Why College Should Be Made Free
The question of whether college education should be made free has become a topic of discussion with an unclear and complicated answer. The debate about the affordability of college education and the crisis of student debts has always taken center stage during presidential seasons. College raptor 2020 article written by Ellen Anderson notes that the majority of the presidential candidates have always built their agenda around the issue of college costs ( Andersen, 2). Noteworthy, the cost of a college degree is rising at a faster rate than the inflation rate in the United States. Most students particularly from the disadvantaged class face dire financial challenges when the time comes to attend college. Education has become a significant aspect of life as it impacts society positively and as such, it should tuition fees particularly for college should be free. While taxes will go up, college should be free to everyone because lower-income students will be afforded the luxury to attend college, it will lower the student debt across the board and students will enjoy the freedom to choose a major of their choice.
Low-Income Students Will Attend College.
By making college tuition-free, the government will be granting all people access to quality education including low-income students who do not have the luxury to attend college. This is because the cost of college is not very affordable to the students that come from low-income backgrounds. These students are often forced to drop out of college as they are not in a position to pay four years’ worth of tuition. As such, because they no longer have to worry about fees, they will have fewer reasons for not finishing school and graduating. Additionally, reducing tuition fees further translates into improved quality of education because the graduation rate will increase. Students will not feel the need to be away from school for any reason or study part-time while taking unnecessary breaks. To afford college tuition fees, most low-income students have to work part-time in between classes to raise extra money for fees and day-to-day upkeep. This affects their productivity because they have divided attention and have to form a balance between studies and work. This affects their studies and they end up performing poorly in their studies as they do not have sufficient time to study and work in between jobs just to sustain themselves in school.
Making College Education Free Lowers the Student Debt Across the Board
By making college education free, the government will be eliminating the problematic issue of student loans that students have to put up with. Student debts crush the spirit of younger generations because they have to repay the student loans once they graduate and enter the employment scene. This means that as soon as they get their first job, they have to prioritize paying back their college loans which limits their capacity to make investments for their future developments. The average American students incur student loans amounting to $37, 000; students who are graduate with loans amounting to less than $10,000 are deemed lucky (Chingos, 45).
Worth noting, nonresidential students who originate from countries that have eliminated tuition fees have an upper hand become most of their loans emanate from books and living expenses. With the burden of student loans on their backs, they are better placed to make worthwhile investments such as buying a house. This way they do away with monthly rents which they would have paid had they decided to rent an apartment. Further, they will be in a position to make better contributions to the economy and society by extension. They do so by traveling more, purchasing cars, and spending more money purchasing healthy foods.
Students Enjoy More Freedom to Choose A Major They Enjoy
Another reason why the government should consider making college education free is that it will grant students an opportunity to pursue a career they enjoy. As is, students rush to pursue majors based on careers that are likely to pay more lucratively upon graduation. This is because they feel pressure from their parents and also because of the sense of urgency to repay their student loan in the shortest way possible. If the students did not have to deal with the pressure to repay student loans or feel pressure from parents, then they would be more comfortable and relaxed about selecting majors they love. They would be driven by interest and passion in the specific field rather than large paychecks that come with working in certain careers. This contributes to development because by pursuing a field they have interests in they will be more self-driven and dedicated and they are likely to do well because they are not only motivated by good salaries and benefits attached to a job but also interest. In essence, interest and enjoyment in a specific field go a long way in ensuring that students finish their courses and also prevent them from experiencing burnout which leads to poor productivity and low grades.
College Tuition Money Has to Come from Somewhere
If a tuition-free college policy was to take root in America, the question that we would have to deal with would be where the money would come from. The reality is, the finances to cover the cost of tuition particularly for public colleges would come from taxes. This would mean that taxpayers, that is, citizens would be forced to dig deeper into their pockets to account for the money. Although the taxes that citizens pay is depended on the amount of income that one generates, this means that the population that would be largely impacted are the members of the upper class (Strempel and Stephen, 33). Further, it is also likely that the amount of taxes paid by the upper-middle classes would also be increased substantially. There is even a chance that the money would come from speculation taxes made by Wall Street. However the case, this money will have to come from somewhere and someone will pay for them through taxes. There is a lot of uncertainty among Americans about who will bear the burden of the taxes and it is making citizens rather uncomfortable. However, it can be argued that although the money will have to come from somewhere, it is still a decision that deserves consideration. The benefits that would come from eliminating college fees outweigh the burden of taxes. It is a sacrifice worth making because it will be helping students from low-income backgrounds who would otherwise not have attended college a chance at education.
College Might Lose Importance
Another reason why the government should not consider making college education free is that it might make college education lose meaning and seem unimportant. This decision would impact the education system directly in that it will devalue college degrees. College degrees will eventually seem worthless because almost everybody will be having a degree. After all, every person will be eligible to attend college. Further, it will make students lose interest in education with some students cutting classes. This has to do with the fact that they will not be mandated to work hard to achieve good grades to get the worth of their money. On the contrary, if they pay fees, they will feel the need to perform well because they will not want their fees to go to waste. Currently, with the existence of college loans, students feel the need to finish college as fast as possible so that they can get a job and repay their loans. Without financial drive, students will become lazy. In spite of this, removing college fees is something that the US should consider because it will save many people the pain of having to repay hefty loans which take away from young graduates. Young graduates can use this first time salaries for other initiatives that contribute to development such as buying a house or starting a business.
Young People Will Not Know How to Deal With Finances
If colleges are made free, the young generation will not get a chance to get first-hand experience when it comes to the management of finances. College is always a learning experience where young people learn tips on how they can manage money by saving from the limited budgets at their disposal. College loans are the first significant financial dealing they come across. Additionally, paying off the debt on time is a testimony that a person is responsible to budget their money; they use similar skills when buying cars or houses. If school is made free, they will not have a chance to get this experience which might land them in trouble in the future when making even bigger financial decisions.
The issue of rising college debts has always been a topic of discussion. While making college education free is a good idea worth employing, it also poses serious dilemmas, particularly for the students. Making college education free will eliminate the burden of student loans. Further, it will lower the student debt across the board and students will enjoy the freedom to choose a major of their choice. If a tuition-free college policy would take root, the taxpayer would be forced to dig deeper into their pockets to cater to these bills. Further, college education will importance and younger generations will not know how to handle expenses while they are still young which is important because it teaches them accountability and discipline.
Andersen, E. (2020, July 31). Should college be free: Pros and cons – College raptor. College Raptor Blog. https://www.collegeraptor.com/find-colleges/articles/affordability-college-cost/pros-cons-tuition-free-college/Chingos, Matthew M. “Who would benefit most from free college?.” (2016).
Strempel, Eileen L., and Stephen J. Handel. Beyond Free College: Making Higher Education Work for 21st Century Students. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2021.