Who could have predicted such a thing? Aren’t you shocked?

George Leef writes at National Review:

One State Has Already Tried ‘Free College’ with Predictably Bad Results

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone went to college, got real smart, and made lots of money? That would give a state a tremendous boost, right?

Like all “progressive” schemes for reshaping the world, that fails. In today’s Martin Center article, Louisiana-based writer Kevin Boyd takes a look at a program in his state that gives students free college. Louisiana is still in its low economic orbit, but the costs to the state just keep escalating.

Boyd explains that the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) started as a private initiative for a small number of poor students in 1988. Soon, however, the state took it over and, inevitably, it began to grow like mad. The program’s original income-cap was abolished in 1998 and academic eligibility standards were lowered.

Supposedly, TOPS was needed to keep the state’s brightest students from going to college in other states, but no matter where a smart kid goes to college won’t tie him to his home state when better offers emerge elsewhere.

And whereas the program began as a means of helping the poor, it has turned into a huge subsidy for the middle class and wealthy.

As with any big subsidy program, TOPS has grown more and more costly to state taxpayers. Boyd writes, “The TOPS budget has quintupled, growing from $54 million in 1998 to $293 million in 2019.


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