Vicki Alger misleads us when she argues that free tuition at community colleges will be wasteful while performance-based, need-related individual grants will solve the problem of vocational training.
The fact is that such grants already exist. They are called Pell grants and they have been repeatedly chopped back over the past 20 years so that they come nowhere near meeting student need.
They might work if only they met the real needs of real students in this generation.
Research published in “Academically Adrift” a few years ago showed that needy students learned better and were more likely to finish their degrees when they received grants rather than loans.
Unfortunately, such grants are inadequately funded and they do not help stem the inflation of college costs. Further, they encourage private for-profit schools to seduce students into low-quality programs that will never lead to well-paid work.
Free tuition at public institutions would discourage that kind of false advertising.