Free Tuition:Who is Really Helped?

Free tuition seems to be some candidates’ solution to all that ails higher education. I have long worried that the “free” benefits will insure to the wealthier students if free really means free for all — without an income threshold. That is why I have thought that “free,” if offered, should apply to those who need it to be free, not free for all. (I am wondering if even a nominal student stipend is valuable as a sign of student interest.) This below linked article, looking at nations across the Globe, reinforces the need to reflect on what “free” means and whether it will actually enlarge the enrollment of low income students. To be sure, each nation is different and the incentives and culture may strongly influence outcomes. So read with caution. But, if Scotland is accurately described, it should be a warning call for us: free college may help the rich more than the poor. See:

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Author, Educator & Commentator; Former President, Southern Vermont College; Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept. of Education; Former Law Professor

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