The PJ Tatler

Obama's Budget Would Throw $8 Billion at More Failure

Obama’s budget, thankfully rejected by Congress 414-0, would have thrown $8 billion at community colleges:

The proposed budget allots $8 billion for the Community College to Career Fund, which President Obama announced Monday at Northern Virginia Community College. The program is meant to help community colleges and local business work together to prepare students to take on jobs within the community.

While proposing more money for community colleges, the Obama administration has been waging a relentless campaign against for-profit colleges. We’ve covered that campaign here on the Tatler. As has become a hallmark of the Obama administration, the billions proposed to community colleges while attacking for-profits doubles down on failure while punishing success in the private sector. The AEI has found that for-profits tend to perform better than community colleges. Some key points from the AEI’s study:

  • Only one in four students graduates at a community college, compared to 3 out of 5 at a four year school – the adjusted graduation rate at community colleges is less than 20% overall.
  • In 2009, over 320,000 full-time degree seeking students who entered community colleges in 2006 had not earned their degree, and most were no longer enrolled in any post secondary institution.
  • Cutting the dropout rate by half would generate substantial gains: the 160,000 “new” graduates would earn $30 billion more in lifetime income—and create an additional $5.3 billion in total taxpayer revenue.
  • KEY QUOTE:  “The low graduation rates of community colleges incur significant costs for students who fail to graduate, such as tuition and fees, and these students are limited from garnering the high wages that come with an associate’s degree. But as the Texas billboards note, low graduation rates are also unfair to taxpayers, who have spent millions upon millions of dollars in direct appropriation and student grants to support dropouts.”

No one should take this post as an attack on community colleges, which are perfectly fine. Millions attend them for all sorts of reasons, from career advancement to improving skills or just for the joy of learning. The issue here is whether the administration should continue to federalize everything under the sun via doling out taxpayer dollars that we’re borrowing from China and future Americans, while punishing and discouraging free enterprise. Clearly, it should do neither.