05/02/08 — College costs: Several candidates say they are giving education away

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College costs: Several candidates say they are giving education away

It sounds good, the idea that every student in North Carolina will have the chance to go to community college for free.

In fact, you are hearing it quite a bit as the candidates for governor make their final pitches to attract voters to their side of the aisle Tuesday.

And there is reason to want to see as many of North Carolina’s high school graduates as possible head on to some form of higher education and training.

Education really is the key to success and a strong work force.

But as we sit in Wayne County and face at least one tax increase — and yet another if you live in the city limits — some of us are wondering just where all this money is going to come from.

The question is, do we really need to offer free college educations to anyone who wants one?

Too many times, the solution to problems like poverty, dropouts and other concerns is merely to offer handouts — free this, subsidized that.

And what that creates is a culture of dependency.

Perhaps a free college education for those who really need it would help more young people build futures.

But that scholarship — or gift — ought to be coupled with requirements such as sweat equity and grade point average checks.

That way, taxpayers help those whose need is great — and some North Carolina students realize that with a helping hand comes personal responsibility, too.

That will be a lesson in how to fish that they will keep — and use — for a lifetime.

That is a productive use of taxpayer dollars.

Published in Editorials on May 2, 2008 11:15 AM