Friday, July 5, 2013

Free College Education

Oregon is Doing Free Higher Education  Obviously the author and editors need a bit of Higher education themselves - If you're paying 3% of your salary for 24 Years - IT'S NOT FREE.  

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.    On the other hand the only people who will suffer under this system is - well the system, which makes some very grand assumptions about the economic future of the graduates, and the idiots who take them up on it. 

If I had paid 3% of my annual income for 24, years my education would have cost - well none of your damn business but WAY more than I paid.

If you look at the unemployment numbers for those under the age of 25 - it's not pretty, and I suspect a large percentage of those who are employed are part time, minimum wage.  3% does't seem like much until you realize they're talking about 3% of what is already not enough to live on.   Gee aren't you glad you went to college to get that worthless degree now?  Ah maybe you are - because it's likely that 4 year degree only cost you $36,000 instead of the roughly $84,000 it will cost an in-state student - today*.   It's a bargain, assuming you ever get above minimum wage.   Given that 76% of people live paycheck to paycheck - I'm betting you'll wish you still had that 3% and had headed off to a 2 year trade school instead.   

If you're going into one of the STEM fields, it may still be a bargain but not nearly so much.  Assuming you average $100,000 a year over the next 24 years (probably low)  Your education cost you $72,000.  If you land an IT job at say $90K and average about 3% a year in raises (don't bet on it) Your education cost you $92,951 or an $9,000 premium.   If you started at $115,000 then it cost you $118,771 or a $35,000 premium.   There is actually a good chance that you'll be subsidizing the idiot working in HR with the degree in feminist studies.

Now since I can do the math - one might assume that the folks at the Universities, and possibly even a Congressional Aid or two can do the math - it doesn't bode well for the System. Roughly 25% of degrees granted are STEM - which means 75% of the graduates don't have the ability to pay back the costs.  So, perhaps we need to move to a different set of assumptions**.

Given these numbers, your Underwater Basket Weaving degree will still cost you $36,000 instead of $42,000 but your STEM degree?  Well you still pay the same amount - call it $105,000 but what they gave you was only $42,000.   So Yeah that works very well for them.  Lots of subsidizing of 17th Century Lesbian Studies degrees.   Yep Keep all those idiots who couldn't get a job in the real world employed teaching kids useless information, so they can create more over educated, useless people.  Brilliant.  

I can see one possible alternative to this - Adjust the salaries of the professors & staff to reflect the probable income of their students. The STEM folks still get screwed, but then I expect the number of professors willing to work for $18K*** a year  for teaching Native American Lesbian History, might cause a few to retire.  Which might reduce the number of useless degrees in the world.  Another possibility to increase the payback % and or lengthen the period.  

Now if your Matt (see article above) you like the FAIRNESS of the whole thing so much your willing to overlook a few issues - like loosing money - or forcing one set of students (the smart ones) subsidize the a larger set of students (the lazy or not so bright ones). 

He has another article here that show's he really has put some though into this - and it could possibly work but he seems to think that the folks who are smart and work really hard should subsidize the rest.  Even though his math works better then the Oregon Governments, he still thinks it FREE - it's not FREE Matt!  Doesn't mean it's a bad idea - I just don't care for the implementation. It doesn't take into account future value of the money you spend today and will continue to spend until you have a crop of graduates.   So there's a lot of money tied up with NO return on investment for 4 or 5 years and even then the ROI is pretty low - so low that only a Government is going to do it (which should tell you something right there).   It doesn't take into account that a Degree in Chemical Engineering is considerably more difficult that a degree in Art History.  Or that it's going to cost the CE a lot more money.   There's an awful lot of socialist/communist type Fairness going on here - You're smart and worked really hard so of course you should subsidize those of us who aren't or don't.  That's not fairness - that's slavery.

If you want it to be fair then everyone should pay the same amount, rich/poor,  hard working/lazy.  The product is the same right?  It's a college degree.   If your going to charge considerably more for STEM degrees because they have a significantly higher intrinsic value then perhaps that should be reflected in the school budgets and salaries?   

* Some assumptions - OSU suggests that Tuition and Books will cost the average (in state) student approximately $10,500 per year.  If you add in room and board that's another $10,587   THIS YEAR, anyone seeing these costs going down?     So depending on what they cover, and let's assume its tuition, books, supplies, and boarding then the layout is about $21,000 a year. - Four years - $84,000.

**They're only going to cover Tuition and Books - so $10,500  You still need to come up with the rest. - using OSU's numbers that's only another $10,500 a year - piece of cake right?

*** Yes - I just made that number up - I did no MATH - you should be used to that by now, it's what Congress and the Media do all the time.

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