Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Free Tuition

There is a movement to have free tuition at state universities funded by the Feds, aka the taxpayers. Is this a good idea?

Frankly if students who perform well and demonstrate their abilities, then in state tuition at their state schools is great. West Virginia already has it for high performers and New York used to have Regents scholarships before they did away with Regents. It makes sense for those who are doing well but not MIT or Harvard yet.

But one must beware of several factors:

1. It should be performance based. What performance? Class ranking, grades, even a competitive exam. There must be some clear demonstrable level of performance. It must also be blind to anything else. Otherwise it will be gamed.

2. The Feds must be hands off. We all know what the Feds do...drive up costs. How can this be done, block grants perhaps.

3. Avoid social engineering. If one wants people to perform then make the rules clear and play the game. We do not social engineer football, basketball, etc.

4. Promote productive studies. We really do not need too many fine art majors or French literature majors. We do need engineers. We don't need more lawyers, we do need competent physicians.

5. Reward performance and punish failure. Yes, if they fail then drop them. Give a second chance but do not let them linger.

6. Set standards, real standards for real life. The goal of education is to be productive. Productive in society. One can always study philosophy later. Or at the same time if one can fit it in.

Just some thoughts.