OPINION|Thomas: Free Community College is Tantamount to Government Choosing Sides
Rhode Island, New York and Oregon are doing it. Free tuition and in some cases no fees at state run community colleges. The question has come up, should Massachusetts community colleges be free? I say no!
The term free college is an oxymoron. It assumes no costs at all. I don't expect professors to work pro Bono, same with the custodians, kitchen staff, admissions folk, etc. Somebody's gotta pay the piper. Look in the mirror. The All-American taxpayer will be on the hook again. How much? Don't know. I can say if Massachusetts incorporates a similar free community college program like they're instituting in little Roadie, any/all students that graduate from a Rhode Island high school or has a GED qualifies, even if you're here illegally. Can you say mega millions?
Another thing to consider is how government chooses sides. Yes, legislators are prying open the taxpayer's wallet for free community college, they also pick winners and losers. If B.C.C. is taxpayer supported free and UMass-Dartmouth is $14,500 freshman year, parents will insist that Hakeem or Sheryl first get an Associates Degree. In a couple of years, expect all of the state college/university campuses to be sparsely populated. The winning community colleges get a boat load of students and funding. The losing UMass system, state colleges and universities will scream where have all our students gone. Oh yeah, we the taxpayer will again be on the short end of the stick!
Editor’s Note: Brian Thomas is the host of Brian’s Beat on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10am-Noon and Saturdays from 6am-9am. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.