Monday, May 20, 2019

Most teens want free college — until they realize it costs money

Most teens want college to be debt-free — until they realize it still has a cost.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch or free college, and if more students had studied Milton Friedman, they’d know that the funding for debt-free higher education has to come from somewhere else in the economy, even out of their own paychecks.

According to a study by Junior Achievement, a nonprofit youth organization, 69% of 13- to 17-year-olds are in favor of “debt-free college.”

But when pollsters asked if they supported “debt-free” education funded by higher taxes, support dropped to 33%.

The study surveyed more than 1,000 teens in April, just before Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., laid out her free college and student-debt forgiveness platform, which would eliminate tuition for public universities and forgive up to $50,000 in debt for households with an income less than $100,000.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., popularized the “free college” movement among the Democratic Party in 2015, and “college for all” is also a talking point in his 2020 presidential campaign.

Politicians hope to draw out the youth vote by telling young and future voters that college could be free, which at first appears to be a shrewd plan. Almost all of the teens in Junior Achievement’s study, 94%, planned to go to college, and 41% weren’t sure how they’d pay for it.

Yet many teens are smart enough to know that free college isn’t free, and the money to keep the classroom lights on can’t magically appear. With that in mind, 2020 Democrats may want to consider imitating South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg rather than Warren or Sanders.

“I have a hard time getting my head around the idea a majority who earn less because they didn’t go to college subsidize a minority who earn more because they did,” Buttigieg said to an audience of college students last month.


Here’s My Plan to Fix Student Debt Without Raiding Taxpayers

Rep. Mark Green   

Confounded by rising piles of student debt, cash-strapped graduates across the country are realizing that their degrees don’t offer enough bang for the buck.

It’s time we rethink the way students pay for college.

College is an investment. The conventional wisdom tells us to borrow for college now and be proportionally rewarded in the job market later. But increasingly, Americans are learning—once it’s too late—that they borrowed too much, or studied a subject that won’t pay in the job market.

Collectively, 44.7 million Americans owe a total of $1.56 trillion in student debt and face an average monthly payment of $393, according to the Federal Reserve. And some can’t afford to pay it back at all: 11.5% of all student loans are delinquent for 90 days or more.

Why isn’t the investment working?

Chiefly, the cost of higher education has become unaffordable for many students. Between 1989 and 2016, the price of college increased eight times faster than wages. In 2017-2018, the average cost of tuition and fees was $34,740 at private colleges and $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, according to the College Board. Multiply that by four years, and students hit tuition costs between $39,000 and $139,000 for a bachelor’s degree.

For a recent graduate earning a median salary of $48,400, after you factor in rent, groceries, and other normal living expenses, there’s not much left to throw at their mountain of debt.

The good news is, there’s a way to reinvent the way we pay for college that corresponds to realistic earnings after graduation, thus tying tuition costs to demand in the job market.

Colleges could begin offering “income share agreements,” where students agree to pay for college with a percentage of their future earnings. This way, colleges and universities would be incentivized to help students secure good paying jobs after they graduate, because tuition payments would depend on it.

Responsibility would fall on the student as well. Income share agreements would encourage prospective students to research starting salaries for their major and learn what they can expect in return for their studies.

In a desire to see income share agreements more widely offered, my Democratic colleague Vicente Gonzalez of Texas partnered with me to introduce the Kids to College Act, a bipartisan bill that would encourage more schools to utilize these agreements.

But not all lawmakers are thinking big picture like this.

One Democratic senator offered a magic wand to “erase” up to $50,000 in student debt for loan recipients. As one columnist pointed out, this offer is akin to advocating “old-fashioned, Tammany Hall-style bribery” by “handing out dollars to buy votes.” Of course, astute taxpayers will see through the scheme and realize it’s their hard-earned money being offered.

More importantly, “erasing” student debt would send costs of higher education soaring even faster and would further distort the market for higher education. If the plan succeeds, college costs could inflate indefinitely without ever being responsive to demand in the job market. If a student can’t pay back their loan, the American taxpayer ultimately would be forced to shoulder the burden.

The problem with magic wands is they do not exist. Debt does not disappear—it merely shifts onto someone else. The student debt crisis is a sign of system-wide failure, and we need a system-wide solution to fix it.


Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Salvation Army Must Stand Up to Leftist Bigots

Todd Starnes

A bunch of radical LGBT activists at Trinity University (a Christian university, by the way) launched a campaign to banish Chick-fil-A from campus.

The beloved restaurant chain does not have a franchise on campus, but every two weeks it is permitted to sell its delicious sandwiches and crispy waffle fries to starving Presbyterian students.

Student government leaders at the San Antonio-based school passed a non-binding resolution calling for Chick-fil-A to be banned so they can affirm the school’s “commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

“Trinity’s values of diversity and inclusion and Chick-fil-A’s values regarding the LGBT+ community are mutually exclusive,” student lawmakers wrote.

Well, Chick-fil-A follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. Whose teachings does Trinity University follow?

And before we go any further, I should acknowledged that Trinity University is a private school — therefore it can do whatever it wants. Although, I am curious what the university donors think about Trinity’s anti-poultry bias.

Ty Tinker, the student government president, told the San Antonio Express-News they were spurred to action after "a lot of proactive folks, including PRIDE (Trinity’s student LGBT group), came to student government and university administrators.“

The resolution reads in part: "Underrepresented students from the LGBT+ community have expressed the drastic assault on their identities and beings as a result of Chick-fil-A’s ideals and actions, and SGA stands to represent all students regardless of the size of the community.”

I call BS, folks. That resolution is a load of grade-A fertilizer.

The student government association got its “evidence” that Chick-fil-A hates gay people from radical leftist organizations like Human Rights Campaign and Think Progress.

Human Rights Campaign is a flat-out anti-Christian hate group and it especially despises this writer.

Think Progress published a story alleging that Chick-fil-A donated money to “anti-gay” organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army.

Both organizations require their members and leaders to follow the teachings of the Bible on issues like marriage and sexuality. That’s why they’ve been labeled “anti-gay.”

Sophomore senator Claire Carlson told The Trinitonian they also had issues with Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s personal belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

He “has made a lot of problematic comments in the contexts of same sex marriage and things like that,” she said.

Presbyterians would think that university leadership would have been appalled at the behavior and the ignorance of the students who voted for the resolution. But that’s not the case.

“It’s our tradition and responsibility to foster open, free dialogue about issues of importance to our students,” Vice President for Strategic Communications Tess Coody-Anders said in a statement to the newspaper. “We’re proud of our students’ willingness to engage in difficult conversations and to amplify the voices of those who are often underrepresented and overlooked.”

Trinity University is doing its part to raise up the next generation of little fascists — hell-bent on shutting down any speech or religious belief they find offensive. They’ll fit in quite well with the grown-up fascists controlling the San Antonio City Council.

But my major beef is with the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I’m getting a little tired of defending organizations that refuse to stand up and defend themselves.

We offer these organizations an opportunity to refute the allegations and set the record straight, but more often than not, they choose to remain silent. And as a result of their silence, the perception becomes the reality.

As I write in my new book, Culture Jihad, Freedom-loving Christians cannot afford to remain silent. They must stand up and rebuke the anti-Christian bigots who want to eradicate Christianity from the public marketplace. Demand retractions. File lawsuits. Hold press conferences. Pack city-council meetings. FIGHT BACK!

Silence in the face of evil is evil itself, as one great Christian theologian once said.

The truth is that Americans should be able to enjoy a delicious chicken sandwich regardless of their political affiliation or sexual orientation.


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