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The Almighty Buck Education

Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates 597

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "As the number of students attending colleges and universities has steadily increased and the cost for most students has climbed even faster, student debt figures (both total and per person) have continued to get bigger. Now Josh Freedman at Forbes Magazine proposes a graduate tax-funded system of higher education, under which students would pay nothing to attend college upfront. Instead, once they graduate and move out of their parents' basements, they would begin to pay an additional income tax (say, for example, three percent) on their earnings that would fund higher education. 'In other words, the current crop of college graduates funds the current crop of college students, and so on down the line. There is no debt taken on by students, which minimizes risk (good); repayment is tied to income, because only people who make income pay the tax (also good); and it is simpler and more easily administrable than plans to make loans easier to pay off (still good).' The main argument for a graduate tax comes from its progressivity. Supporters of a graduate tax point out that most college graduates, particularly those from elite universities that use a greater share of resources, are richer than people who have not graduated from college. The state of Oregon made headlines last year for an innovative proposal called 'Pay It Forward' to fund higher education without having students take on any debt. Pay It Forward amounts to a graduate tax: All of the graduates of public colleges in Oregon would pay nothing up front in tuition but would pay back a percentage of their income for a set number of years. These payments would build a fund that would cover the cost for future students to receive the same opportunity to attend college with no upfront costs. 'As pressure mounts for more students from all backgrounds to attend college, it will become increasingly difficult to try to stem the rapid tuition inflation under a loan system,' concludes Freedman. 'Our current student loan system has made college more expensive, turned higher education into an individual, rather than a communal, good, and generated serious negative economic and social risks.'"
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Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates

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  • Lifers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:08AM (#46244483)

    So under this new system, why would I ever stop going to college? This is already a problem with some of the higher level institutions.

    • Re:Lifers? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:18AM (#46244561)
      Obviously, there would be a limit on the amount of subsidized education you can get. Did you seriously think that this proposal was as simple as "pay for it with some taxes"? Use some common sense.
      • Re:Lifers? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:08AM (#46244971) Homepage
        obvious to you and I, lets see what the actual bill says
        • Re:Lifers? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:33AM (#46245209)

          obvious to you and I, lets see what the actual bill says

          I hope they are careful. Here is another way to scam the system: Arrange your classes so that at the end of your senior year, you are one credit hour shy of the requirement for graduation. Now you have the education, and the transcripts to prove it to prospective employers, but no actual taxable degree.

          • I hope they are careful. Here is another way to scam the system: Arrange your classes so that at the end of your senior year, you are one credit hour shy of the requirement for graduation. Now you have the education, and the transcripts to prove it to prospective employers, but no actual taxable degree.

            So tax them based on the amount of education received, not the degree. I should think that would be obvious. The point is to better fund their education, not their degree.

            Plus would you hire someone who did that? Me neither. Such a person would raise all kinds of red flags about how they would game the system at my company.

            • Re:Think about it (Score:5, Insightful)

              by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @01:02PM (#46247233)

              Plus would you hire someone who did that?

              Yes, I would. I would consider it an IQ test. Nobody has a legal or ethical responsibility to adjust their behavior in order to maximize their taxes.

              Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. -- Learned Hand []

          • by es330td ( 964170 )
            If you don't have a degree, you don't "have the education." As an employer, I would take a dim view of a person who wants to use a college transcript, without a conferred degree, as evidence of having an education. If a person is trying to cut corners for personal gain, what is that person going to do as my employee?

            The easy solution to this is a prorated "tax" on earnings. One year of attendance = 0.75% tax on earnings. Since you are paying the tax, you have a very strong incentive to finish. Taken furt
          • Re:Lifers? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by schnell ( 163007 ) <me&schnell,net> on Friday February 14, 2014 @12:53PM (#46247093) Homepage

            There is a much more dangerous issue here that makes it a terrible idea: decoupling the provider and user from the costs involved is exactly why the US healthcare system is so screwed up. Today, colleges have a cost that is known to the student, and students factor that in to their education "purchase." I might like to go to a college that charges $50K a year, but if there's another one that charges $30K a year and provides a similar education, I may choose the cheaper one. Colleges know this and they model their cost structure to fall within a tuition rate that students will be willing to pay.

            But now, with students and colleges not having to consider price, no college has any incentive not to inflate its costs - hey, if cost is no object to the student, why not? New Ferraris for all the administrators and a shiny new $50M Center For the Study of Basket-Weaving! The college is getting paid either way, and the student doesn't care because they don't see a bill. Maybe that provides a better quality education for some people, but it's dubious as to whether the benefit outweighs the costs to all the people who have graduated and are now paying for $100K/year per student tuition rates.

            This is the same thing that happens in the US medical system today - doctors don't have to think about what procedures cost, so, hey, why not run a bunch of tests that cost $15,000 a pop just to be safe? They're getting paid either way. And the patient typically doesn't see much of that cost directly because (post-deductible, blah blah) most of it is absorbed by their insurance company. Nobody (for the most part) chooses which hospital to go to based on what it costs, and there is no incentive to reduce costs for anyone except the insurance companies. (If you want to hear the gory details, NPR did an awesome story on this several years ago [].)

            At any rate, while improving access to college education is a great goal, the healthcare example should scare anyone sane that taking "what college costs you to deliver or receive" out of the equation is a recipe for costing everyone way more money than it should.

      • Re:Lifers? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:16AM (#46245039)

        Take a look at European University tuition structures... I believe they are as simple as "paying for it with some taxes."

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by amalcolm ( 1838434 )
          In the UK it's paying for it with crippling student debt
          • by iserlohn ( 49556 )

            The UK wasn't like this before. The system has been Americanized. Before 1998, there were no tuition fees for public universities (All top UK Universities are public), but afterwards (apart from Scotland) this was increased first to ~£1000, then ~£3000, and now to variable fees with a £9000 cap.

            The government still has to spend similar amounts of money to back these loans, so in the end, the whole reason for introducing this change in policy is because this spending is classified different

            • Re:Lifers? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by cornjones ( 33009 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @12:32PM (#46246819) Homepage

              I really don't get this argument. the UK system is much like is being proposed here but w/ less burden on the student. You are asking the student to go into 9k/yr debt but it is only payable once you get a good job. That is a good deal for the student, if you spend a bunch of money on school and still can't get a job, you don't pay it back. the risk is all on the gov't (which i am ok with).

              this 'tax on future earnings' really sounds like a loan w/ slightly different terms. Rather, terms that never end.

      • "Thats all in the details" is a really good way to draft a crappy law with lots of unintended consequences. What happens when those folks dont graduate, and thus dont pay the tax? What happens when they dont get a job-- does that mean that the people who succeed are in effect subsidizing those who failed?

        I dont know, that seems like a pretty fundamental flaw of the idea. Its actually the fundamental flaw of any idea that seeks to indiscriminately share wealth-- what happens when half the populace decides

        • What happens when those folks dont graduate, and thus dont pay the tax?

          You make the tax contingent on time spent in school rather than whether they graduation. You're subsidizing their education, not their degree.

          What happens when they dont get a job-- does that mean that the people who succeed are in effect subsidizing those who failed?

          You give them a reasonable grace period of a few years (5 maybe?) and if they don't find or seek employment, the subsidy converts to conventional debt which they have to repay similar to the current system. If someone wants to become a stay-at-home parent, that is fine but then they can pay for it like any other loan for the education they are not using.

          These are pr

        • "“But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." - Nancy Pelosi

    • Re:Lifers? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:57AM (#46244883)

      Many universities with full enrollment already give you the boot if you burn too many hours without graduating.

      That said, this scheme sounds no different than a student loan tied to the ability to repay. If anything, it obscures actual costs which usually causes problems.

      • Re:Lifers? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:31AM (#46245187)

        That said, this scheme sounds no different than a student loan tied to the ability to repay. If anything, it obscures actual costs which usually causes problems.


        How is 'go to school now, pay it back later' any different than 'go to school now, pay it back later'?

        Aside from the individual's control over the cost of their education, that is. Under the debt system a person could elect to go to a cheaper school to minimize their repayment cost, and/or select a career rather than a hobby.

        Under the new system, there's no incentive to control costs at all.

      • by bigpat ( 158134 )

        The only way this works is if everyone has to pay a tax. And basically we are then back to government paid for higher education. Which is probably more equitable and should be what we are discussing instead of some new loan scheme.

        Unless this is a universal tax, then this just reminds me of the 50 year mortgage that people were talking about right before the housing market bubble burst. Students won't need as large of a loan when the education bubble bursts and tuition costs come down, just like people d

    • So under this new system, why would I ever stop going to college? This is already a problem with some of the higher level institutions.

      What happened to my mod points? This ^^^ in spades. I was remembering the "Freshman flameouts" that occupied dorm rooms, enrolled for classes, and basically partied non-stop until they were academically expelled. If school is free to attend, I see a rapidly growing segment of the University population who are just there for the ride - stretching it out as long as they can get away with it, then moving on with no tax burden because they didn't graduate. Which brings up another thought - people who get wi

  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:09AM (#46244485)
    This is actually a really good idea. However, it does need some limits, particularly with regard to tuition prices. This proposal will give universities to raise tuition prices like mad. We need to place some serious restrictions on those.
    • by Albanach ( 527650 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:13AM (#46244519) Homepage

      No, it is not good idea. Everyone benefits from an educated workforce. The self-made entrepreneur benefits from employing graduates. The store worker benefits from the graduates that built the business employing them.

      If we accept that taxation is they way to fund education, the smart move is to do it through general taxation. Since everyone benefits from education, everyone pays a share. And you drop the administrative costs associated with managing loans or adding a section to the tax code.

      • At least it's a step in the right direction.
      • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:20AM (#46244587)
        I agree, this is a horrible idea. The rate of students actually graduating in 4 years is already low, it will just go down as soon as students are attending for "free". There might be some minor improvement if there were a competitive process and only the students who gave a crap about their education would qualify. But this notion that every slacker has a "right" to attend and fart around for six years is a disaster. When I went to graduate school, anyone could tell, with a high degree of accuracy, which students were paying their own way and which were not. The ones paying for it were the ones who worked hard and tried to get something out of even the easy classes. The other just wasted everyone's time. A couple times I had to get one of the latter removed from my team projects since they weren't worth anything.
        • Here in the UK we have a system of student loans to help finance the cost of university or college. This loan can, and in most circumstances, does cover the university fees, along with rent and living fees. This is great, as we can go to uni without having to pay anything at all up-front. But, seeing as it's a loan, we have to pay it back (at 9% or our earnings (!?!?!)) once we earn more than £21,000.

          This loan system allows people from poorer backgrounds to get the same access to education that ric
        • I think the best system would be a mixed system.
          1) Have a tax that pays a high percentage up to a certain amount (State colleges work this way) per credit hour or whatever.
          2) Have a national scholarship program that pays for good grades. Our currently scholarship program are a patchwork system and leave out many students.
          3) Strict requirements for attending college. If you can't make the grade you get kicked out. Do allow for reentry after a few years, sometimes people have to grow up and mature.

        • Tax funded higher education, including a "maintenance grant" that covered (or intended to cover) living costs, was the norm in Britain when I went to University (I'm not sure what the current situation is, this was at the end of the Thatcher administration), and I can assure you your depiction of free education bears no relation to reality.

          Indeed, I'm actually a little horrified by the notion that anyone would consider access to higher education should be dependent upon their access to wealth, because so

        • That's easy to fix, If you don't graduate you have to pay it back.

          I wouldn't put a 4 year limit on it though. Some students will have more or less parental support than others. Those not being supported by parents will still need money for books, rent, food, medicine and all that life stuff. To stay out of debt they will still have to work, not just be full-time students.

          Besides, if you really want people to get something out of their classes they shouldn't be rushing things. Most full time students I ha

      • That's not what they are saying. They are accepting that student loans is the way to fund education but are simply taking the money lenders out of the equation and moving it to the government. Australia does the same thing with the HECS-HELP scheme. Students study with no up-front fees, however their studies get recorded against their tax file number. As soon as they start earning more than $51,309 they start taking a percentage to repay what effectively was a government loan.

        Our loan by the way is indexed

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HuDongQing ( 824333 )

        " Since everyone benefits from education, everyone pays a share."

        That's true, but the share shouldn't be 100% - you don't benefit from my education as much as I do, so I should pay more for it than you, right?

        This scheme is called "Income Contingent Loans" and has been used to finance higher education in Australia and other countries since the 1980s. It's excellent from almost any measure.

      • by jythie ( 914043 )
        The problem is right now we are in a massive wave of being against things that benefit everyone or have systemic benefits. The big idea right now is selfishness, everyone focusing on getting ahead of everyone else and hoping that in aggregate it results in something positive.
      • by dfghjk ( 711126 )

        This is, of course, the correct answer and one that has been known for ages. This is how primary education is done and is the motivation for land grant colleges. College used to be affordable in-state or even free.

        We don't need to invent a new solution, we need to return to what we used to have. Restore education as a public service, it should not be a profit center and our kids should not be turned into indentured servants.

    • by mjr167 ( 2477430 )
      Naw... just require a vote to raise tuition. We'll vote it down like a raise for teachers.
    • Lots of other Western countries already have similar systems. Where I studied in Australia, I 'paid' about $5,000 per year to attend University. The government loaned me this money. Once I graduated, any income over a certain threshold was taxed at 1.5% and any income over a further threshold at 3% until the loan was repaid. The loan amount increases with inflation (CPI).

      There are two main problems with it: 1 - it penalises disciplines that are productive in the economy. The BA student who either neve

      • This actually sounds better than the proposed system. Even with the problems you mention, a loan from the government where there's no choice about repayment is better, because you're only on the hook for the specific debt you choose. In the proposed system, anyone with an education pays the tax forever. When schools decide in the future to fire half the teaching staff in order to pay for a new stadium, graduates who would never have chosen to attend such a school have no choice but to pay for that. Payi
    • This is actually a really good idea. However, it does need some limits, particularly with regard to tuition prices. This proposal will give universities to raise tuition prices like mad. We need to place some serious restrictions on those.

      A decent idea? I don't think so. A decent idea is going to a school you can actually afford. I have no interest in paying for you to go to Embry Riddle or Fullsail college. If you want to drop $100k a year going to Harvard, you can pay for it. I am not going to pay a tax to cover your educational choices. You want to go to that fancy school? You can pay for it. If you can't understand personal finance well enough to understand that you'll be burdened with debt for the rest of your life if you take out

      • I agree with this. From what I've looked at, most schools in the US are the same price as the schools in Canada, provided you choose to go to a school in your own state. If you choose to go out of state, you start paying close to international student rates, which are quite high. If there are no good schools in your state, then that is something to push on the government. Taxes are fine to pay for schools, but they should be set up to create quality schools in your own state, so you don't have to move acr
  • by purnima ( 243606 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:09AM (#46244489)

    called HECS. []

    It began in the 1990's and was developed by the economist Bruce Chapman. []

    It is a great success in Australia. I graduated under the system. It was perfect for me, because I had no money to study but made some after and payed the loans through my taxes.

    • This scheme works a treat making it cost free to attend universities however there are some ways it gets abused. If you can avoid paying income tax in Australia then you can avoid paying back the HECS fees. The classic way of doing it is by emigrating to the UK once University is finished. The government has no recourse to reclaim unpaid HECS. Currently the government has a $23bn HECS deficit because of these practices.

      Another form of abuse led to meeting some interesting folks during my time at Uni. Specif

      • by rvw ( 755107 )

        If you can avoid paying income tax in Australia then you can avoid paying back the HECS fees. The classic way of doing it is by emigrating to the UK once University is finished.

        Seriously?! The classic way? If I can rob a bank for $25m and can get away to the UK without having to pay the "tax", I would do it, but fleeing the country for 3% extra tax sounds absurd.

        And for those few 90+ students you can set an age limit, or a limit on the number of years. Or you can set an increasing onetime tax for each college year after 40.

        • Yes seriously that's the "classic" way of doing it. It may be a few percent but it still amounts to some $20k - $50k depending on the degree. The fact is that there are many people who right now have an idea in their head of not staying in the country in which they grew up. My sister is a classic case. She's wanted to live in Paris since I can remember. Well she got her degree and left. She didn't flee because of 5% tax, that was just an extra sweetener in the deal.

        • It's a "classic" for Aussies because going to the UK is practically a stage of life for many of them. They're not necessarily going to avoid the tax, it's just a convenient side effect.

    • Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but this does not look to me to be the same thing at all. The proposal in the article is that ALL students would qualify, and ALL graduates would be required to pay. The HELP scheme, it looks to me, is only for students who qualify, and only students who participated are required to pay back.
  • by portforward ( 313061 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:14AM (#46244527)

    implement this will be very popular with college students and then everyone will move to the "traditionally funded college" state schools to avoid the tax. Also the STEM, medical and business students will end up subsidizing the fine art, journalism and french medieval poetry students and their professors. This already happens to a degree (no pun intended), but at least the penalty is more born by the student through loans that need to be repaid, rather than the people who studied a more rigorous and practical career. Also, we will probably end up with too many people who go through law school because there is really no penalty to attend (besides lost wages) and then they won't be able to find jobs and then become something else.

    • This happens in Australia. Even with a country wide tax there's nothing stopping someone from emigrating after studying is finished and thus never repaying the student loan.

    • by asylumx ( 881307 )

      Also the STEM, medical and business students will end up subsidizing the fine art, journalism and french medieval poetry students and their professors.

      I see this as the bigger problem. It's not that I don't think these degrees should exist, but there is low demand for these degrees so we should be discouraging too many people from pursuing them if we're going to make efficient use of these tax dollars. The problem is as soon as you start favoring some degrees over others, you'll have the anti-gov't folks

  • by thaylin ( 555395 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:16AM (#46244547)

    1. People who go to college and graduate, only to become stay at home dads/moms would be a burden on the system.. Easy to fix for marriages, but harder for the unmarried.

    2. People who dont graduate/stay in school forever.

    3. Dwindling population, in general, or just of graduates, will destroy the system.

    And that is just at a quick thought.

    • The sad truth is that higher education is not necessary for most people.

      Removing the bar of it costs something will effectively open the schools up to a flood of freeloaders who will never graduate to repay the system.

      No person who is willing to work for it should be denied a collegiate opportunity... and I doubt very many who are willing are denied it.

      • So limit the number of entries and then select them according to GPA.

        College admission should depend on how smart you are, not how wealthy.

        • Some form of merit could be used, perhaps, but wouldn't you say GPA is a bit subjective from high school to high school?

          A cousin of mine never got below an A in any class except physical education, which was basically a required C all four years she attended.

    • So what's to stop people from graduating and moving to another country where this tax doesn't exist?
      How will this affect foreign students who are there just to get a good education?

  • I have to point out that this is program would remove all barrier to college entry. If there is no cost to start education, and not finish it, then there will be millions of people who do so. Think of the problem we have now of so many students not knowing what they want out of life just joining college. I do agree that the current system of student loans is badly broken. I have many friends who bear an unreasonable level of debt.

    • Numbers remain a barrier for entry. I'm not sure how the system works in the USA but in Australia where we have exactly this kind of tax funded student "loan" they are proposing universities limit the entries for each degree. When people sign up they put down their preferences for which uni to attend and the universities start at the top of the pecking order (best grades) and work their way down till their quota is finished.

      At the end of the year they publish a book with a list of every university and every

    • I have to point out that this is program would remove all barrier to college entry.

      You mean except for admissions tests, high school grades, admissions committees, and limited budgets? Just because someone else is paying up front doesn't mean that Harvard is going to let you in. Even big state schools like University of Michigan or University of Virginia have relatively high admissions standards and money doesn't really need to play a role in those. Either you're good enough to get in or you aren't. Nothing wrong with community college or trade schools if those are a better fit for so

    • by bsolar ( 1176767 )
      Make graduating accordingly hard so that only the best graduate and only the expected number. This way the barrier of entry is not based on wealth but based on merit.
  • by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:23AM (#46244609) Homepage

    For fifty to sixty years now government on all levels, Feds in particular have tried over and over to "fix" education. And what has happened every single time? It has gotten worse and/or more expensive. GET THE FUCK OUT OF EDUCATION. That this suggestion comes from a nominal business magazine like Forbes is even more abhorent (Malcomn Sr must be rolling in his grave).

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )

      Please explain why the most successful countries when it comes to education and international comparison tests have "socialized" education systems.

      Education and your chance to it must depend on what's in your brain, not what's in your wallet!

      • Please explain why the most successful countries when it comes to education and international comparison tests have "socialized" education systems.

        Education and your chance to it must depend on what's in your brain, not what's in your wallet!

        The problem is that it takes more than what's in your brain. Even the brightest child, will not do well later in education if they don't have the basics available. Likewise, an average child, given the right upbringing will succeed quite well. It's not all nature, nurture has a lot to do with it, too.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:24AM (#46244613)

    But what about those that already went through college and are now paying off their loan? Do they get to pay off twice or what?

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:31AM (#46244669) Homepage

    It is called income tax. If your college stay helped increase your income, you should already be paying more taxes.
    Unfortunately, this tax is currently quite broken for the rich.

    This system is far far better than extra taxes for college graduates. Most college graduates did not go to college to make more money, so they cannot afford to pay extra taxes on their income which is already lower than their peers who did not go to college.

    I lot of people go to college to get art degrees. And I do not see adding an extra tax on millions of minimum wage workers.

  • Bullshit! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stevegee58 ( 1179505 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:33AM (#46244685) Journal
    How about the federal government and higher education address the root causes that contributed to a 1000% increase in tuition and fees since 1980?
    Low cost federally subsidized student loans are a major part of this problem. It's bad enough that this is a huge overstepping of federal authority. The availablility of billions of dollars of cheap money has fueled the fire of educational hyperinflation. Take away the cheap money - tuitions go down.
    Maybe more people in Congress should go take EC101 again (for the first time).
  • Richer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:34AM (#46244691)
    The summary describes why this isn't necessary - college graduates make more money. This means they already pay more taxes.
  • by PseudoCoder ( 1642383 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:36AM (#46244703)

    Eventually they'll find something soft and squeeze and then they'll own me. That's terrific! Let's also further minimize risk, so I have no idea what is wise and what isn't. This way I get to make others pay for my prospect-less liberal arts degree. That's so nice of them! Now everybody will get into college, even the less scholarly types who would be better off in trade schools, and graduation rates will plummet, and this new super efficient government program will be paying for those who flunk out and will exempt them from paying anything since they didn't graduate because the over achievers oppressed them somehow and they are the ones who should pay for drop-outs anyways. That's so sustainable!

    We should make everything "communal"! Just like they did in that union that isn't there anymore. Or that other country that's still there imprisoning its dissenters and running them over with tanks. I love my Brave New World!

  • I call bullshit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XB-70 ( 812342 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:36AM (#46244707)
    The biggest issue surrounding higher education is the lack of oversight of university administration over-spending.

    There is also an enormous trend toward creating universities in towns and cities that are suffering economic collapse just for the sake of optics.

    No one is looking at employment outcomes nor are they looking at job trends. Putting a tax on the lucky few employed graduates to subsidize fat-cat administrators, university contractors and their ilk does nothing to help the ones who need it most, the students.

    Stop this lunacy before it starts.

  • And who pays (and how?) for the initial students who will later pay the tax?
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:37AM (#46244715)

    How about no tution at all? It works great for Germany. ... Just sayin' ...

    (Cue "Nanny State!", "OMG SOCIALIZM!!", "Obviously won't work because of reasons a,b,c and d", etc. remarks below, thank you.)

    Allthough we do have Semestergeühren. Something like 150€ per Semster (GASP!) of enrollment fees. ... This is outrage! I'm going to protest tomorrow. ... Oh, wait, you get the public transport flatrate for that ... and student benefits (cheaper access to public events, etc.) ... Scratch that, I guess I won't protest after all.

    Seriously, you guys should move out of the middle ages allready. Healthcare, tution-free college and metric system. It works. Get with the programm. :-)

    My 2 cents.

    • Whoops. It's "Semestergebühren", with a 'b'. Sorry.

    • Of course, Germany system only works because they break children up into different academic tracks at the fourth grade. If you're not in the top track, you're simply not allowed to go to college. Maybe you're fine with having someone's entire life being set in stone at 10 years old because some bureaucrat decided they were or weren't one of the ubermensch, but I hardly consider that a model to aspire to here.

  • So, the question is, how would this work? Would it go into effect and only those graduates who got a free education would be subject to the tax? Or would the tax apply to all college graduates, even those who graduated before it started (and thus had to take on a large student debt)?
    Either way, I don't think it is a good idea, but others have touched on the reasons so I will not go into that.
  • by skipkent ( 1510 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:44AM (#46244775)

    Get the government out of the loan business and prices will drop like a rock.

  • by Marful ( 861873 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:45AM (#46244781)
    Or how about we fix the problem by cutting out all the bloat in our education costs? [] [] []
  • Easy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:45AM (#46244787)
    1. Attend college in Oregon 2. Move to another state/country 3. Profit Since it's a tax, and not a debt, you don't legally owe anything back and you are free to move elsewhere.
  • by ReallyEvilCanine ( 991886 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @09:46AM (#46244791) Homepage
    Even if institutions are non-profit or not-for-profit, cost have been running amok. Schools are paying outrageous sums to executive staff (but -- surprise, surprise -- not to teachers) and spending money hand-over-fist on projects and buildings and anything else they can think of. As long as this spending remains unchecked the best financing plans in the world can't and won't fix the situation.
  • making payments on current college loans should exempt one from paying the tax. The last thing someone needs who is already saddled with huge debt is an extra tax to save someone who was lucky enough to be born a little later from that same debt.

    Actually, it would be nice if the tax only applied to the people who graduated through the program. Otherwise people who pre-dated it are getting charged twice! But.. that probably can't happen since it would require funding from somewhere else to pay for that fir

  • how about you pay for your own **** freeloaders. I worked 50hour weeks at a mail sorting facility to put myself through college. Through hard work and saving every penny I made, I paid off my loans in 3 years. Folks in this country.... always wanting someone else to pay for their crap

    Govt isn't supposed to have any part in any of this []

  • Maybe for student athlete who make say over $1M year can be taxed to pay back for there college that they got cheap or in to a fund to lower costs for non student athletes.

  • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:06AM (#46244951) Homepage Journal

    Indirection just delays the anger and fear, and keeps it from being expressed. People ought to be seeing numbers-right-now in their faces, getting horrified, and yelling back. Just like with loans, this will make people think, "Oh, I pay later when I'm rich," and suppresses the sticker shock.

    We NEED the sticker shock. And we all (not just students) need to get shocked by it. Because the problem of education isn't who pays and how they pay, but how much you pay for it. The price is totally unrealistic compared to the capital required to provide the service.

  • by FirstOne ( 193462 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:13AM (#46245019) Homepage

    Traditional college is vastly overrated and a waste of huge amounts of resources. Most grads don't end up having jobs related to their major [].

    It's just a matter of time before most classrooms will be replaced by remote learning [] . Leaving only the lab-work to be completed in some rented facility.

    Instead of trying to find new ways(taxes) to prop up a overpriced, obsolete, low ROI, educational system, we should go forward and cost reduce the whole Enchilada. Deploy a national fibre network to every occupied structure within reason, similar to the old rural electrification act brought electricity to most farms.

    Besides educational aspects of a national fibre network. I will bet their will be large number of societal fringe benefits, reduced travel needs, lower levels of communicable diseases, reduced crime, reduced infrastructure requirements, etc. Remember the benefits that occurred when President Clinton removed SA from GPS sats, that act spawned entirely new industries overnight.

    So don't look at patching up our backwards educational system, go forward into the future.

  • by felrom ( 2923513 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @10:25AM (#46245131)

    It's why the government taxes cigarettes, alcohol, and machine guns: because they want less of those things.

    If you start taxing college, you'll get fewer people going to college, and fewer people who went will work as hard as they would have otherwise. If you want to fix college tuition problems, then stop underwriting loans with tax dollars. Let private investors determine the proper risk of each student based on GPA, SAT, and the field they want to study.

    It's such a daftly basic concept of economics, that it's depressing to see so many smart people trip over their own feet trying to explain why it shouldn't apply. You can rationalize to yourself why this is different all you want, but as Feynman said, "Nature cannot be fooled."

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.