Monday, March 21, 2016

Bernie Sanders' Phony Free College Claims

Whether it's during a debate with Hillary Clinton or at a campaign appearance on the road, Bernie Sanders continues to hype his plan for tuition-free college by arguing that "countries all over the world" provide this benefit to their students.  Usually, he mentions socialist Sweden as his shining example.

The problem with Sanders' "all over the world" comment, is that only 9 countries in a world of nearly 200 have tuition-free college: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Norway, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey.  That is not the impression he leaves you with when he says "countries all over the world". Also understand, that when he uses the term "tuition-free" many seem to think that all the costs of going to college will be paid for; just as in Sweden.

Now here's the truth:

College graduates in Sweden enter the workforce with the highest ratio of college debt-to-income in the world, because in order to pay for all the "free stuff" they get, the worker taxation rate is about 60%.  Whereas, in the U.S. the average worker pays 31% in taxes.  And, yes, they do have college debt, which Bernie implies doesn't exist. In fact, 85% of Swedish college graduates have debt equaling $19,000; when, in the U.S., only 50% of students have any debt. When they do, it averages $24,800. Also understand, that free tuition doesn't include fees, course materials, room, board, and transportation costs; and these are typically the highest costs for those not living at home. Also, because of the high debt-to-income ratio and high costs of living and taxation, Swedish graduates take years longer to pay off that supposedly smaller debt.

Sadly, Bernie Sanders is distorting the issue of tuition-free college for pure political gain.  Once again "the grass isn't always greener on the other side".


Sanders said, "Making public colleges and universities tuition free, that exists in countries all over the world, used to exist in the United States.":

The High Price of a Free College Education in Sweden:

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