The topic on whether or not ‘college education should be free’ has been a very controversial, yet, awakening topic as of lately. There are plenty of individuals who are in favor of this free tuition schooling idea but also some who are against this proposal for whatever reason that is. Throughout this essay I will explore both sides, more specifically, the benefits and downfall(s) of each, if there is a particular group of people who are in favor of free college education (and vice versa), and why I believe that college tuition should indeed be free. As we consider students’ ability to turn this “tuition money” towards their savings, better/more opportunities for these students post-school, and increased equality, we believe that college education/tuition should be free/not required.
“Should college education be free?” One prime example as to why this question should be answered with nothing other than a “yes” is because with education being free, this will create a widened workforce. What I mean by a “widened workforce” is that certain jobs such as becoming a police officer, teacher, firefighter, and/or engineer are not available for students just because they can not afford to make payments to schools. The amount of individuals who give up on achieving their dreams because them or their families can’t afford to pay their way through school is overwhelming. In fact according to, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/04/more-than-half- of-students-probably-cant-afford-college-due-to-covid-19.html#:~:text=More%20than%20half%2C%20or%2056,and%20universities%20across%20the%20country, more than half of students (approximately 56%) say they either did not attend college or dropped out because of finances. Another topic or reason that I want to touch on, is the ability to increase equality.
Equality would be possible because it would give each student a chance to enroll in college and become what they want, which is what they have always dreamed of. When everyone is given an equal chance and possibility of making themselves into a “somebody” this will only benefit and change our economy for the better. According to ed.gov” it states: “College is More Important, But More Expensive, Than Ever Before”, this is implying that times have changed, throughout the article it states that college is now a necessity in order to be successful later in your life. An example of the earlier statement is, “College graduates with a bachelor’s degree typically earn 66 percent more than those with only a high school diploma; and are also far less likely to face unemployment.”
The next point I will be discussing which is an effect of college being free is the fact that enrollment numbers will spike up dramatically. College is something that everyone wants to attend, to gain a higher understanding of their lives and the world around them. Education is the root of our society, one way or another we are being taught, we will continue to learn and grow from this everyday. According to Morley Winograd, “Even with the loss of students at private colleges and universities, college enrollment overall would increase by 4 to 8 percent, it found.” Now this number may not seem a lot, but this percentage is based on the amount of students that are already enrolled, plus another 4 to 8 percent of new enrollees.
More examples as to why college education should be deemed free is because this will help students become more focused on their school work, you may start to see their grades begin to rise, slowly but steadily. A reason as to why these students will become more focused is because they are no longer entertaining the fact that they have to make payments to the institution, college or university, and are no longer worried about how they will pay their student loan debt when they graduate college.
The average amount of student debt one has when they graduate college is listed at about $37,000, which is more than what some people make a year from their jobs. While people are considered lucky if they are $10,000 in debt when they graduate, this number is still a lot of money that is required to be paid back. These colleges have too much power when it comes down to their tuition. They are constantly taking advantage of individuals who want to further their education by raising their tuition whenever they feel like it, and on top of that, they are granted with the ability to limit the amount of financial aid they can give to those students.
According to https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/gs 9202018 free-college.pdf, it says “The price of college is rising, making college feel out of reach for a rising share of Americans. Families can borrow to be sure, but with total student loan debt now above $1 trillion nationally, the situation seems unsustainable.” Based on this statement the amount of money that colleges require just for you to get an education and diploma is, might I say stupid.
A topic I want to touch on is that if these students were not required to pay for tuition, what could this mean for the countless thousands and thousands of dollars that could end up anywhere else.. Just imagine, instead of paying 20-30-40 thousand dollars a year for tuition, you being able to invest this money, put this money away for future use, buy your mom a house, move your family out of the hood, invest in your future, and/or start a business, all of these opportunities seem better than having to pay for school. You could, and would, be so further ahead in life that the saying “how am I going to live after college”, wouldn’t even cross your mind. Your future is the most important thing that you’ll be focused on/worrying about after college. But instead of worrying about how much money you’ll have to pay back due to loans and debt, you’ll be focused on what’s your next investment, what type of car do you want, what type of neighborhood you want to live in, ideas like that.
Discussing the dispute between people supporting free college education, and those against it brings a lot of tension between people. Some who are heavily in favor of free college education are willing to push their proposal(s) to universities, and possibly even the government. We, or I personally believe that any form of education, not just college education, after high school should be free of tuition. I simply just have a problem with charging students because they want to progress themselves, and get a higher education.
Thinking about how all of these ex-college students could be living right now, if they didn’t have to worry about finances, and funding for college they could be living a better life as of right now. A quote from a source that I want to use says, “Some students drop out because they do not have the ability to pay for tuition all four years. Getting rid of tuition would eliminate this reason for not graduating.” the source collegeraptor.com states.
Another benefit of free college education is that students may have more freedom to choose a major that they are actually interested in. Imagine that you want to become a(n) aerospace engineer, which takes about 6 years to complete this degree, but instead you are forced to change your major to something such as education, which takes about 4 years and probably $50,000 dollars less. After grants and scholarships, and financial aid being totaled up, most students still have to take out loans just to pay their way through school.
On top of all this, a issue I have with the high amount of tuition, and other fees such as room and board/book fees, that those individuals are still put in a predicament that they’ll have to pay back almost three times as much of the amount of money that they make in their prospective careers, IF they are lucky enough to be able to work in the such field that they have completed an degree in. This is a whole nother issue, the fact that most of these students who spend the money and effort into actually going to college, aren’t guaranteed to have a career in that field.
A topic/issue that I want to touch on is, according to https://edsource.org/2020/tuition- free-college-is-critical-to-our-economy/641232, “Research shows that the private and public economic benefit of free community college tuition would outweigh the cost. That’s why half of the states in the country already have some form of free college tuition.” This quote is stating that some schools in some areas have already started making the adjustment to help benefit these individuals by offering free tuition. However, many of these programs are only beneficial if you meet its requirements. Such as, fall into the right income bracket, come from a split home, be the first to attend college in your family, among many others. Many students who could benefit from these programs get overlooked because they just barely sit outside of these requirements.
According to https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/5-reasons-why-college-should-be-free/. “When people are more educated, they can solve problems better. This means that society can progress at a faster rate. Additionally, people with education can better understand the history of their society and its current economic conditions.” This quote/saying is a prime example as to why every college, institution should make the adjustment to provide free education. Being a student, who’s already enrolled in college to begin taking classes next fall, I feel like the amount of money that we’re required to pay is heart breaking.
Regardless of how much money you are awarded through financial aid, there is always some type of blow back on you, or whoever was/is helping fund your way through college. Another example I found from this source is “When students have loans and financial aid, they may find themselves stuck worrying about how they will have to pay them back in the future. This added stress can negatively impact their focus during the time when they are supposed to be learning.”, which will begin to affect them in the classroom, grades will start to drop and their attendance may start to go down, dealing with any amount of stress is unreal.
A source that has granted me with a better understanding and outlook on this topic is https://www.theedadvocate.org/a-free-college-education-a-basic-american-right/, and a good example that really stood out to me is, “For a college education to really have the intended impact on the individual and society as a whole, it needs to be affordable, or completely free. It is a basic American right.” Students are usually rushed into low paying jobs right after education, due to the threat of having to pay back loans in six months and usually they end up stuck in these jobs longer than they expected instead of working in a job directly related to their degree.
Parents who assist their kids in paying for school could be using that money towards paying off their own debt, building their own business and possibly investing into other businesses. It’s starting to seem like a never ending cycle, parents who went to school are paying off their own debt, then on top of that are helping their children get through school financially, then when those children become parents they’ll be paying off their school debts and more than will help their children pay for their finances, it’s as if you play a song but keep it on loop for 100 plus times.
A pro that I found from, https://smartasset.com/student-loans/the-pros-and-cons-of-free- college, is that “Free College Would Expand Access to Education”. I conducted a survey online by asking some friends/followers why they chose to not attend college, or why they dropped out of college, and the feedback that I always received was “I can’t afford it” or some say “because college is a scam, they just want you for your money”. This is a blowback on/of the fact that not every student comes from wealthy parents who have $100 thousand dollars to feed into their child’s school. But, removing any margin of payments or funding needed in order to attend college, the “high cost of a degree” will no longer exist.
Doing some simple thinking and research, due to college education becoming free of any tuition, this would also serve to improve college graduation rates, as fewer students would feel the need to drop to part-time status or take a break from education for financial reasons. Another fact that I want to point out to further stress my opinion on whether or not college education should be free is that “The federal government’s outstanding student loans (totaling $1.5 trillion) and rising defaults have also raised calls for forgiveness. The Biden administration appears sympathetic to that plea, and in recent weeks has moved closer to that prospect than Biden was in his campaign.”
According to https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/making-public- colleges-tuition-free-wont-close-enrollment-gap/. 1.5 trillion in outstanding student loans is just simply overwhelming, doing a little research there is about 44.7 million students who have been, or are currently enrolled in college. Dividing that 1.5 trillion by 44.7 million gives each current/ex-student $33,557 worth of debt which isn’t including the amount of interest that they may be charged due to those loans that’ll only increase the amount of money they owe. My last and final source that I would like to include in my essay is https://ostatic.com/essays/college-tution-in-this-essay-i-argue-why-college-tution-should-be-free-english-i-northampton-community-college-essay.
Throughout this passage I learned some very valuable information that’ll help contribute to my point of view on this topic. According to the article it says, “As stated by a member of the German students’ union, Mandy Gratz, ‘We don’t want students to go into debt because they want to study.’ (Marcus) Even though, countless college students already have a large amount of debt from living expenses, such as rent, books, supplies and transportation (Marcus).” I decided to choose this article, and statement last because I felt like this would put my point of view to bed. The wording and tone of the quote posted above pretty much describes how every college student is feeling, it just puts their thoughts into perspective. Now, if you happened to be in this situation and/or position, I feel as if you would want the same thing, for a change to be made to students paying just to “study”.
In conclusion, discovering all the facts, reasons, and statistics given throughout this whole essay, the obvious and smart decision would be to diminish tuition, and let students obtain a free, but quality education, with whichever major they may choose. Student debt can and will ruin lives, limit these students’ options, and create tension when it begins to come down to their money and the amount they have to put into their education. Considering the amount of student debt in the U.S, the potential for ruined futures, the removal of student debt can clear the way for money being saved and invested, better/more opportunities for these students post-school and increased equality for students, college tuition should be free, student debt should be cancelled or removed, we believe that college education/tuition should be free/not required.
- Harris N., Douglas and Farmer-Hinton, Raquel “The promise of free college (and its potential pitfalls)” September 2018 https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/gs_9202018_free-college.pdf
- Winograd, Morley and Lubin, Max. “Tuition-free college is critical to our economy” November 2, 2020 https://edsource.org/2020/tuition-free-college-is-critical-to-our-economy/641232