Who will be Hurt by Free College Tuition? - Granite Grok

Who will be Hurt by Free College Tuition?


Who will be hurt by free college tuition? Politicians from your favorite party are willing to pander to anyone who will listen. They will promise anything to anyone. They are good at promising free stuff. What they are bad at is avoiding unintended consequences. Providing free stuff to everyone all the time does come with consequences.

86% of households will lose if we do it…

Let’s stop and think about free college tuition. It has become a popular promise on the campaign trail. Now there is a new study revealing that free college does have a consequence. The vast majority of American households would be worse off if such a policy were in place.

The Washington Free Beacon reports:

“…a National Bureau of Economic Research study conducted by University of Wisconsin researchers found that free college translates to a hollowed-out higher education system that leaves many Americans worse off.

Researchers simulated two scenarios: one in which the federal government forces states to adopt tuition-free public colleges and another in which it provides subsidies to encourage states to do so. They calculated how each plan would affect the welfare of American households. The welfare function was derived from, among other things, the positive and negative impacts of higher tax rates and lower education costs.

“Over 86% of all households would lose while about 60% of the lowest income quintile would gain from such policies,” the study found.

In both scenarios, the free tuition policy benefited a group of the poorest Americans at the expense of everyone else. For the vast majority of U.S. households, any benefit derived from a free college plan was outweighed by its negative consequences.”

Trading economic security for freedom is a bad idea

Providing free college tuition is economically unfeasible. Worse yet, like nationalized healthcare it also threatens freedom. The Beacon notes the obvious later in the article. The states and the federal government will split the cost of paying for college tuition under many popular plans. We are voting ourselves personal gain from the public trough. Attractive as something for nothing is; it harms the nation.

With DC footing the bill, state colleges and universities will be unable to craft their own policies. They lose power to govern dorm living, student life, athletics, academics, and every other aspect of the college experience. State governments the people they represent will be unable to oppose federal policies they believe might be bad for students.

This is how the federal government creeps in and destroys our ability to govern ourselves. They offer to help pay for a service or program. Then they turn around and dictate how that program will operate. Once Americans become attached to those programs our state governments become little more than remote offices for federal agencies.


It’s time to tell Washington to get out of our daily lives. They shouldn’t dictate policy for state governments. They certainly shouldn’t tell We the People how to live. Congress and the bureaucrats will never release their stranglehold on our decision-making power. Who will be hurt by free college tuition?