Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

For $178 Million, the US Could Pay for One Fighter Plane, or 3,358 Years of College. Free college threatens the military. Unlike nearly every other developed country, which offer free or low cost higher education (Germany, Sweden and others are completely free; Korea's flagship Seoul National University runs about $12,000 a year, around the same as Oxford), in America you need money to go to college. Harvard charges $63,000 a year for tuition, room, board and fees, a quarter of a million dollars for a degree. Even a good state school will charge $22,000 for in-state tuition, room and board.

75% of those who enlisted or who sought an officer's commission said they did so to obtain educational benefits. This raises the question of whether the lower cost college education presidential nominee Hillary Clinton proposes is a threat to America's all-volunteer military. If college was cheaper, would they still enlist? (Peter Van Buren)

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The issue of how much the United States should spend on defense, and how that money should be allotted, is complex. But the changes to spending discussed here exist far to the margins of that debate: the defense budget is some $607 billion, already the world's largest by far. The cost of providing broader access to higher education would be a tiny fraction of that amount, far below any threshold where a danger to America's defense could be reasonably argued.

No one suggests veterans should have their benefits reduced. But for a nation that can clearly afford to pay for a broader base of accessible higher education if it wants to, it seems very wrong to simply leave the nation's future to a Darwinian system of financial survival.

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yes, no.

#1 | Posted by ichiro at 2016-09-20 02:08 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

First, it's not free. Someone is paying for it. The only question is whether it's given to someone in return for a defined period or service, or with no strings attached at all.

I'm a fan of using education benefits to try and incentivize students into getting into fields that are currently understaffed...medical, STEM, etc. Fields that are going to benefit the taxpayers. But if you want to major in your favorite hobby, that's something you should be paying for out of your own pocket.

#2 | Posted by madbomber at 2016-09-20 02:22 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

I couldn't afford to pay for college so I went NROTC at UCLA (and got 4 years on the Marine Corps option) and then paid for law school with the GI Bill (I was in-state so didn't have to go Yellow Ribbon), so I was one of those 75% mentioned in the article. Pretty fair trade all things considered, and the Corps was a natural follow on to my Jesuit education. That being said, I could have applied for other scholarships but felt that serving my country was something that I should do anyway, so went that route.

I have long advocated that the minimum educational requirement for everyone should be at least 2 years of Community College/Vocational School that is paid for by the Government. I don't think that the Volunteer Military would be impacted, most people I know did it both for the benefits and as a sense of duty. Of course there are always people who only do anything for the money, but I don't think much would change.

#3 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2016-09-20 03:23 PM | Reply

I also agree with MadBomber that fields that are understaffed should get priority and some type of "lock-in" like ROTC or the Academies so that the student getting the benefit returns the favor.

#4 | Posted by Rightocenter at 2016-09-20 03:24 PM | Reply

Let's take this a step further.

A couple of weeks ago I put forth an argument for 2 years of compulsory public service, and I still think that's a good idea. In exchange for each year of service, they get a free year of college.

But there's another option. The reason the service academies are so successful is two-fold: they screen applicants for academic performance (and other attributes) AND there's guaranteed employment upon graduation, with a very consistent advancement rate. For the life of me, I don't understand why major corporations are not following this model with gusto. If a company like Lockheed, for instance, offered 4-year or 5-year scholarships for quality applicants seeking degrees in various science or engineering disciplines in return for 4 or 5 years work (with pay) at Lockheed, I would imagine students would come running. Sure, there are some small potatoes versions of that going on, but nothing like what the service academies offer.

#5 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2016-09-20 03:44 PM | Reply

#1: best answer

#6 | Posted by nutcase at 2016-09-20 04:07 PM | Reply

#3, another difference between Sweden/Germany and the USA is after 9th grade, there are two high schools, trade school and college preparatory school. You must pass an entrance exam to go to college preparatory school. Every country needs more tradesmen than professionals. This system replaces any need for vocational training, sooner, at a lower cost. Anyway its all free, but subject to passing your annual exams.

#7 | Posted by nutcase at 2016-09-20 04:14 PM | Reply

"75% of those who enlisted or who sought an officer's commission said they did so to obtain educational benefits."

Suckle up to that government teat,
It worked for Boaz and MadBomber and look how smart they turned out!

#8 | Posted by snoofy at 2016-09-20 04:27 PM | Reply

#8 They didn't have parents who could pay for their education like you did, you ----------------- -----.

#9 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2016-09-20 05:42 PM | Reply

"If a company like Lockheed, for instance, offered 4-year or 5-year scholarships for quality applicants seeking degrees in various science or engineering disciplines in return for 4 or 5 years work (with pay) at Lockheed, I would imagine students would come running. Sure, there are some small potatoes versions of that going on, but nothing like what the service academies offer."

They do. In fact Lockheed does. My uncle separated from the USAF in the 50's and picked up a job doing little things around the factory floor. he retired a little over 30 years later, with his last job having been the project manager for the C-130J.

"Every country needs more tradesmen than professionals."

True. One of the stranger outcomes we've seen is an increase in pay for skilled tradesmen. Auto mechanics, for instance. They'll easily make more than your average dude holding a history degree, yet many people will opt not to go that route for the fear of being seen as a "blue collar" worker. I know a retired O-5 who is considering getting into advanced welding...the pay is better than what he would receive as a traditional "white collars" worker.

Better to spend half a million on a worthless degree you can brag about than take a job that's beneath you social status.

#10 | Posted by madbomber at 2016-09-20 08:04 PM | Reply

Auto mechanics, for instance. They'll easily make more than your average dude holding a history degree...

I know a few people with history degrees. They got them because they like history and wanted to teach history to others. Now they are doing that.

If everyone was just looking to make more money the world would be full of dentists.

#11 | Posted by REDIAL at 2016-09-20 08:29 PM | Reply

And there are people who want to be ski instructors, knowing that it will never make them rich. But the person who chooses a career knowing that it will not provide a high income is different from people who want are actively seeking a higher income career. And I don't know that were experiencing a severe enough shortage n trained history teachers that we need to start incentivizing people to major in history by paying for their history degree.

#12 | Posted by madbomber at 2016-09-21 01:34 PM | Reply

#5 | POSTED BY MUSTANG AT 2016-09-20 03:44 PM | FLAG: Problem with that is even though an individual gets the prerequisite degree does not mean they are/will be a worthwhile employee.

#13 | Posted by MSgt at 2016-09-21 03:39 PM | Reply

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