'Free college' sounds enchanting – until you consider cost to taxpayers

Friday, October 18, 2019
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

college tuition costsAn education policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation says another state's proposal for tuition-free college is riddled with problems, not the least of which is the burden it would place on the state's taxpayers.

Under legislation currently being considered by state legislators in Santa Fe, high school students in New Mexico who maintain a 2.5 grade point average would be able to attend a state public or community college for free starting next fall. If the measure is approved by the legislature, the Land of Enchantment would become the second state to provide tuition-free two- and four-year public and community colleges. New York was the first.

Mary Clare Amselem of The Heritage Foundation says politicians base these "free tuition" programs on the false assumption that everyone should go to college.

Amselem

"I think that's quite limited thinking," she states. "And of course, we can't forget about the enormous cost that this would be on taxpayers."

Unlike the New York program, New Mexico's would place no cap on per family income, the education policy analyst notes.

"And so I think as problematic as free college is, it's even more problematic to say [that] regardless of income, regardless of your ability to pay, we're still going to put this on the back of taxpayers," Amselem argues.

Writing for The Daily Signal, Amselem notes the program would cost the state's taxpayers between $25 million and $35 million annually. That, she writes, is "enough to put considerable strain on New Mexico taxpayers without addressing the underlying problems that drive higher education costs."

New Mexico's Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, has stated publicly her support for the legislation.

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