NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Debating Making College Free”


Mary:  I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at the debate over making college free.  Mike, recently New York State established a program to make attendance at the state’s public colleges tuition-free for students from households earning up to double New York’s average household income.  What are the pros and cons of this program?

Mike: Summary Answer

  1. Obviously helps more young people go to college – and a college education is becoming more and more mandatory to obtain many good paying jobs
  2. Also will reduce the need for many students to take out costly student loans, which can delay to later establish a household – buy a home, etc.
  3. But, there are catches – have to finish in four years and agree to remain working in the state for 4 years – if not, must pay back money – but what if best job opportunity is out of the state
  4. Some also say it will hurt private colleges
  5. Last, some worry that will demotivate students; some research indicates students who have to work to pay for college costs are motivated to study more and graduate on time
  6. Will interesting to track program’s results – other states will be watching
  7. I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service