Elizabeth Warren’s College Proposal

As a degreed entomologist (M.S.), I maintain an interest in what is happening in universities from the United States.

At first glance, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan for free college tuition and for refunds of existing student loans sounds good, but in reality it has worrisome implications.

The most serious implication is the flood of students who would show up in lecture halls during the first semester of “free” college.

America’s universities are already crowded, in large part because few new universities have been built in the United States since the 1970s, despite a near doubling of the population. In California, UC Merced (2005) is the only campus built in the UC system since UC Irvine, which opened in 1965.

Making college free would massively worsen the crowding problem on campus. It would probably increase housing costs in college towns because of increased numbers of students renting in these communities.

To relate this issue to Venezuela, let me mention the “Bolivarian universities.” These were conceived as a separate and parallel system to existing Venezuelan universities, such as UCV.  They have politicized university education in Venezuela and have dramatically polarized the student and academic community in that country. Meanwhile, UCV, known as the “Harvard of Venezuela,” has suffered drastic funding cuts and numerous robberies.