Benjamin Franklin said that education provides the highest return of any investment ["49 States Flunk College Affordability Test," usnews.com]. Many Americans are already unable to afford a higher education. America's status as the world's sole superpower is based largely on the fact that we have a considerable scientific and technological edge over other countries. Unfortunately, the edge is eroding fast. If we fail to educate our future generations, we can be certain that our economic and military power will wither away. This country needs to get its priorities straight. One of the top priorities has to be fixing our education system, and not just higher education. Our public school system ranks near the bottom among industrialized nations.
Comment by Mike of VA
Here's a thought. All high school graduates do two years compulsory military or government service. They come out with the equivalent of an AA [associate] degree and get to continue their education at a reduced/subsidized rate. It's good for the country and good for the kids.
Comment by Teri of NH
The message of this story is that the free market is a failure when it comes to lowering prices for the average consumer on the most critical of life issues. Education and health must be subsidized by government. Asking the average American citizen and family to pay for a son or daughter's college education is becoming impossible and only leaving potential students with a lifetime of debt. The fact that schools and healthcare operate for profit is an outrage. Sure, colleges like Harvard and Stanford have huge endowments that can finance full tuition for any one of their students. But how many students get the benefit of going to Stanford or Harvard?
Comment by Byron Gordon of CA
Joe the Plumber makes a decent living and much better than a lot of college graduates. We need plumbers, electricians, and other tradespeople as well. Too many people thumb their noses at such good-paying jobs. They want their kids to go to college to get an art or literature degree, which is completely worthless in the real world.
Comment by Bob Green of TX
A basic four-year college education should be a birthright of an American citizen. In decades past, the concept of publicly financed K-12 education has made sense. In this day and age, with a decreasing percentage of our population in rural and farming communities and with greater need than ever before to have a higher degree of qualification in virtually all job environments, a four-year college degree is rapidly becoming the equivalent of the high school diploma. Education equals opportunity. Education provides the means for a person to adapt to changing times, technologies, and opportunities. These days, on a scale never before witnessed, there is increasing competition from millions in other countries. This is the single greatest generational priority in the United States today. It's time we rectified this situation and started taking steps to provide free basic four-year college tuition to all Americans.
Comment by Jill Holmes of CA
If you want a free education, just get a library card. The more difficult it is to get a college education, the more it is worth. A high school diploma used to be a big deal, but now that everyone has one, it is not worth anything. If everyone had a college degree, then the job market would be saturated even more than it already is. Now that more people are getting four-year degrees, you really need a master's to be competitive.
Comment by Mike Lanier of GA