How Much the Government Would Have to Spend to Make Public College Tuition-Free

Jordan Weissmann asked a great question: How much would it cost to make a college degree at public universities free? $62.6 billion. That sounds like a lot, until you read this:

If we were we scrapping our current system and starting from scratch, Washington could make public college tuition free with the money it sets aside its scattershot attempts to make college affordable today.

In 2013, the government spent $69 billion on various aid programs. Granted, those include money paid to students at private colleges; Weissmann’s figure of $62.6 billion would only cover public schools. But if the point is to provide an affordable college education, does that really matter?

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