There’s much talk in Washington about having the federal government provide “free” college education. What that entails is making the taxpayers cover the cost of more students going through traditional degree programs. All of that educational seat time is largely wasted, as students must pass many classes they don’t really want in order to get the bit of learning they do want or need.
That makes no sense. Much better, argues economics professor Richard Vedder in this piece, is for employers to provide education as a benefit for workers. Many now do. But the education is targeted to skills that they think worth paying for.
to be sure, working at Wal-Mart or Amazon won’t get you a free college education at a spiffy private school, studying something academically trendy but vocationally nearly useless, such as gender studies. There are three things in common with many of these company sponsored programs: they are generally on-line (remote instruction), often limited to certain majors that the company wants employees to have, and they are limited to a modest number of respectable but not superlative schools.
Too bad that the U.S. blundered down the road of mass subsidies for college for everyone instead of letting the invisible hand of the market work.