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A Question About Institutions and Incentives

A conversation that I had yesterday with my 14-year-old son, Thomas, prompts me to pose this question: would college education in the U.S. be improved if it, too, were supplied in the same manner as K-12 schooling is supplied?

That is, would the quality of college education in the U.S. rise (or at least not fall) if every American were assigned to a government owned and operated college nearest to his or her residence?  (Thomas, for example, would be assigned to George Mason University.)  Tuition at these colleges would be $0.00; these colleges’ expenses would be funded exclusively through taxes.  Each college student would be unable to attend any government college save the one to which he or she is assigned (although students would retain the right to attend privately owned and operated colleges that would sustain themselves by charging tuition).

Finally, truancy statutes would be enhanced to require schooling through grade 14 (that is, through a student’s sophomore year in college).

Would this arrangement work?  Would it improve the quality of post-secondary education in America?