

There's almost no social investment that brings a better return than educated employees. This could do as much as anything else to make Wisconsin attractive to businesses that create new jobs.

Students would be expected to work 15 hours a week in work study programs, which the authors argue is one part of the current funding mechanism that doesn’t need much fixing.


I'm not convinced students devalue paid-for educations, because the amount of work it takes just to get through school pretty much screens out those who truly don't care. But a work requirement of 15 hours per week sounds reasonable.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Detritus » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:00 pm

Ned Flanders wrote:How about getting colleges to get spending under control and maybe distributing some of those gigantic "endowments" they're sitting on?

How can a pubic university like Wisconsin be hoarding $2 billion dollars?

http://www.bc.edu/offices/endowment/top ... ments.html

Why don't you go find out what endowments are, how they work, and what they're used for, and then come back and ask your question again? You'd still be a dip, but at least you might be a marginally better informed dip.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Detritus » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:01 pm

Sandi wrote:Or not building recreation perks like 50 foot rock climbing walls, and swimming pools.

Take the Eppley Recreation Center operated by Campus Recreation Services (CRS) at the University of Maryland for example – a state-of-the-art facility with 258,000 square feet of space and a $39.5 million price tag.

See above.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Sandi » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:44 pm

Detritus wrote:See above.


The a $39.5 million price tag was not paid by endowments.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Detritus » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:48 pm

Sandi wrote:
Detritus wrote:See above.


The a $39.5 million price tag was not paid by endowments.

I didn't say it was.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:02 am

I'm bumping this for Sandi"

Henry Vilas wrote:So does that mean you like the first-two-years-free proposal or not? Would it help or hurt?


Of course, Sandi said she never bothered using the GI Bill for school, so I guess these questions are moot.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:50 am

Sandi wrote:The a $39.5 million price tag was not paid by endowments.


The article never says how the facility was paid for. Many of these projects are funded by individual contributions and other resources outside of the university dollars.

The article did note that student fees pay for the ongoing maintenance of the building and doing the math, it amounts to about $177 per year. Considering the demand for the facility is high, I doubt that this is contributing to soaring educational costs.

Detritus wrote:Why don't you go find out what endowments are, how they work, and what they're used for, and then come back and ask your question again?


You beat me to it, but I'll bump this for Ned. Endowments have very specific uses when set up. You can't just take that huge chunk and offset tuition costs. That's not how they work and there is nothing the UW foundation can do about that.

That said, I do think tuition costs are ridiculously high. I find the prof's proposals interesting, but I think it just puts a band aid on the situation. Maybe that is all we can do at this point.

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby Ned Flanders » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:55 am

Gee, wouldn't want to break any "rules". Before pushing the cost of tuition back onto taxpayers, they should change the "rules" and re-purpose the "endowments".

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Re: First two years of college for free?

Postby wack wack » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:00 am

Ned Flanders wrote:Gee, wouldn't want to break any "rules". Before pushing the cost of tuition back onto taxpayers, they should change the "rules" and re-purpose the "endowments".


No, the cost of tuition should rest entirely and completely on the tax payers. The more you have, the more you pay toward the education of others.

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