Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


By Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D. Traditional Realist

Free community college will be a poison pill for the local governance of the institution and its quality of education for students. There will be an increasing population of unmotivated and non-caring students who believe they are entitled to a two year Associates Degree with little or no effort. They think the government will pay for it all.

The government will not pay for the community college proposed bill but our citizens will and students will be nickeled and dimed. Currently the projected cost has been stated to be $16 billion over 10 years. This estimate will substantially rise as government bureaucrats low ball start up costs of federal give away programs. The scheme is always the same with government money. In this case community colleges will find creative ways to inflate the cost per student.

The bloated federal government makes an outlandish promise like free community college. The state pays a small amount, in this case a quarter while the debt ridden federal government finances ¾ of the program. The state portion will increase with time. As the number of “free service” participants increases to more than anticipated the middle class finds there is a new state or federal tax robbing and redistributing their money. This is a hijacking of their property for a service that most of the recipients will not appreciate or will not take advantage to benefit their situation.

The main issue is that the “free funds” dilute the quality of the service.  The money comes with government strings attached that cause unintended consequences for the community college programs and all the levels of education. In this federal proposal, students will have to maintain a 2.5 grade point average to continue in the federal community college give away. This would put pressure on the administration and staff for students to receive at least this low grade. A 2.5 will become the new F. The federal and state bureaucrats will set quotas and retention percentage requirements in order to receive funding.

Most professors will be encouraged enough by salary, promotion and misplaced sensitivity to the student’s plight of flunking out of the program to lower their grading standards.

External and internal political factors will cause grade inflation by dumbing down all standards to keep the students and the funding. The community college degree will lose its value of being accepted into four-year degree programs and as a job entry credential. The community college experience will become a socially approved and attractive place for hanging out to pass the day away.

The value of education comes from the individual’s desire to improve personal knowledge, as well as economic and social status for it to be meaningful and appreciated. A student not having skin in the game (money) for his own education decreases his personal involvement and stake in the education process. Being in a community college might impress others that he is attending college but he knows he has not earned it.

The throwing of trillions of federal dollars at a problem, like we have seen in public education over the past five decades, does not even improve and certainly does not result in excellence in education. Presently 50% of college freshmen are required to take remedial courses. Free education from kindergarten- high school, has not produced high academic performance as compared with other nations.

Community college was first established in 1901 as a liberal arts school. In the 1930s most focused on job training. Community colleges from their inception have had a mission to address local needs. They have been laboratories of innovative ideas to promote better higher education.

The federal government is too far removed from any real communities to understand their needs. Under Article I Section 8 of the Constitution the federal government has no standing to be involved with education. This was left to the states. The founders realized the federal government would not have its finger on the pulse of each community.

They understood control of education by the federal government would enable government to indoctrinate the people rather than allow their citizens to learn from historical and current sources to learn how to critically think in order to draw their own conclusions. Community college gives many students a second chance to develop stronger academic skills.

The community college system should determine its own educational community desires. This could be a certification, trade or liberal arts emphasis. The central government should keep their paws off attempting to control education from Washington, D. C.

Central government’s intrusion into community colleges will make the credential irrelevant to the graduates. It will be nothing more than an extension of high school.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at

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