Free community college is a big hit on the campaign trail as candidates battle over student debt plans but there’s a downside — schools could be overwhelmed by a tide of new students who’d still wind up without degrees.
Most of the Democratic presidential candidates back free tuition for two-year colleges but they’ve skipped over how it would really work. If too many students show up, the system will buckle, even if more cash accompanies them, and students run the risk of being shut out of packed classes, college leaders say. No one has yet figured out how to efficiently transfer community college class credits to four-year universities. And there’s no reliable way to assess how good the programs are in helping students get jobs or move toward four-year degrees.