Friday, April 14, 2017

Brooks goes to college

Harold Lloyd in The Freshman (1925) via Renegade Cinema.
Shorter former New York Times columnist David Brooks, "The Cuomo College Fiasco", April 14 2017:
The "free college" program of New York governor Andrew Cuomo for SUNY and CUNY is regressive, helping only with tuition and not housing, textbooks, or other expenses, and targeted to benefit only full-time students, who must maintain a decent grade point and graduate on schedule in four years, that is not the ones who need it the most, while threatening the existence of the many small colleges around the state that can't afford to give more tuition aid than they're already giving. Therefore free college is a bad idea, since students won't value it if they don't have to pay for it and besides the tuition-free universities of Germany are no good. 
Or as Yogi Berra said, nobody ever goes to German universities any more, they're too crowded:
Even in Germany, where a generous welfare state is valued, per-pupil spending has dropped by 10 percent since universities became free. Germany is an extremely successful country, but lecture classes are huge and the country’s universities are not generally ranked among the world’s best.
Keep in mind that the only time they ever charged tuition was during the Merkel government, from 2005 to 2014—it's her budget problem if they've cut spending since 2014, and one reason her party is going to lose the upcoming general election. They have nine universities in the top 100 at MastersPortal, by the way, and 21 in the top 200, and nine in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education Supplement, and Germany is the most popular non-anglophone venue for international students, or third most popular overall (after US, of course, and UK, where tuition is capped at £9,250 per year, which  comes to almost twice what CUNY charges, but still makes Oxford much cheaper than Yale).

I don't know where he plagiarized the progressive argument against the Cuomo program from—it's pretty solid, though maybe somewhat unfair (as Mayor de Blasio is saying, it's just a start). But it's funny how he lurches from there into the conservative argument he's been using since Bernie Sanders first brought up the tuition-free idea to the national stage: Cuomo's plan isn't progressive enough, so you'd better not have free college at all!

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