February 8th, 2012
07:30 AM ET

My View: Why not a right to a college education?

Courtesy Lester Spence By Lester Spence, Special to CNN

Editor’s Note: Lester K. Spence is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University. His first book Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics was published in June 2011, and was one of the first books to empirically examine the political effect of hip-hop on black communities.

While in my office, preparing for the new semester, I had the opportunity to watch the president’s speech on college affordability delivered at the University of Michigan. I was interested in the speech in part because I am a political scientist, in part because I am a college professor, and in part because I am an alumnus of the University of Michigan.

But most importantly I was interested in the speech because my oldest daughter will be leaving for college in just seven short months. And although being a Johns Hopkins college professor has its benefits (Hopkins gives a generous tuition benefit applicable to any college in the nation) I still worry about my daughter and her four younger brothers and sisters. In his speech President Obama focused on three components designed to ease the burden of middle-class families—reducing interest on college student loans, maintaining the tuition tax credit, and creating incentives to make universities lower their costs.

Now I understand for some politics is the art of the possible. He proposes these things knowing that as hard as it will be to pass them legislatively, these things are at least possible to get past both houses of Congress. (It isn’t likely, particularly during an election year, but it’s possible.)

But for me, politics isn’t just about the art of the possible—about what we can pass in the here and now. Politics is about expanding and extending that art, about pushing the borders to create space for even more change in the future.

How can we do that here?

What if, instead of proposing policies geared towards individual middle-class tax-payers that revolved around the assumption that higher education was an individual’s responsibility, the president instead proposed policies geared towards embedding higher education as an individual right. What if, instead of getting a tax write-off after you’ve already paid your son/daughter’s tuition, you instead didn’t have to worry about education because the government would pay for it?

It’s socialism!

It’s too expensive!

I want to take the socialism critique first. The reality is that even here we routinely spend a significant amount of our government’s resources on subsidies, on what tea party supporters might call “socialist policies.” For instance, in 2009 the government spent almost $86 billion on home ownership subsidies in the form of the mortgage interest deduction, subsidizing the home purchases of almost 35 million citizens. In 2010 the government spent almost $104 billion.

Furthermore, as the president noted in the State of the Union address, the federal government routinely spends billions of dollars in corporate subsidies, helping them research and develop new products, helping them build new plants, helping them train new workers. If we wouldn’t think of these policies as socialist, why should we necessarily consider a policy to pay for college tuition socialist?

The second critique is a bit more thoughtful. If tuition and fees are too expensive for parents, wouldn’t placing this burden on the government be exorbitantly expensive, too expensive to even consider?

As of 2004 it would have cost approximately $30 billion to pay for the tuition and fees of everyone currently attending a public college, whether that college be four-year like the University of Michigan, or two-year, like neighboring Washtenaw Community College. Even if we double that figure now due to inflation, we’re still talking about spending less money on college tuition for every student able to get into college, than we routinely do to subsidize home purchases.

Such a policy for me is a no-brainer. It significantly reduces the financial burden on parents and on students. No longer would a father and mother have to consider taking a second mortgage on their home or perhaps a second job to put their child through school. No longer would three college roommates have to have eight jobs between them (as my roommates and myself did in 1990). President Obama didn’t mention working class or poor parents at all - no longer would college be out of reach for much of the 99%.

This policy is politically impossible in the current climate.

But then again, so was Social Security at one point. So was the GI Bill.

So was the Civil Rights Act.

If we can’t even talk about such a policy as a possibility aloud now, then when?

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Lester Spence.

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Filed under: After High School • College • Policy • Voices
soundoff (928 Responses)
  1. eviltaxpayer

    Just look how perverted our k-12 education is and you want to give big brother MORE control? More useless union jobs where outcome is irrelevant? Look at the salaries these useless union profesors are making-teaching perverted courses and indoctrinating students with the liberal doctrine-Goverment god-like, sucsess and buisnesses evil!
    Weve already got people in colleges that have NO right being there, its called affirmative action-

    February 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  2. Don

    Oh, man, you're all doing this the hard way. Let's cut out the middleman. Confiscate all university resources, sell them to China and use that money to give everyone a free job with a fair living wage paid for by the government.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  3. BHart

    Apart from the obviously self-serving proposition, I find your arguments ridiculous. Reading even a primer on logical fallacy, would show the error of your circular reasoning: Socialism because there is already socialism; and expense because there is already expensive socialism? Do you have 'Marxist' stamped on your forehead? You are the best argument against tax payers being forced to pay for the education of other people's children. I fear for the impressionable young mind exposed to teachers that think like you do. (Isn't 'political science' an oxymoron?)

    February 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  4. Jim

    Not everyone is college material. That's why we have SATs and later we have MCATs, LCATs, etc. That still doesn't weed out the idiots who somehow manage to get in and even to graduate, like one of my employees who thinks New England is a foreign country. Support the ones who have the capacity and let the rest do what they will.

    February 13, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • madpatter

      hey Jim, do you mean like the thousands upon thousands of single mothers that exercised poor judgement and had babies they knew they couldnt support so the government sends them to school for free?Many of which take up NURSING so they can exercise their poor decision making ability on helpless sick or elderly people? You are absolutely correct. College is not for everyone. America also needs simple labor!

      February 15, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  5. matt

    starship troopers. Would you like to hear more?

    February 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Jim

      I love Heinlein's idea. Serve first, then become a citizen, vote, hold office. Stay home, become whatever you want but never a citizen, never a voter, and never an officeholder. It would probably improve the average IQ of the voter pool, too.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  6. sarah Thompson

    Here's the catch- are you willing to let your kids future be decided by a test? You see, if the Government pays for your child's education than the Government will decide what your child's education choices will be based on test scores. Are you willing to let the Govt. decide your child's future? Welcome to Gattaca.

    February 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • amax, arkansas


      February 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Macc

      It works in Germany, If you study hard and pass a series of tests, they will pay for your education. If you want to plug along with a c average, you can pay to go to college with your own money.

      February 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
      • Aaaacccc

        First we are the land of opportunity because unlike other nations, people are not tracked for life by a test.
        Second, why have the tax dollars value being a stockbroker or lawyer over trade school and manufacturing something, staring a small business, or fixing my car. At least those people contribute something real to the economy.
        Third, I am a better person for working several jobs, living cheap in a coop house instead of apt or dorm. I went to Ivy League schools for 8 yrs and do not think the govt should have paid for it. I think hard work should pay for it.
        Fourth the exception to that is if we give something back to the country like military service, volunteer in an area of shortage then there should be help.
        Fifth, the govt is broke. We need to stop subsidizing the rich. When we do that first, then relook at the budget. I dont know how much is there to help people until we raise taxes the to at least the taxes under Reagan.
        But unless we want to default and sell our country to the banks to rule like in Greece, we need to change things now.

        February 14, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  7. Tina

    I can't believe what I'm reading! This idea that the government should pay for everything is absolutely out of control! The government isn't paying for it, I am through taxes. Plus interest that will span my children's lives as well. Get a student loan, not a second on your house. The interest is affordable. More importantly, what you don't work hard for and pay for yourself will have little to no value to you or your children. That is the "no-brainer." Take a little pride in yourself and work hard for what you want. For those who are financially in a lower class situation, there are grants, scholarships, and loans available. The world is your oyster, you just have to put in a little effort to find the assistance, and work your butt off to succeed.

    February 12, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Tax Payer

      Yep Tina. And someone PAID for you to go to school as well. This is one of the few countries that does not cover college. Hell we cannot even manage to give health care to those who need it most!

      February 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  8. AWaB

    I really appreciate your analysis, Lester. You did such a poor job of analyzing the situation and your solution that is completely in the face of evidence (gov't subsidized loans are the reason tuition is so high and climbing) that I have been helped. Not one penny that I earn will ever go to Johns Hopkins or the University of Michigan. Thanks for narrowing the decision field for possible future schools for my children!

    February 12, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  9. Matt

    As usual the author mixes apples and oranges. Civil Rights..GI Bill..not quite the same as social security. It is true the government subsidize too much, but before we add new ones let's fix the current ones. Simplify the tax code. Find the waste and get rid of it. Have congress and the president actually do their jobs and pass proper regulation so we don't have another mortgage crisis. Find a good balance on heath care that includes cost regulation and disclosure. Look at today's universities; balance facilities, sports, quality of education to make cost effective choices. Everything can't be free because nothing is. That said there are a lot of approaches we can take to make education more affordable and set a foundation for the future.

    February 12, 2012 at 6:58 am |
  10. Luis Catan

    If we have public education up to high school, why not university? If we want to build a stronger and more technologically savvy economy, we should have free public universities. The benefit will be enormous to all society, not least because of its social mobility aspects, but also because of its ability to raise the cleverest to the top regardless of their parents' income level. A no-brainer and quite cheap in relation to many other present programs.

    February 12, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • wmthebeast

      At this point there is a groundswell of conversation about the cost of a college diploma and the debt entailed. The personal responsibility required serves a necessary function to hold in check soaring tuition and also serves as motivation to those attending university to make the most of their time there. The "free" coverage by an already indebted government will encourage accelerated tuition increases which would boast the authors salary and place us deeper in debt. All of the examples of government subsidy provided are not agreed upon by many of us and extending another "right" without any fiscal plan to pay for it would not be good policy.

      February 12, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Tax Payer

      Right on Luis! That is my opinion. Other countries do this as well. If doctors did not have such costly tuition, they'd have less to pay down at the end of their studies, hence, more money in their pocket. Tuition has become a joke. I am an active student (white, middle class) and I have to PAY out of pocket because I cannot even get enough loan funding.

      February 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Steve

    The government paying for college! What a wonderful idea. With everything else it pays for, why not pay for something worth while.

    February 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm |

    Interesting comments! I am of the opinion that education should be "FREE." There are thousands of underpriviliged children/adults that have the potential to contribute to society; let's eliminate unemployment. Who would take care of those children while adult parents go to school? Why not have a child care program for this purpose? Many of you have stated that it is not your responsibility to pay for every kids education. The reality is, our tax money goes to programs for drug addicts, the spouse abuser, the thief in rehab, the child molester's daily meal in prison and the list goes on.......and I'm sure that if we each had our way, not a penny of our money would be given to most of these. Guess what? we have no control over that and OUR money DOES play a role whether we like it or not. So, with that being said, at the end of the day, why not contribute to the good of society? I don't care whether you are rich, poor, yellow it doesn't matter -we are here in this world together whether we like it or not and this divisive way of thinking will lead to our own destruction. Lastly, instead of that kid mugging you 10 years from now, he may be the one to change your diaper and look upon you with kindness while you lay in your own excrement in a nursing facility. Besides, when we die, we don't take our money with us! We are on borrowed time anyway, and if we can touch a life, why not? Why is it so hard to be kind?

    February 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Texian

      Public education for all citizens and legal residents should be free, currently is.
      The government should pay university for certain fields that are in demand with the arrangement that the payback is the person being given the education utilize the education for the benefit of the country as a whole and if not then the cost of the education is to be repayed.
      My wife is German and a Psychiatrist whose entire university education was paid for by the German government and she worked in the public sector for 10 years as arranged for the payment of the education. She later moved to America after I retired from military service. The military worked the same for me, needed Psychiatrists so they paid for my entire university education and I gave the military 25 years service in return.
      The same idea would be good here but good luck with that.
      Winston Churchill once said about America that America will eventually do something right, after doing everything else first.

      February 11, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • davidJ

        Well how nice! The German people paid for her education, and you very well know it. And even today they pay some of the highest taxes in the EU. Stop this BS about the "government" paying for it. It's YOUR money, folks, out of YOUR hard earned compensation. Free college education is a delusion.

        February 12, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Aaaacccc

      Nothing should be free. I agree with those who say fund with the requirement for public service, military. If you read the description of the German system, it's not free, they gave back time.
      But if we do not fix the system at the public school level, these same kids will be unprepared for college.
      We dink around with English as a second language for years. Compromising. Their ability to do well on standardized tests. My mom was sick of it, volunteered and got them integrated fully into class in 3-6 months. Kids learn languages easily up to age 12. So if we don't immerse them, they never achieve the ability to do as well as their potential.
      The underprivileged need volunteers to give back in return for school. Work with these kids. If we started a healthy cycle of grateful giving back time instead of a the "govt can provide all my needs " mentality, we would have a healthier society.

      February 14, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  13. sb4fun

    I was cringing when I read by davidj "Rung by rung up the ladder to socialism, that's where your arguments will take us. To a place where there is no more individual merit, no work ethic, no initiative, little reward, and we all work essentially for the Democratic Party (i.e.- the federal government). " no individ merit (wall st) no work ethic (wall st) no iniitiative (wall st) little reward (oops, not wall st); furthermore, the rich GOP (gang of posers) has bankrupted the coffers of this country and mismanaged what was left beyond any sane reasoning, and statistical facts have proven it. Change is hard and necessary and inevitable, however, humanity must get real about what kind of change they really WILL support and stop bickering about what they will not stand for, cannot afford, and do not want for everybody. This of course includes educational reform. Not an Obama supporter; Independent and a Critical Thinker.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • davidJ

      How about I will NOT support "free" college education?, for a start? IT'S NOT FREE people! You might as well stop deluding yourselves, because you're not deluding the rest of us. Give it up.... it YOUR money that will pay for it. And mine.

      February 12, 2012 at 12:00 am |
      • Texian

        Correct David, it is not free as it is tax dollars paying for it. It is free to the student and in exchange the graduated student works for the public good for set amount of time as form of repayment. The other side of the coin is that it produces well earning taxpayers out of people who may otherwise not earn as much and as a result not pay as much into the tax system and economy overall.

        February 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  14. Diogonese

    Mr. Spence represents the kind of eggheaded thinking that gives academics a bad name and much disdain. Fortunately, such thinking rarely survives past the campus' property lines. They wither and die a deserved death. Mr. Spence' ideas, like so many of the academic tribe, are the result of people with too much time on their hands. Sadly, they actually believe what they think matters. Tragically, they also think the rest of us want to hear them.

    February 11, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • davidJ

      You are so correct. What he curiously did not bring into the discussion of increased costs for education are salaries and perks for university staff. I wonder what HIS contribution to Johns Hopkins overhead is? Would the libs who mindlessly sign on to his every word question the professors salary as excessive? If so, then is he greedy? Why would he need so much money? Would professor Spence divulge his salary and benefits for us? He is after all, part of the university cost structure, and as such bears responsibilityfor his share of increased tuition and fees.

      I would think these are questions that the libs would like to see addressed in their quest for economic and social justice. But there's this silence out there...

      February 12, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  15. davidJ

    Gee, leave it to a liberal black CNN polscience professor to try to lead us to believe the "government" pays for something. Bullcrap– WE pay for it...and he KNOWS it! It's time everyone grasps this fact. What our government pays for comes from OUR tax dollars, and corporate tax payments, separated from the money we all EARN from work. It is money taken out of the economy that could have gone somewhere else. What this guy is saying is why don't we all pay (all of us who will work) for every child's college education? Well isn't that nice. So we delude ourselves into a liberal stupor thinking it really doesn't come from our hard earned wages, it comes from everyone's hard earned wages. So how is that different? Answer– it's not. It's not my responsibility to send everyone else's child to college. It is THEIR responsibility, people. Yours and theirs. And it should be.

    My God– if so many of you want to transform America into a place like Sweden, or the Netherlands, where dependency and indifference is the norm, then just MOVE THERE. It would be so much easier on everyone if you did. Because we will not allow you to slide Euro-socialism into the United States. It ain't gonna happen. And you'll see why come this November.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  16. Ashton

    Bottom line is a college education should be something earned and paid for
    in order to keep society and the economy from breaking down. The student
    loan system is a welfare system already abused by many who know they can
    make more money sitting in a class than actually working hard and
    contributing to society and country. Social Security is a prime example of a
    system that is receiving fewer injections because more and more people are
    in college riding off of government money instead of paying in. Imagine
    what it would be like if the majority of 18-30 year olds were all in school
    for free, not paying in?? in addition, what is the average child bearing
    age? Who will pay to raise the children while parents are in school for

    February 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • ES

      > Imagine what it would be like if the majority of 18-30 year olds were all in school
      for free, not paying in??

      Easy. We would have no unemployement.

      > in addition, what is the average child bearing
      age? Who will pay to raise the children while parents are in school for
      As opposed to now when they have to work several jobs to survive and cannot afford childcare anyway?

      February 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  17. TomFoolery

    Why not a "right" to a college education? I'll tell you why, because that college education then means nothing. It has to be dumbed down to the point where everyone can have their "right" satisfied. Second, when you make goods and services, ANY goods and services, a false "right," meaning that you have the right to the labor and property of others, you necessarily and inevitably have skyrocketing inflation in the price of those goods and services.

    There are only a few true "rights" and they are all similar. You have a right to your life, and your own free actions, and you have the right to not have those taken by others. Any new and false rights to goods and services from others undoes those fundamental rights, and is absolute proof that such rights are inconsistent with one another.

    February 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Amused

      By your so-called "reasoning" we also shouldn't have public libraries, vaccines, clean drinking water, railroads, a national highway system, public schools, or even the Internet! In other words, YOU think we should have a third world country where ONLY the rich and powerful can have basic needs and education! That's some REAL progressive thinking dude...

      February 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  18. Josie Behnke

    I am currently a full time student, though I did get loans the last two semister I still work, between 20 to 30 hours a week, and have to manage a house, school, and work. Please not all students that get loans don't work. This day and age it's very rare you find a college student that doesn't have a part time job, and if they don't....mom and dad are helping them out with what the student loans can't cover. Oh and add to the fact I useprice part of my student loans toward my two kids.....price of tuition, plus books and anything else you need...get's expensive fast. My one grant I get covers my tuition only.

    February 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  19. margaret

    In India and china, more people are educated and there are more engineers and doctors because their parents work hard and help them for their college tution.. It's your responsibility to give your kids all the support for their education, not just tell to them to go find a job.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  20. Patrick Henry

    Have your happy little socialist paradise if you wish and can find others willing to play along. Leave the rest of us out of it.

    February 10, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Amused

      You should move to a nice NON-SOCIALIST country like Somalia or Ethiopia! You would absolutely LOVE it there! No pesky government to tell you what to do or to "FORCE" you to have clean water, uncontaminated food , education or any of those other dirty, nasty "SOCIALIST" ideals! You should leave NOW before other people find out what a " WONDERFUL PARADISE" those non-socialist countries really are! You'd better get going now, don't let the door hit you on the way out – BYE BYE...

      February 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
      • davidJ

        That's got nothing to do with the argument, and you know it. What we are talking about is individual rights, responsibilities, and freedoms. It is not my job to educate YOUR children. Period. And nothing is "free"– it always costs somebody. face it– you libs are losing it all. You will NOT transform this country into something it was never intended to be.

        February 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
      • eviltaxpayer

        Thanks obams for infecting todays liberal robats with the idea that things are "FREE" and "a right"-
        Individual responsibility is a swear word for liberals-

        February 14, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  21. Joe

    One person's right, should never be another's obligation. As a taxpayer, I don't want to pay for everyone's education. The cost of education keeps rising because the government keeps giving students more loans and grants for education. If there is less government money in education, the cost will come down, and the tax payers won't have to foot the bill. Same thing happens with housing, energy, and everything else the government touches. Good students will be able to find private loans for their education if needed. The obligation to repay those loans will force them into useful and profitable majors like science and technology. No bailouts, no subsidies, period. The government should not be in the business of managing the economy. It should simply provide a stable currency and prevent fraud and theft. Free markets do better than any central planner.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  22. bobby

    Maybe the better thing would have the Federal Gov't out of the business of Banker and reduce federal loans to college students.. This will lower the number of students who could afford a college educations and pay high tuition rates.. Colleges would have to lower costs to be able to attract students... Right now colleges know they can keep on raising tuition cause the federal gov't will lend students the money. This has lead to a tuition debt nightmare for today's students.. Hugh loans, no jobs.. This can't keep happening, the educational system will impplode, just like the housing m,arket..

    February 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Lori

      You have a lot of good points. I am just not sure that I could have afforded to go to grad school without the availability of fed student loans. I do think you are right about the cost of education rising due to the ability of an 18 year old to borrow massive amounts of money.

      February 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  23. Katie

    If the government is going to pay for college then all colleges should require the exact same money for the exact same degree and the government issues the diploma upon, not the college. So the smart student who stays home and commutes to the local state college gets the same diploma as the person who thinks the name Harvard means something better.

    February 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  24. Rob

    I think that we should drive down the cost of education in Math, Science and Engineering – these are the knowledge bases that are going to be needed by the United States in order to compete in the world.

    Subsidizing those majors – or even giving away those educational costs – would probably pay for itself many times over if we could get enough Engineers trained so that we wouldn't have to rely on other countries for knowledge.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  25. I did my college thesis on student loans

    in regards to students being "lazy, and putting down the controller and applying for a grant": My brother in law has a master's degree and $60,000 of debt to pay that off. it'll garnish his income for the next thirty years, at least. as in, his whole youth, his fatherhood years. all of it. I graduated with a BA and $20,000 in debt, that'll take me twenty years to pay off. I recieved three grants and a scholarship which collectively covered 25% of my tuition.

    If you're saying that you need to 'pay your own way in life', that's because you either didn't go to college or you went thirty years ago before the cost of higher education outpaced cars as the most expensive thing a young person would pay for. There is no more 'Working your way through college'. The older generations and the uneducated have to understand this.

    Want to go to USC? Do you have $125,000 for four years and a degree?

    Is if fair to assume that a young person is on equal financial footing as established homeowners and careerists? No. Earning the degree that you'll need to get the job you'll need to pay off the loan you took to get the degree [etc...] is a drain on our country's productivity and a crimp in its intellectual capability. Education and its child Innovation are what made our country the world power it is today. Let's respect that by providing Education with the means it needs.

    my name is mike. if you disagree with me, please be respectful.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • 4JULY1776

      Mike, with all due respect....I'd rather see your wages garnished and your brother-in-law's wages garnished than mine.

      In other words.....since you guys are the ones that now have the degrees that caused those debts, why should I be the one to repay them?

      February 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
      • Tom C

        Sir, you are short sighted! You children & grandchildren would benefit from this type of program as well. My guess is that you are against public schools as well.
        This would be one of the best investments the country could ever make. Remember, the generation that fought in WWII came home and many of them used the G.I. bill to get degrees. With those degrees they did amazing things including putting a man on the moon.

        February 9, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Tom C

      First of all to Mr. Spence, Thanks for writing this article and putting it out there for discussion!
      Mike, you made some great points. The best one being, "There is no more working you way through college". That really says a lot.
      I have two sons. The oldest will be starting college next fall and the youngest will follow him in four years. The thought of them being loaded down with debt they can't pay off in their lifetime is frightful. Equally, the thought of taking on more debt at a time that I'm looking toward retirement is also frightful. Something has to change!

      February 9, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
      • davidJ

        Then change it yourself. Good grades mean scholarships. Grants and student loans are available. I had my student loans paid off by the age of 30. And Mom and Dad had no more than you to work with. Your kids education is YOUR responsibility. Not mine. There is no reason why a kid can't attend college in the USA. And they CAN still work while in school– I see it done all the time. People are tired of the "poor me" excuses.

        February 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Joe

      The reason education is so expensive is because people have a lot of money available for it thanks to all the government loans (that tax payers pay for). If the government weren't loaning so much easy money for education, there would be less money available for education overall. Then, the cost of education would have to come down. Same thing applies to housing and everything else the government throws money at, the price goes up, and the tax payers foot the bill. No government subsidies or bail outs, period. Good students would still be able to obtain private loans if needed, and they would be forced to study something useful like science & technology, because they would have to pay back that loan, and a private lender might not loan them money for a major that won't even get them a job.

      February 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Michelle

      I also recently graduated from 8 years of undergrad/grad school and have to disagree with you. I also have a large amount of student loans (the equivalent to one years salary for my profession) and I knew when I signed the loan paperwork that I would need to pay them back. I do not think that it the tax payers should subsidize my education which allowed me to get a higher paying job. There are scholarships avaliable for bright students who are not able to pay for college. It might not be the university that was the first on your list but it is an option. In my case I chose the costlier school which was more convieient for me. There are also programs avaliable for high demand jobs (medicine) that pay back part to all of your student loans if you work in a specific area for 3-5 years. Or the military is an option. At times young people our age make it seem like they had to take out large loans to go to college because there are no other options. From my perspective there were other options for me that I did not take knowing that the route that I took would cost more money. On a side note I would encourage you to try to put a little bit extra money more than the minimum into your student loan payments, 20 years sounds like a long time for only $20,000 of loans.

      February 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  26. W.a.r.n.i.n.g!!

    Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things!

    † Atheism makes you stupid, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Mao & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Atheism have no holidays, no culture, no nothing. Waste of living in this planet...

    †† Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be healthy and seek their creator ††

    February 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Meh

      U mad bro?

      February 9, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • JJO

      The government has a vested interest in creating a highly educated workforce – it will bring back businesses to the U.S., these people will pay taxes on their income, and the government will have money to invest in public spending. Why is it that the middle class (or any class for that matter) expected to pay for the privilege to go to school when this is exactly what states want and NEED their citizens to do. This is a great idea!

      February 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Susan

      The Bible is not any more "right" than the Koran or any other holy book. It is just one version of Holy Law. There are many others. Most Atheists are highly educated, free thinkers.They enjoy holidays, love their families, are often deeply involved in higher cultural pursuits and are very kind people. They strive to find an answer for the Universe because for them, the God theory make no sense. They are also good people. They just have not been brainwashed. They present excellent, well crafted arguments and also deserve respect.

      February 10, 2012 at 9:02 am |
      • Susan

        That was in reply to w.a.r.n.i.n.g. of course.

        February 10, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Amused

      Nearly EVERY serial killer in history came from a strict and devoutly religious family! THAT is what oppressive, religious fundamentalism does to people! Most of the great scientists, physicists and philosophers are atheists!

      February 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • davidJ

      And how is this germain to the topic???

      February 10, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  27. OBG

    The author suggests that the government pay for college because the government already subsidizes other activities such as home ownership. We are sliding down the slippery slope. Why don't we just stop subsidizing everything and let people pay the full price of the goods and services they want.

    February 9, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Steve- Illinois

      That would make too much sense and the government wouldn't be able to milk 30-50% of the funds going through the process!

      February 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  28. JakeOL

    All the other countries who are beating us academically have governments that pay for college...why don't we? Oh right because the minute someone benefits instead of us...it's a "handout". Personally, I think you should serve the military (which we have the GI bill to pay part of college for) or the peace corps or some other organization where you have to "sacrifice" your time in order to benefit others in order to be "paid" back in tuition.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  29. Lori

    I don't have any kids. I already pay a ton of taxes to pay for all of the people who had children they can't support. You now suggest that I pay more on top of the $1500 per month I already pay for my own student loans? If you ever worked in private industry vs a bs job as a professor of liberal arts, you would understand that most people in this world earn money based on performance. Want more money, work either harder or smarter. Want an education, work two jobs in college like I did.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • citizen

      Becasue , my dear, we all paid taxes for you to educate yourself in your youth..so pay it forward please..

      February 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
      • Dan

        She is, if she pays property taxes, just like me.

        February 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
      • Lori

        Thanks Citizen–the guy below me is exactly right. No one spent a dime for my education past high school but me. And yes–I already pay property taxes not just on my house but on my business property as well. All that to earn a little more than the average guy and not by much. As a self employed person, I pay more taxes than anyone in a typical job guaranteed. AND- I get less access to service. So then, my dear (condescending stupid remark you think is so cute) pay for your own kids college or don't have them.

        February 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
      • Lori

        Or–even better–make them work their butt off like I did to get a college education. Shocking concept for most parents–let your kid have some skin in the game too.

        February 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Dan

      That's the liberal way. Don't try we will just give it to you at the expense of others.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
      • citizen

        No person on this earth walks on it free of any other person..we are all connected in every way...With every foot print you take on Americas soil, some tax payer is helping you in some way.....No person in this great country is with out help from the goverment ...some people, have enough money to pretent they dont get help...but they do...the wealthy just get help in different ways..

        February 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • Dan

        Actually Citizen since I work and pay federal taxes, state income tax, property tax, gas tax, sales tax. I am helping myself. Now there's a novel concept.

        February 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
      • citizen

        I CHALLENGE YOU TO LIVE OFF THE LAND WITH NO HELP FROM ANYONE THEN...since you want a total chaos system that is free from any government....LETS SEE YOU DO IT..TRY IT...YOU CANT...In fact, i bet you woudl get mamed from a wild animal and cry all the way home for someone to help..all you people think this green stuff is all there is dont you? SAD SAD WORLD...

        February 9, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
      • citizen

        OMG DAN I THINK YOU GOT IT..WE all HELP OURSELVES NOW DONT WE???? lol...THanks, you prove my point 😀

        February 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
      • Dan

        A college education is a priviledge not a right. If you can't afford it you can't go. If you truly want a college education go out and earn it. If you give somoene something for no reason except to give it to them they do not appreciate it.

        February 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • citizen

      Well my dear, i had worked 3 jobs and went to college...and during the while would volunteer my time rescuing wild life or working at soup kitchens..why? because i like people..and I CHOOSE PEOPLE OVER MONEY>..sorry you dont..I think its funny, that There are many hard working familys out there that still cant get ahead..but you probably wont feel that cuz your so selfish you dont get out of your box..

      February 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
      • davidJ

        Careful citizen– you're going to break your arm patting yourself on the back. What a typical, generic liberal response you have.... pardon me for a moment while I go puke.

        Say everyone, wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we all could be just like CITIZEN here? When I grow up, I want to be just like CITIZEN. Don't you???

        February 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • citizen

      The only difference between me and you , is I choose people over money. I would rather see my neighbors all help and contribute and everyone have enough..then one person grab it all and horde it..I Hate money..it only creates selfish behaviors that kill society and communities and famiilies...and that is where we differ..

      February 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
      • Ahuman

        I'm with CITIZEN on this one....what ever happened to humanity and caring for others??? It's always about ME ME ME ME...if you had to struggle then everyone else has to also right? WRONG! What happened to help others and that will make the sould feel better?

        February 9, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
      • Lori

        You hate money? Then give all yours away and then go "live off the land" as you suggested in your earlier intelligent comment. Even better idea....why don't I work 60 hours a week in my small business, you work 20 hours a week punching the clock and at the end of the week we can add our money up and split it in half so you don't have to work as hard. Makes even more sense doesn't it. Funny how you hate money as long as everyone else will kick in theirs to pay for you and you kids.

        February 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Bradley

      This "do not have children you can't afford" argument is really lame and short sighted. Here is why:

      1. The population is currently aging. These same children you are helping to "pay" for are going to be necessary to work many of the jobs that these old geysers will not be able to.

      2. Who is going to work for those slave wages that jobs pay these days if the labor pool decreases?

      3. Our manufacturing and agriculture industries are already going abroad to countries such as China and India which both have huge populations.

      4. These people who have children they can't afford are already living a more than shabby lifestyle in order to support those children, so why won't these filet Mignon eating snobs get off their back?

      February 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
      • Lori

        I have yet to see any study suggesting that this world is in trouble because it is underpopulated.

        February 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Amused

      Yes, I understand what you are saying because I worked THREE jobs to put myself through college! You obviously have not looked at the current costs of higher education! Nowdays, it is not even possible to "work your way through college"! There are NO jobs available to college age kids that would pay for more than 10% of college costs! If a college age person were to find a job that actually paid those costs, they wouldn't need to go to college! How do you expect our children and grandchildren to go to get an education like you and I did? Your ideal is just a faded memory. Wake up and smell the coffee...

      February 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  30. rj

    As a property owner a significant portion of my property taxes go towards supporting the schools in my town. I don't have any kids and therefore don't make use of the school system. Why should I have to pay for other people's kids to attend grade school? How is this any different than having taxpayers contribute towards providing higher education? Seems like a double-standard.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • citizen

      Wow. Selfish arent we? Well, what about all those people who ALREADY HELPED PAY THE TAXES OF YOU GOING TO SCHOOL? Because in fact, that already happened ..and now its your turn..this argument doesnt hold..because the one complainging already had other taxpayers invest in their education and now its your turn ..to help pay taxes to invest in others..its quite simple really...

      February 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
      • rj

        Exactly. And your same argument could be made for having the government provide higher education. Everyone would have that opportunity, so everyone would provide that opportunity to the next generation as well. Most of those who are strongly opposing government sponsored higher education would *FLIP* if they had to pay the full cost of their children's grade school & high school educations. (Also, BTW, I was fortunate enough to attend private school as a child and therefore did not cost the taxpayers a dime for my education).

        February 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
      • citizen

        wow. WHy do people always look at this from their own ego? If you open your brains, education should be a right not a privilage...but people are to stuck on their green to care about how educated others are.. I'm not wealthy but would i pay a few hundred more bucks a year to help us all get to school with out worry? YES – because I believe its every persons RIGHT....and education is the only path forward..you stop learning you die..

        February 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
      • citizen

        Private schools are subsidized..the goverment helps pay for them too...lol..try again

        February 9, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
      • Lori

        Citizen–do you read before you post this stupid crap? No one is suggesting they don't want to pay for high school educations, this is an article about college.

        February 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
      • citizen

        Well GOP LORI, only a gop would call me a second grade name..tisk tisk.. you have not read all the other posts..and you should take the time and see what i am replying too...

        February 9, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
      • davidJ

        Man– any port in the storm, right? The contortional logic liberals generate in trying to make others feel badly for not opening their wallets and bending over for an omnipotent government is truly amazing. Look citizen, it comes down to this: if YOU want to donate all you have, then go ahead and do it. I don't, and I won't, and I got a lot more company than you. And they're Tea Party folks too, and they're all still angry at the waste, arrogance and abuse that libs like you never seem to want to confront. None of us mind paying for a safe, secure and educated community. There's no question about that. But that's not enough for you, oh no- you want it all. You want license to get your hand into my affairs and my wallet. Guess what? the answer is NO! Your finger waving and condescension is not working, citizen, so drop it all.
        Rung by rung up the ladder to socialism, that's where your arguments will take us. To a place where there is no more individual merit, no work ethic, no initiative, little reward, and we all work essentially for the Democratic Party (i.e.- the federal government). You absolutely KNOW what you're saying, and doing, but you don't care because these values mean nothing to you. In your world, we all deserve it all, free of charge. Well, you can cut the BS, because everyone realizes now that it is not free, it never has been free, and never will be free of charge. We will all pay if you have your way, and WE ARE PAYING ENOUGH ALREADY. You, citizen, are exposed for the fraud you are.

        February 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • citizen

      Yes and as a property owner , you imbelish on other peoples taxes from the roads being paid for..and other city services..so dont pretend you dont benifit..

      February 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
      • Lori

        Spoken like the true person who probably has never paid property taxes. And....might want to reconsider your math...cost of college education \ # of years you will pay taxes = far more than a couple hundred dollars a year to help your fellow mankind. Apparently your college didn't teach math?

        February 9, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  31. tokencode

    Investing even more money into a failed education system and extending it another 4 years is not going to help anyone. We don't need any more liberal arts majors, we need engineers and scientists. If you want to fix the educational system ,only offer grants and loans to students getting a degree that is in demand and there is a shortage of workers. Providing free education at the taxpayers expense for more theatre and pschology majors doesn't help the students or ecomony.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • citizen

      Our education system has NOT failed...The Media sucks..America FAR SURPASSES Education even over CHINA...China does not allow most people to attend school, why do you think so many people work for 2$ hr i sweat shops? Not becasue they are educated.. only few elite..so yea, the numbers are scewed..there are a lot of bad teachers out there..but there are more good teachers then bad and its not something that can't be fixed..

      .What has failed is our wealthy 1% stopped creating work and are sitting on their butts collecting from wall street...this is BS.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • Bob

        It is apparent that you are the product of a socialist education. Your inability to use the English language is the exact reason why we should not subsidize college. Not everyone is mentally capable of earning a degree. Also, something given has no value. It must be earned. Allowing everyone to go to college will diminish that value. There are many affordable ways to earn a degree. There are community colleges that cost half of what large state universitiescharge. After getting an Associates degree, you can then transfer to a smaller state univeristy and pay 3/4 for the remainder of your degree. Grants and scholarships can cover the majority of the costs. The military will also pay for school. There is the G.I. bill, ROTC and even loan repayment programs. How hard are you willing to work to earn your free education that already exists?

        February 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  32. bill E

    I do not believe this. Government paying = taxpayers pay. The government cannot manage the money they get now and I do not want to spend money on deadbeats.

    February 9, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Derek

      Thats why everyone that accepts government funding for their education should be required to agree to pay back what the government paid plus interest if they do not complete college for whatever reason. That ensures that people who accept government funding for a college education will be covered for their education and those who do not finish will pay back the government and the tax payers for their wasted resources.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
      • Dan

        Of course OWS wants the goverment to forgive their loans because their liberal arts degrees are worthless in the real world

        February 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  33. jason

    Interesting. I believe the government should pay for college. The Chinese and Indians do it and in fact they churn out thousands of engineers, scientists and doctors annually. The U.S. churns out the hundreds and that number is falling due too persoanl cost. This is the main reason the U.S. is losing its edge. Now I also agree with the right that we just dont give out free education. We should do it like China and India, only the top ten perfent get a "free ride". The catch is you have to train to be an engineer, scientist or doctor. Two you have too work in a certain place or field for so kany years, your told where to work. Kind of like a work to study program. The Chinese and Indians do it why not us.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • barkallnight

      I was taught as a young boy that the U.S.A. was the greatest country on Earth. Now all that I hear is "China is doing it, why can't we". I guess we lost the cold war.

      February 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
      • tokencode

        No one is preventing you from moving to china.... while you're there please talk to some of the workers at Foxconn, or try to surf the web for some anti-government websites, or just go out in public yelling how the government is corrupt

        February 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
      • citizen

        America is STILL the best place on earth..our media wants us to not think htat way so GOP can get back into office..what the media does not talk about is how seriously bad communism is...no matter what their economy doing good is only temperary – Communisum stuts chinas growth...

        February 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Dan

      First the government pays for college then the goverment tells you what your degree is going to be. Some much for freedom. You want to go to college... earn it!!!!!

      February 9, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  34. John Deatherage

    The Government can only GIVE what it TAKES from another...

    February 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • davidJ

      Amen there Mr Deatheridge. It is really that simple. And the reason why I am so angry with some of you is because I cannot stand for them to take any more. get it?? I can't afford it.

      February 12, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  35. Ct

    College money is easy to get. This causes them to be crowded....schools raise the cost. Supply Demand. Liberals answer to fixing any problem is government.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • barkallnight

      Why should someone have to take on a hugh debt just for an opportunity to join the workforce? It makes absolutely no sense. Besides if you have a more educated population then your country is richer and crime rates decrease.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • davidJ

        Why?? Because they should have to EARN it ! That's why! What's wrong with that? It's called the work ethic, and apparently you are not familiar with it, or someone never enlightened you to its existence and the rewards that could await you if you embraced it.
        I am 63, and I had to work all my career for what some of you twenty and thirty-somethings are whining for as if you had a dam ned birthright to it. Well news flash– you DON'T! Shut up, get off ebay at the office, quit your incessant texting, and go back to work. Whiny wusses...

        February 12, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  36. Nathan F

    I am an economics professor, and was disheartened by the lack of rigor in his analysis. However, as much as this wouldn't really change much and probably end up costing society as a whole more, it would still be a less waste of $30 billion than that same money on more guns and bombs.
    What would happen is, as everyone has college degrees, the value of a college degree would continue to fall. Now, with no incentive to major in something that would have a return on investment, we'd have a flood of new students in to liberal arts programs (like Poli Sci) that really wouldn't add anything to the economy. And finally, colleges would have absolutely NO incentive to cut costs if they knew government was footing the bill! Professor salaries would go up as the more elastic side of the market benefits from subsidies.
    So again, as a professor I am all for it!

    February 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • SukieTawdry

      Mr. Spence is a political science and Africana studies professor. How much rigor can one reasonably expect?

      February 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  37. ArchieDeBunker

    Yeah, right! And once it's free, it will be scorned and looked at with derision by the people who should be taking advantage of it – see, for example, American High Schools + Attendance and Graduation Figures.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  38. Jason

    ENOUGH with the free hand outs already. Get a job and pay for it yourself.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • SFC Mike

      Getting rid of that mortgage interest decuction and some of the other "handouts" that a lot of citizens and businesses receive?

      February 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • citizen


      February 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  39. Brett

    Mr. Spence,
    Life "owes" you exactly jack squat. All of this "everything should be free" bovine scat works great ... until you run out of someone else's money. If you -really- want to do something to help people, put an end to this "everybody is equal there are no losers everybody gets a trophy no child left behind social promotion" BS, get people get off their fat a**es and EARN what they get.
    By the way, what part of $1.6 TRILLION deficit do you not understand?

    February 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  40. Brett

    Mr. Spence,
    Life "owes" you exactly jack squat. All of this "everything should be free" bovine scat works great ... until you run out of someone else's money. If you -really- want to do something to help people, put an end to this "everybody is equal there are no losers everybody gets a trophy no child left behind social promotion" BS, get people get off their fat a**es and EARN what they get.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  41. Red

    Typical liberal college assistant professor. Just like Obamacare where there won't be enough doctors to go around, where are all these students going to go to college? How many years do they get? Whose is going to pick up trash, deliver mail, shovel dirt with everyone now having a $250,000 college degree (yes, the cost will skyrocket)? Heck, I sell cars – my grand idea is for the government to buy EVERYONE a new car every other year! YAHOO!!

    February 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  42. damu

    How about the government just stop paying for everything except jail and the military and social security. Everything else your on your own.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  43. James

    Also, it seems like every job requires a college degree. Most jobs do not require that level of education except for Medicine, Engineering, and Law. Even the engineers are having difficulty getting jobs even though there seems to be a demand for them. Most jobs only require a 2 year degree or an apprenticeship to provide the needed training. 4 year colleges are over rated and usually don't provide the practical skills that are needed.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • ArchieDeBunker

      Beg your pardon, James, but GOOD engineers are not having any trouble at all getting jobs. Like every other profession, those who are only pretending get sifted out pretty quickly.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  44. James

    Since we need an education to get through life that used to be provided in grades K – 12. Now, it appears that society has decided we need 4 more years of education to allow us to attain the same level of life that the 12 years used to provide. Then, society ought to be made to pay for those 4 years since society has decided that is what we need now.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • goTparT

      OMG. Put down your video game controller, get off the couch and go apply for a grant or scholarship at a community college near you. There are also work/study programs, but that may cut into your play time. My husband and I did it and our kids did it; so can you.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  45. goTparT

    None of this is necessary. There are hundreds of grants, scholarships and work/study programs already available to people who need help with college tuition. If people don't want to put forth the effort to take advantage of the help that's out there now, why should ANY more taxpayer money go to pay for people too lazy to help themselves? Besides, if you don't have the initiative to help yourself pay for your OWN college education, how successful are you going to be as a student??

    February 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  46. Wvmountaineers

    So you dont think you can pay for your 5 kids to go to college. Hmmmm, let me think about that. I have 2 kids cause thats all i can comfortably afford. Maybe I should have some more, so you can pay their way.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  47. dzztw

    Form a foundation to deliver tuition loans for "qualified students". Whoever gets a loan must pay back with interest, such as compulsory 10% taxable income in his/her tax return. No bankruptcy is allowed.
    Initial foundation funding can be issued with foundation stock (may be with Government guaranteed). Foundation reserve can only be invested in US bonds. Foundation can be governed by Department of Education.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  48. ed goeters

    where is the money coming from , are we cutting something else to pay for it ? Tax the rich ? Tell me where we separate from socialism – healthcare, college, whats next

    February 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  49. dave

    Im tired of hearing we need to help middle class... Theres a much larger class with need of more help its called the lower class.... But i guess the ppl with money don't care about them. There just the people "Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep."

    February 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • gumbo

      the people who haul trash in NYC are middle class...they make close to $100k.

      February 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  50. callmegee

    Dude. I think it is outrageous that you want other people to pay for your kids education. The government can only spend what the people give it or it can borrow on the premise of people paying off the loans, I am not down for putting your kids through college. Suck it up and pay your own way in life!

    February 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  51. Jake

    The government should first work on making our K-12 system worthwhile. Teach kids what they need to have a chance at success without a college degree (maybe trade classes in the latter years of High School). But it's not a bad national investment to pay for college if we set realistic standards as to the qualifications of the people that can go and the number of people.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  52. linda operle

    Why not? We already fund public education whether we have children or not. I don't object to paying for college as long as I am earning money. The problem in this day is being asked to pay for an education that has been of no use to me. I think repayment must be tied into a job. This would make University's more active in getting students placed in the job market. No job no loan repayment – simple.

    February 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
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