David Finegold

Apr 5, 2021

Free College is Bad Public Policy

New Books Network 2021

One of the major debates surrounding higher education is whether to make college – whether 2- or 4-year public colleges and universities – free for all qualified applicants.

Dr. David Finegold, President of Chatham University, discusses why this is bad public policy, based on comparisons with the experience in the UK and Germany and an analysis of the policy proposal in the US context. He shows that the two key elements of a more equitable and effective approach already exist and simply need to be expanded – doubling the resources available for Pell grants to increase the level of grant and the income thresholds for those families who qualify for it, and converting all Federal Student Loans to income-contingent repayment so individuals only begin repaying the investment in their education once they are earning enough to afford it.

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