Jeb: Hey let’s do “free tuition” and pay back students who don’t graduate in four years

posted at 6:41 pm on August 26, 2015 by Taylor Millard

Jeb Bush has a fantastically awful idea when it comes to college education. He thinks community college students should get “free” tuition for two years. If that’s sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the exact same thing President Barack Obama proposed in January. Which shows how completely hypocritical Bush is because he came out against Obama’s plan in January. Oh, but Bush’s plan gets even more #headdesk inducing. He wants universities to PAY BACK students who don’t graduate in four years.

If kids can’t graduate with a four-year degree in four years, there ought to be some payback to their families or to them, or their got to be some support for the loans they’ve taken out.

This is so fiscally irresponsible and reprehensible, it’s not even funny. For one, it would cause major federal budget issues because the government has increasingly gotten involved in higher education over the last 50 years. Cato Institute wrote in 2009 how higher education federal spending hit $36.6B, not counting the $31.4B in research grants. College Raptor’s guide to financial aid shows the federal government covers 58% of student aid nationwide. This includes up to $5500 in Perkins Loans and up to $12,500 in Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans for undergrad students. This doesn’t count the Pell Grants or Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants available either. So it’s possible, Bush’s plan could end up making the federal government pay TWICE in both loans and the payback, because the universities sure aren’t going to use athletics fees to pay students back.

There’s also the problem of how student loans actually make college more expensive. Ex-Secretary of Education William Bennett said in 1987 colleges and universities are raising rates because the Federal loan subsidies help “cushion the increase.” The National Association of College and University Business Officers released a study on Tuesday saying around 90% of freshmen are on financial aid. NACUBO President and CEO John Walda said private colleges and universities are increasing discounts and doing more grant money to students. This goes along with a Federal Reserve Bank of New York study in July noting the connection between student loans and the rise of college tuition. It found universities increased tuition around 65% due to changes in the federal loan program (emphasis mine).

From the second stage, when we control for all forms of aid, we find that each additional Pell Grant dollar to an institution leads to a roughly 55 cent increase in sticker price tuition. For subsidized loans, we find a somewhat larger passthrough effect of about 70 percent. We also find a loading of tuition on unsubsidized loans of 30 percent. All of these effects are highly significant and are consistent with the Bennett Hypothesis. We further control for changes in other revenue sources at the institutional level, and the possibility that certain institutional characteristics may be correlated with both these changes and with tuition changes. We find that the subsidized loan effect is quite robust across specifications both in magnitude and significance, while the Pell Grant and unsubsidized loan effect are less so.

So this shows there’s a connection between rising tuition rates and federal loans. So why is Bush proposing even more subsidization? It could basically end up only rewarding students who waste their time and don’t graduate in four years, or switch majors every semester and end up with a bunch of minors and no real major. Or students who decide in their next-to-last semester of college to flip their major and minor and have to stay an extra semester. Not only that, this could also be seen as a subsidy for student athletes who play for five seasons instead of four. Rice University in Houston announced Tuesday they were going to start doing this. They are a private university, but they also get federal contracts. University of Texas at San Antonio is a public university and they’re going to start giving student-athletes around $2500. University of Houston isn’t one either and student-athletes there get about $4000 if they live on campus and $5500 for those who live off campus. How will the public universities pay for it? Probably by getting more money from the federal government.

So how can the rising cost of tuition be stopped? Cato suggests phasing out federal student aid, plus federal aid to institutions. They also want to get rid of all grant programs which don’t involve national security. This isn’t a bad idea, but it’s going to take time, patience, and the willingness of the electorate to keep their leaders accountable. There isn’t a political offseason, and there never was. This is what the left realized years ago and the right needs to realize a lot more. It shouldn’t take an audio blast from Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Mark Levin to get something done. People have got to start paying attention more and do a better job at holding the people they elected into office accountable. It’s the ONLY way those who promise to be all “freedom and liberty” will actually stay freedom and liberty.

When Bush proposes policies like this, it’s no wonder why Republicans haven’t won a presidential election since 2004. John McCain tried to run to the left of Obama on mortgages. Mitt Romney wanted to get rid of Obamacare, but also went on NBC and talked about how he was able to get everyone in Massachusetts insured. How is the GOP supposed to be trusted when their candidates propose higher spending without cuts to pay for said spending? This is why fiscal conservatives and libertarians revolted in 2009 with the Tea Party protests. They were looking for fiscal responsibility. What Bush is proposing isn’t that. As much as bloggers have been slamming Donald Trump for not being conservative, Bush is showing exactly why conservatives and libertarians don’t, and can’t, trust him.


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Comments

Terrible idea. There is something to be said about ‘free’ undergrad (yes I know it really isn’t free), but the only way it would truly work is if you closed down 75% of the colleges in the country and cut the college population by 75%.

A large factor of how europe has much lower fees for university (besides higher taxes) is as a % of population, less students go to college.

uatu1878 on August 27, 2015 at 9:54 AM

Oh now I get it. ¡Jeb! doesn’t want to be president. Dad is forcing to to run, but he doesn’t wanna so he’s sabotaging his own campaign, because no one is this goofy on purpose. It’s like, an epiphany.

Akzed on August 27, 2015 at 9:56 AM

I said the opposite of what I meant to say you morons.

Akzed on August 27, 2015 at 9:57 AM

Maybe Jeb thinks polling numbers are like golf scores?

mjbrooks3 on August 27, 2015 at 9:58 AM

“We should award every person in America a doctorate, then everyone in America would earn at least $100,000 a year”

– weed is good.

Monkeytoe on August 27, 2015 at 10:17 AM

When many tell him that he is too far left to be a republican, he jumps to the left of Sanders….?
Gee I wonder why his campaign is floundering…

ruttles on August 27, 2015 at 10:56 AM

People get a college education

College educated people make $15k/yr (on average) more than high school graduates

Over a working lifetime, say 50 years, that’s $750,000 more taxable income, again on average.

But hey, republicans are too stupid to do the math, what a surprise.

triple on August 26, 2015 at 11:36 PM

Yo “mathboy” – you forgot to subtract the avg 5 years of earnings that you lose while in school. That would be $15k plus the average – say another $35k – x 5 for another $250k loss – front-loaded for a much higher net present value over 50 years. Who again is too stupid to do the math.

Not to mention the possibility of college-educated individual retiring early.

LarryinLA on August 27, 2015 at 11:10 AM

The average in-state tuition is $9139, x4 = $36556

So that means giving people “free” college education makes the government about $75,000/graduate.

But hey, republicans are too stupid to do the math, what a surprise.

triple on August 26, 2015 at 11:36 PM

You forgot about room and board and other living expenses over those 4 years of college – so the costs are much higher.

And you completely miss and at the same time make the point, that not everyone has the brains or work ethic to get through college and get a useful degree like engineering, hard sciences, or even business. So deduct from the government’s “profit” all of these costs that don’t result in a productive skilled graduate actually capable of making a decent living.

dentarthurdent on August 27, 2015 at 11:27 AM

Pay back students who don’t graduate in four years? Obviously Jeb has forgotten what college is like.

RebeccaH on August 27, 2015 at 11:32 AM

He wants universities to PAY BACK students who don’t graduate in four years.

Unintended consequences – EVERY student WILL graduate – the colleges will make sure of that – so few, if any, will ever actually learn anything because they won’t need to in order to get the degree – so college degrees will become completely worthless in the job market.

dentarthurdent on August 27, 2015 at 11:38 AM

Tequila shots on Jeb

LarryinLA on August 27, 2015 at 11:46 AM

Pay them back for what? They still come away with an education, even if incomplete, and the responsibility for completing it is entirely on the student.

Should a restaurant pay me back for a dinner I didn’t finish? A theater for a movie I walked out of? A retailer for a garment I bought but left hanging in the closet and never wore?

What a stupid idea. What amazes me is that Jeb Bush doesn’t even seem to understand just how stupid it is.

cheeflo on August 27, 2015 at 12:23 PM

so few, if any, will ever actually learn anything because they won’t need to in order to get the degree – so college degrees will become completely worthless in the job market.

dentarthurdent on August 27, 2015 at 11:38 AM

i think that boat has already sailed, sport.

WaldoTJ on August 27, 2015 at 12:38 PM

How are ya gonna pay for that, bud?

Othniel on August 27, 2015 at 12:42 PM

i think that boat has already sailed, sport.

WaldoTJ on August 27, 2015 at 12:38 PM

They’re getting there – but I wouldn’t say all degrees are worthless yet.

dentarthurdent on August 27, 2015 at 12:56 PM

What a stupid idea. What amazes me is that Jeb Bush doesn’t even seem to understand just how stupid it is.

cheeflo on August 27, 2015 at 12:23 PM

Also – if the gubmint is going to pay for everyone to go to college for free in the first place – what debt is there to “pay back” to the failed student’s family?
If it’s “free” – they haven’t spent anything for the kid’s wasted time in college – so why would they need to be “paid back” anything?

dentarthurdent on August 27, 2015 at 1:01 PM

The Bush family are no more than PUBLIC SERVICE WHORES that suck off the teat of the Federal Sow, not at “Welfare” per se like those gals did wanting the Obama Stash several years ago, but make no mistake, he and whole clan suckle off that teat like no other family in the Ruling Class.

In fact, the Clintons and the Obamas will be emulating them in the years to come.

NO MO BUSHES.

PappyD61 on August 27, 2015 at 1:01 PM

Note to the GOP: I will not vote for Jeb!, and I will not vote for Trump. Please try harder. Walker or Carson, for example. Cruz, maybe.

pendell2 on August 27, 2015 at 1:05 PM

LarryinLA on August 27, 2015 at 11:10 AM

It shot off his pop gun and you responded with a full broadside

Very nice

Mr Soames on August 27, 2015 at 1:33 PM

If kids can’t graduate with a four-year degree in four years, there ought to be some payback to their families or to them, or their got to be some support for the loans they’ve taken out.

If kids can’t graduate with a four-year degree in four years, the government ought to stop loaning them more money…better yet, they shouldn’t loan the money without proper documentation on the ability to pay it back…or collateral…even better yet, get the Federal Government out of the student loan business.

airupthere on August 27, 2015 at 2:03 PM

Subprime mortgage crisis: Evil banks knowingly gave money to people who couldn’t afford to repay it.

College loan crisis: Evil universities make students attend school long enough to achieve the credits required for graduation, and the benevolent government knowingly gives money to people who can’t afford to repay it.

airupthere on August 27, 2015 at 2:06 PM

That’s special.

Not very educated approach there, Jeb. The ways to exploit that just bubble out of my fertile mind.

There is no “Free stuff”, just taken from someone else.

Though I think he should feel “free” to drop out. Now.

ProfShadow on August 27, 2015 at 2:07 PM

Jeb: Hey let’s do “free tuition” and pay back students who don’t graduate in four years

Jackass.

The Clintoons and the Bush’s can all go to hell. Had more than my fill of both.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 27, 2015 at 3:34 PM

I hope Taylor doesn’t continue criticizing Bush and making sense like this, his job might be at risk.

YahwehPundit on August 27, 2015 at 3:41 PM

instead of polls on candidates, someone needs to publish the a list of the candidates in order of how much they want to increase the federal budget

RonK on August 27, 2015 at 6:08 PM

Welp–that’s a wrap. Jeb just moved down below Cruz on my list for NOOOOO!
He’s managed to make Trump seem reasonable. Depressing.

One more thing–I’m not a fan of Mass HCplan. That said, the author throws Mitt under the bus using Romneycare as an example of “higher spending without cuts to pay for said spending.” They chose not to mention that the plan was paid for by cutting the spending the state was paying for millions of non-insured ER patients annually.

bswaner on August 27, 2015 at 6:46 PM

It should be noted Charles C.W. Cooke disagrees with my assessment of Bush’s comments on “free community college.” His piece is definitely worth the read.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/423057/jebs-salutary-nod-federalism-charles-c-w-cooke?target=author&tid=23105

Taylor Millard on August 27, 2015 at 10:26 PM

Jeb: Hey let’s do “free tuition” and pay back students who don’t graduate in four years

Speaking of “jackass like” statements.

1. Not everyone is suited for college. Many would be happier learning a trade. What about them? (Or, is a plumber’s apprentice just a minor leaker?)

2. It has been my experience (having been in colleges for 55 years) that a major reason many students don’t finish, or finish in 4 years
is that they don’t study. So to get these people through and not lose money, you can bet academic standards will drop like a runaway elevator. (He graduated as a 3 letter man: A, B, & C.)

3. However, dropping standards to sandbox level probably won’t matter because students with half-a-brain will make sure they don’t graduate in 4 years–thus saving 60 to 100 thousand in costs. Duh!
How long would colleges last under that system? (They would become disappear groups, just like ad hoc committees.)

4. Finally, the main reason why adults don’t finish in 4 years is outside responsibilities. Child-rearing or work often makes it impossible. This is certainly not the fault of colleges, so why should they have to pay for it? (Adults will encouraged to either put off or extend the college experience so long that you’ll have to give them a dinner and a watch instead of a diploma.)

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on August 28, 2015 at 3:37 AM

If it’s “free” – they haven’t spent anything for the kid’s wasted time in college – so why would they need to be “paid back” anything?

dentarthurdent on August 27, 2015 at 1:01 PM

Good point. It’s like a tax refund for people who don’t pay taxes.

cheeflo on August 28, 2015 at 8:28 AM

So we need another four years of socialism? Sure, sign me up.

As if.

NoPain on August 28, 2015 at 6:43 PM

Considering education is Jeb’s super special subject, it’s a very dumb idea. Hey, but at least we know “he has the temperament” and that once-elected would not do anything the voters wanted anyway (not that this latest brain-fart is high on anyone’s list).

virgo on August 28, 2015 at 7:23 PM