Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald’s $100 college saving program launched this week. Parents of kindergartners enrolled in public schools in the county will soon receive letters informing them an account has been opened for their children.
Not only will the county make the financial investment, but it will be saddled with $522,000 in annual administrative costs. This is a substantial amount of the $2 million budget. This bloat is not something that would be sustainable in a non profit charity. A charity would be accountable to donors as County Councilman Dave Greenspan pointed out.
The intention was to get more children to go to college by encouraging families to invest, but let’s be honest. Who is going to college because the county gave them $100 when they were in kindergarten? The cost of college is astronomical these days. A hundred dollars isn’t a motivating factor to go to college or to invest. When I was in college over 20 years ago, my books were over $300 a semester. The county would be better serving taxpayers by saving this money.
If Fitzgerald absolutely insisted on spending $100 on each kindergartener, perhaps the county could have offered $100 school choice vouchers to those children to go towards the school of their choice. Elementary education is significantly cheaper than college, serves an immediate purpose, and like Ed Fitzgerald’s children, these children could experience the opportunity of a private school education if their parents made that decision. That amount wouldn’t cover the cost of kindergarten tuition , but it would be more in line than college tuition.
Financial competency doesn’t appear to dictate the reason for this program. Perhaps Fitzgerald was pandering for votes from the parents of kindergarteners for his failing gubernatorial campaign .