Teen Vogue argues for ‘free’ college because college really isn’t worth it 

November 3, 2021

By John Ransom

Teen Vogue says the enrollment in colleges and universities are set to drop 500,00 students this year and on that pace the country “will witness the largest drop-off in U.S. college enrollment in 50 years” if President Joe Biden doesn’t fulfill his campaign promise to cancel $1.7 trillion in student debt. 

Teen Vogue seems to be arguing that it doesn’t see the value in a college education unless it doesn’t cost students anything individually, regardless of what it costs taxpayers collectively. 

“This follows a multiyear trend of declining enrollment, due in part to — you guessed it — the cost of college,” said Teen Vogue. “The numbers are showing that Gen Z is asking a legitimate question: What is the price of a college education really worth in the U.S.?”    

That’s definitely a worthwhile question to ask, and maybe one that should have been asked a long time ago, before President Barack Obama encouraged American students to take on record student debt through his version of Build Back Better, which the Wall Street Journal called the Great Student Loan Scam.   

Since the inception of the scam in 2010, student debt has doubled, with total debt at graduation growing from $24,200 to “an estimated $36,900,” according to the Education Data Initiative. 

“The total national student loan debt balance has outgrown the value of the US dollar by 1,312%,” says Educationdata.org, while “the enrolled student population has increased by 4.7%.” 

But what Teen Vogue is really arguing for is that money that is now available via student loans —and which has fueled the inflation in student debt and college costs– be moved away from students to use as they please and instead go to community colleges, one of the last places where college is still affordable. 

“This news is especially stinging given that a key college affordability policy within Biden’s Build Back Better bill, two free years of community college,” wrote Teen Vogue about Biden’s inaction in canceling student debt, “was cut out because of obstruction from West Virginia senator Joe Manchin. That decision, says Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), will cause the student debt crisis to ‘absolutely be exacerbated.’”

Not so. Community college is nearly free already, a ready alternative to those who don’t want to be stuck with excessive debt after college.  

“The average cost of community college attendance is $7,460 total or $1,865 per semester,”  said educationdata.org. That’s about $71 per week, well within the range of pretty much everyone except the most destitute. 

But when the federal money is moved out of the federal student loan program and into community colleges to pay for “free” education, as Teen Vogue advocates, expect for prices at community colleges to rise to keep pace with the inflow of federal dollars, skewing the benefits of community college by hiking the price.  

A college education is not a travel destination. It’s a way to have a better life and make your life meaningful in relation to the rest of society and your family. 

The individual cost of going to school, and what it can provide in terms of lifetime earnings is still the best way to gauge its value.

Teen Vogue can’t have it both ways and argue that school is too expensive for students to take personal responsibility for reasonable costs of education but so valuable to society that the American taxpayer should foot the bill regardless of cost.


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