What's Wrong With Free Community College?

The governor of Tennessee wants to make community college in his state free. Is there any possible downside to that?

Well, he wants to fund it with lottery money. That's not exactly the most progressive source of revenue, but lotteries aren't going away any time soon, so let's set that aside for now. Inside Higher Ed talked to some education types, who raised a more germane objection:

More strategic ways of using state support could actually do a better job of helping students who need it the most, some said...

Some lawmakers may be feeling relatively flush as their states emerge from the recession. But McClenney said they must be careful about how they spend their "limited public funds" for higher education. By making tuition free for all, she said states run the risk of "subsidizing large numbers of people who don't need the support."

So, need-base that shit, perhaps? Otherwise, free community college seems like a good plan. As long as Tennessee makes sure its preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools are all in good working order first.

[Pic: Flickr]