free college education

To make life more equal for those from poorer backgrounds who don’t get to study at a great school how about…
Free University education for anyone whose IQ test score is in the top 20% of that years applicants ?
Objections anyone ?

Well, one off the top of my head: IQ tests are not an accurate measure of one’s intelligence, ability to complete a college degree, or value to society.

and a SAT score is ( excuse me if i am wrong, i am a brit ) but in the USA isn’t the SAT score the requirement.

How is that diferent from an academic scholarship?

Here’s another: Do you mean “free” as in “the people who provide this university education will not get paid for providing this service,” or do you mean “free” as in “we’ll take money from other people to pay the people who provide the education?” I suspect the latter, in which case all you’re doing really is making a college education more expensive for everyone. By increasing the tax burden to fund these “free” educations, that means more middle-class students not being able to afford college, more students and parents burdened with student loans, etc.

I suspect you’ll say to just tax the rich, too.

SAT scores are not IQ tests. The top 20% of IQ test takers is a largish band of the population. Most gifted programs cut out at the 5% level which is 1 in 10 students roughly. And a high IQ doesn’t necessarily translate to academic achievement. Who’s a better bet to fund? Person A with an IQ of 145 who has done no work at all or Person B with an IQ of 110 (which IIRC still comes in your 20% band) who worked their butt off and who will continue to work their butt off?

You gonna have a lot of people going through funded by taxes.

The most glaring problem with your proposition is that it will actually exacerbate the issue of the lower income families having trouble funding their education. IQ comes not only from biology, but is also very much culturally based. Often people from lower income backgrounds do not receive the same academic opportunities or advantages as their higher class peers do, so this can lead to people from low income backgrounds having IQ scores skewed lower even though, if given the chance, these same people could have met or exceeded the scores of their higher income counterparts.

To offer free university education to the top 20% IQ would simply serve to further entrench people into their class roles.

Also the scholarship system we have today operates with a need and merit based duality. I have no statistics, but I can imagine that the recipients of many of the merit based scholarships are from higher income backgrounds than the population at large. Hopefully I’ll be able to find statistics on this later. If someone has numbers to refute or back up my statement please post them. Anyway, what the need base aspect of the current scholarship system attempts to do is to accomodate for people who deserve a chance at college even if their current academic record isn’t stellar due to a lack of opportunity.

heres a maddening thought, how bout have college education free for everyone. in england (or it was until they fucked it up) your parents paid what they could, and the government paid the rest. it meant that if you were poor, you still got the same education as if you werent, now how about that? why should your chances in life depend on the jobs your parents have? in what way is that fair. and yes maybe youd have to increase taxes for the rich, but they’re bloody rich arent they? its not like they cant afford it!

i just think that i should have as much right to go to college as anyone else, whether their parents earn more than mine or not.

I agree that college should be free for everybody. The eduction you receive should depend on your abilities, not on the income of your parents.

One of the reasons Germany has become such an economic powerhouse is that education is free there.

I’ve always thought that we should have state funded education for anyone that thinks their up to it. People that don’t have the intellegence and drive for college tend to flunk out rather quickly, so we wouldn’t be wasteing much resourses on them, but we would be boosting the education of all people that are willing to do the work.

A better educated populace means more informed voters, a better economy and a lot of good stuff that ultimatly benefits the entire state. Educating people pays for itself societaly.

California’s community college system is largely state-funded. Current tuition costs are $11/semester unit (when I graduated from high school back in 1987, it was only $5/unit, and some time priot to that, it was free). For those who qualify, there are fee waivers available (also state-funded) - these, as the name implies, waive all tuition costs for the entire academic year, regardless of the number of units enrolled.

“…prior to that…”

There is free college and there is free college. As Darwin’s Finch points out state schools especially the non top tier state schools are relatively cheap. Even the top tier schools in California (the UC system) are pretty inexpensive based on tuition. You do still need some place to live and you have to eat. Not working while you are going to school is a large part of the cost of an education.

What are we talking about paying for.

Well, there’s apparently a software bug in VBulletin that is rendering pldennison’s post invisible to everyone except me, so let me take a shot re-asking his question.

By “free” do you mean that the professors and the guys who mow the campus green and the administrators and the guys who build the buildings all work without compensation?

Or do you mean you want me to pick up the tab here?

The public universities in California are relatively very cheap (or maybe it’d be better to say the private ones are absurdly expensive). And public universities tend to be the top schools around, at least the larger ones. California, New York, and Texas public universities are consistently among the highest national rankings by publications that do those sorts of rankings.

Regardless of this, the federal government also issues financial aid in the US based on one’s family income, so if you get into college, you can probably stay there, though sometimes the aid is in the form of work-study. ( The assumption is that if your parents don’t help you out with college, they’re heartless bastards). There are also student loans – which is another issue; the idea is that if you go to college, you ought to be able to get a job that allows you to pay for the education you just received. And if you go into some fields, you can even get those loans forgiven, so I think that’s pretty favorable as well.

I speak as someone who attended a public university in California; although my parents were not making a lot of money (receiving EIC on taxes, for instance), I received academic scholarships & grants to cover most of my reg. fees. The rest is in Student loans of various interest rates, which are a lot less than what some of my friends have. I think I got a fairly decent deal.

Well yeah. I’m a commie.

People have brought up some good points. California’s system (which I am a part of…go banana slugs) is awesome, and financial aid really does help out the truely poor. I wouldn’t be able to be in school without it. In my experience the people that screwed are the people with parents that make middleing income, or those with higher income that refuse to help their kids out (it happens a lot).

I guess my bigger concern is over admissions. I went to high school in a poor area, and the truth is that an “A” from a lame public high school doesn’t mean the same thing as an “A” from a school with a better repution (and likely higher funding). Intellegent and capable students from my high school are routinley turned down by UC systems schools, whereas that same student in a different high school would be accepted. Nitpicky requirements (I knew a Brazilian immigrant that was turned down from the UC system for taking one semester of English-as-a-second-language in high school, which didn’t fulfill the four years of English requirement, despite the fact that he learned to speak fluent English in a year and earned A’s in every English class he took after that), reliance on SAT scores (we can debate cultural bias in SATs somewhere else), and unequal access to a decent high school education all add up to exclude some very capable students.

This is a very Jeffersonian idea. He felt that young men of promise, regardless of background, should be given a university education if they were bright. This was quite a radical notion at a time when only the sons of the American gentry (such as they were) went to university.

We cannot fund postsecondary education for as many people who want it. Too many people in the United States regard it as a prerequisite for jobs/life/adulthood. I don’t agree with that, but if you think so or your parents think so or a prospective employer thinks so, what are you gonna do? There are a lot of college students right now who could be perfectly happy and successful and self-actualized without spending a day in college, but they don’t believe that and their place in society doesn’t “allow” it either.

Has anyone mentioned that Rice used to be free?

Sven it’s been my experience that the UC’s tend to be pretty fair when taking into account where people went to school. My high school wasn’t exactly known as a bastion of intellectual rigor and had a high ESL population in an area of mixed economic backgrounds. I have plenty of friends who made it into the UC system even with good, if unspectacular, grades.

I’m not saying that some A’s are worth more than others, because some are. I’m just saying that the UC’s do a lot to try and counteract that bias. That’s why there’s so many criteria, from grades, to SAT (not a fan, I think they are useless and don’t mean crap, I have stories…), to biographical essays, to extracurriculars, and so on. They also look at what schools/majors have higher and lower demand when looking at admitting students. Apply for a spot in a major with lower demand, then you are more likely to get accepted.

It does work both ways, though. A friend of mine went to a very good private school, pulled a 4.0 with straight honors/AP classes, and scored a 1580 on his SAT’s. Got turned down at both UCLA and Berkely. I found that hilarious. He ended up at Harvey Mudd, though, and he’s happy so I guess it worked out.

Wow…free rice? I could make fried rice, rice and beans, risotto. I can only imagine the wonders of having free grain.


Here’s a link about the HOPE scholarship program at UGA: