Phi Beta Cons

Having Students Pay for College is Socially Unjust

That declaration comes from Germany, where a recent decision means that higher education will be virtually free for students. Read all about it in this NCPA piece by Farhad Mirzadeh.

Of course, the idea of “free” education (or anything else) makes leftists giddy, but Mirzadeh points out some inconvenient truths. Even though students won’t be paying, that doesn’t mean that there are no costs. In fact, costs are apt to increase now that they’ll all be borne by taxpayers, just as we have seen with healthcare. Also, there is the moral hazard problem — students are apt to change their behavior since they won’t have any reason to economize, such as dawdling around in college for five or six years.

TANSTAAFL applies to education just as much as it does to everything else. When government makes anything “free” it simply shifts the costs to other people and in doing so changes the incentives of the users.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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