Have you guys seen what is going on with higher education in the state of New York? How do you think this will affect students, schools, etc?
I think one of the best things about federalism is that it creates case-study cases. The same way we can use Massachusets before widespread legalization of same-sex marriage to study the economic effects of gay weddings, or Portugal to study the effect of drug legalization, we'll be able to use New York to study the effects of free college.
I foresee a problem right off the bat- the jobs are in Manhattan, but housing there is too expensive for students and the costs of commuting are outrageous. So I foresee a lot of students thinking they can get their education in upstate New York and then get a job in the city for a few years, but then being unable to find housing or offers in the state.
There's a simple solution to this- do everything you can to limit the time you spend on the state's dime to limit the amount of time you'll have to stay afterward. That means students will do things like invest in AP and Dual Enrollment options in high school, overload on courses, and avoid failing courses. Those could result in positive externalities.
On the other hand, a negative externality will be that universities will raise their tuitions since the customers aren't the ones paying the bill- the government is. That's moral hazard. And it'll keep out-of-state students (unless they also qualify) out of NY Universities. It may also negatively impact community college enrollment. So those are the negatives I foresee.
I think it's a fair deal, but I want to see how it works out before I advocate pro-free college staes
My son is in college, and he talks a lot about the financial status of his friends. He has friends who attend because their parents pay for it, and most of them slack off. He has friends who pay using student loans, but he doesn't think they work harder even though they stress more about paying back the debt. He has friends who are attending on scholarship, and they seem to be the ones who work the hardest because it was never a guaranteed thing that they would get to go to college.Based on what my son has said, if the government pays for kids to go to school, they won't work very hard because they have no skin in the game. So what happens if these kids skate through school on someone else's dime and they graduate, but they don't have the skills to compete for the open positions in New York, which every student from that program will be vying for? They're unemployed in one of the most expensive states in the nation and deprived of the freedom to leave that state.