One of the core platform campaign issues for proud socialist Bernie Sanders is higher education reform. And by “reform,” he means annihilate the whole existing system and just make college free for everybody.
The plan is ill-advised, broken, and downright stupid for a variety of reasons, but one especially big reason was just revealed by a new study.
The study aimed to figure out who would benefit the most from a college system like the one proposed by Bernie Sanders, but what the researchers found was surprising to say the least.
Just try and guess which social group would stand to gain the most from free college tuition…
Yep, according to this study, it’s the wealthiest people in America who would get the most out of free college. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for somebody like Sanders, does it?
Daily Caller gives us the details:
The proposal by self-proclaimed socialist Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to make tuition free at America’s public colleges and universities would provide almost $17 billion in free handouts to already-comfortable American families in the upper half of income distribution. Meanwhile, Bernie’s plan would cause just $13.5 billion to trickle down to families in America’s poor half — the ones who would have considerably more trouble covering room, board, textbooks, travel and other non-tuition costs.
The numbers come from new analysis by The Brookings Institution, a a center-left Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
“Under the Sanders free college proposal, families from the top half of the income distribution would receive 24 percent more in dollar value from eliminating tuition than students from the lower half of the income distribution,” Brookings researcher Matthew M. Chingos explains.
“The non-tuition costs of attending college, including living expenses, are larger than the costs of tuition and fees for most students. Free college, which does not address these expenses, leaves families from the bottom half of the income distribution with nearly $18 billion in annual out-of-pocket college costs that would not be covered by existing federal, state, and institutional grant programs.”
Essentially, then, Chingos found that ridding America’s public four-year colleges and universities — and also its public two-year institutions — of the vexing problem of a tuition price would result in a subsidy for rich people. Rich people could apply their new subsidy to the total cost of attending college. Poor people, while eligible for the same subsidy, would be less able to use it because they would not be able to absorb non-tuition college costs as easily.
College students “from the most affluent 25 percent of families represent 11 percent of students at public colleges, but would receive 18 percent of the benefits if tuition were eliminated,” the Brookings researcher notes. These rich students are typically dependent on their rich parents for cash.
The poorest quartile of students represent 14 percent of the students at public colleges and universities. They would derive 16 percent of the benefits from free tuition.
Meanwhile, students in the vast middle (many of them making their way through the world independent of whatever wealth their parents possess) would get the shaft. The middle 50 percent of students would only get 33 percent of the benefits under the free-public-college plan touted by Sanders.
A big reason that a free-college plan provides such limited benefits for students who are neither rich nor poor is that these students are most likely to be muddling through school part-time.
“College enrollment among low-income students might rise relative to other students, but it also might fall if competition for places at public colleges increases as higher-income students shift from the private to the public sector given the change in price,” the report also notes.
Typically, Sanders would just get criticized for having pie-in-the-sky idealism that can’t be put into practice. But at least pie-in-the-sky ideas are good in theory. This one isn’t even a good daydream.
Tell us what you think in the comments.