U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy recently came out in favor of making college a part of a free public education.
“If your family earns $125,000 or less, then your college experience would be tuition and expense free,” he told a group of students, faculty and administrators Friday at Southern Connecticut State University.
We see his point - about that in a minute - but it comes with a big, very big, ‘yes, but …”
First, a college education is increasingly important as a necessary step to a middle-class lifestyle. More and more jobs require some kind of advanced training, at least those that come with a wage sufficient to support a family. A degree, then, can make the difference between a lifetime of poverty and a comfortable future.
Second, many lives are affected by the need to pay off big student loans, well into middle age. In fact, Murphy himself is in that boat.
“I might be the only member of the Senate that is still paying back student loans,” said Murphy, who is 44 and a graduate of the University of Connecticut Law School. At the same time, “I also have young children who I have to worry about paying the cost of education for.”
In fact, some neighboring states are making community college free to residents, just as a century ago, our forefathers added high school to the public school curriculum.
However, the “yes, but” is obvious. A broke Connecticut, at least at this time, needs to shed responsibilities, not take on new ones.
In other words, without federal assistance - and that seems like a long shot - we just can’t afford it!