You may have heard about this story back in January when it first broke, but it has come into the limelight over the weekend because two Michigan lawmakers are set to unveil their plan to offer free public college tuition to all high school graduates in the state of Michigan.
Sounds crazy right?
Well the lawmakers certainly have their fair share of detractors, but they have garnered a lot of support as well.
Here is how the plan is set to work: [box] The proposal would allow Michigan high school graduates to get grants of up to roughly $9,500 a year for attending college. The grants could be used to pay tuition or associated costs at public universities and community colleges in the state. The plan is to pay for it by taking and saving the closings from tax loopholes, taxing Internet sales, and shaving lucrative state contracts with private vendors by 6 percent.[/box]
This plan sounds great in theory, but it is based on tax increases for the citizens of Michigan. In case you are not aware, this is the same state that has been decimated by the recent blows to the auto industry, as well as the virtual collapse of the local economy around Detroit. Michiganders don’t exactly need a tax increase right now.
Supposedly, the plan could be put into play without increasing the tax burden of private citizens: [box] Democrats say the plan could be accomplished without tax increases for Michigan citizens. But some businesses or others who could lose tax credits or exemptions under the plan would face higher tax bills than before, which would be a concern for Republicans.[/box]
In the end, I believe it comes down to the question of whether or not it is a good idea to increase taxes and give away virtually free rides to the state’s high school graduates?
Will a free ride to college cause students to give up. If getting into, and paying for college is no more difficult than just showing up, will students continue to have a drive to succeed?
Is there a correlation between paying for college and being invested in your own success?
To be honest, I believe that there is. Just as someone appreciates a vehicle that they have struggled to pay for, they will appreciate a college education if they have had to work to pay for it.
However, working hard to fund your education should also be balanced by the fact that college tuition is skyrocketing through the roof, and students are finding it much more difficult to pay for college. Finding money for college is not easy, and many students are having to rely on student loans just to make ends meet.
Will our economy be better off with higher taxes or with more student loans that cause another economic downturn when the student loan bubble finally bursts?
Pick your poison.
I love the questions you raise here – playing the Devil’s advocate and all. Didn’t Hillary Clinton campaign about a $10k savings account for each child during her run for president in ’08? Like that idea, it’s great in theory, but tough to execute.
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@Elizabeth — Thanks! I think we as a society need to ask the tough questions. Look what following the status quo has gotten us!
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In my opinion a society and economy is better off when all its citizen are able to afford it in one way or another to go to college without ending up with a huge debt. This does not mean that it has to be free. A reasonable fee is acceptable. I applaud students who work in the weekends and holidays to pay a part of their living and tuition. But to increase taxes make it free for all is a step too far.
@Van Beek — I agree with you to a point. So many people would be better off without a college degree, and without wasting any money (or taking money for college from someone else). Education is paramount, but this comes in many forms, outside of a college degree.
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