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With no skin in the game, tuition-free college is bound to be a bust

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There's some things I just don't get.

For instance, free tuition. This may sound stupid but long ago when I went to college my parents paid for some of it, I got a small Basic Education Opportunity Grant to pay for some and I took out a loan to pay the rest.

I also worked part time in the college cafeteria for some extra spending money.

And believe it or not, I never ever thought of parading through campus demanding that my tuition be free like some students have done recently.

One day when I was student teaching a couple of years ago I spied a high school student wasting class time while he was supposed to be working on an assignment.

"What do you think your parents would say if they knew you were wasting their hard-earned tax money for you to go to school and do nothing?" I said.

"What do you mean?" he replied gruffly. "They don't pay for school. It's free."

I tried to explain to him, but you see the point. Obviously his parents had never apprised him of this.

The sad truth is that if you're not invested in something, you're less likely to care about its outcome.

So it's not much of a mental stretch to figure that if a high school senior gets a taxpayer-funded education including tuition, room, board and books, they are less likely to excel than if they had a financial stake.

Which is why free tuition for all is a poorly thought out concept.

If our young people don't have some skin in the game in their own higher education, they're more likely to be playing beer pong than plugging away at the books.

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