It deserves an open mind and a balanced exploration of the potential benefits, drawbacks, and alternatives. After all, America's future is at stake.
And nearly everyone agrees that education is one of the biggest factors that will determine the nation's fate going forward. So we have to get it right. Although some people might feel that the current system of higher education and vocational training is working well, many other people believe that it needs at least a little bit of improvement in one way or another. College affordability is often among the top concerns.
When the cost of attending college, university, or trade school is too high, a lot of students simply choose not to pursue a higher education. And that leaves many of them ill-equipped to find good employment, let alone attain the American dream. But high costs also leave some college graduates with levels of debt that hamper their abilities to attain at least a middle-class lifestyle.
The concept of publicly funded education goes all the way back to America's Founding Fathers. In , John Adams wrote: "The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and must be willing to bear the expense of it.
And, believe it or not, there actually was a time in the nation's history when people could attend public colleges for free. The Morrill Act of enabled land-grant colleges to be created by states on federal lands so that higher education could become available to Americans in every social class. The aim was "to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.
In the early days, students could often attend public land-grant colleges without paying any tuition. That was possible because only a relatively small percentage of Americans actually attended college. But as enrollment grew over the years, so did the funding requirements in each state. And that led to public colleges eventually charging tuition and raising their fees as enrollment grew and state funding slowed. Today, the cost of attending many public colleges is so high that a lot of students simply can't afford to go.
As a result, far fewer students from lower-income families attend college than those from upper-income families. That is in spite of the fact that the federal government continues to supply financial aid to eligible students, including Pell Grants which don't have to be repaid.
Here are some other important facts to keep in mind as you explore the question of whether or not college should be free:. Proponents of free college believe that it would benefit the entire nation, not just the individual students who take advantage of it. They see it as both a private and public benefit.
After all, more and more of today's jobs are knowledge-based or require advanced technical skills. So a better-educated workforce would help fill many of the skills gaps that prevent America's economy from growing faster. Plus, since more people would be able to attain employer-desired credentials, more people would be able to take the good-paying jobs that often go unfilled.
And that could result in billions of additional dollars circulating throughout the economy since people tend to spend more money when they have higher incomes and little or no debt.
It could also mean that the government would take in a lot of extra tax revenues, which could go a long way toward paying for free public colleges. But the issue of why college should be free isn't just an economic one.
It's also a moral and philosophical one. Do we want every American, regardless of social standing, to have an equal opportunity to reach his or her potential? That's what this country is supposed to be about, yet social mobility has been eroding for the poor and middle class.
And without easy and affordable access to quality higher education for everyone, the collective intelligence and goodwill of the nation could also erode. America might become even more socially divided. Ultimately, many people believe that a college-level education should be an absolute right, so long as you have the ability to benefit from it.
Put another way, perhaps free education is a concept that shouldn't be arbitrarily limited to K students. Here are some of the other commonly cited reasons why college should be free:. In fact, free college could be the fastest way to destroy precisely what makes higher education in this country exceptional.
And there are better ways to achieve its goal of removing the economic barriers to college. The appeal of free college is clear. Americans have long embraced the college degree as an important mechanism for social mobility, but the price tag has increasingly put higher education out of reach for many. Making public college free would ensure that everyone could afford this ticket to prosperity, and in that sense, would deliver a piece of the American dream.
But college is already free to the lowest-income students, who benefit from generous state and federal grants, as well as private scholarships from their college or university. First, the administration of a means-tested financial aid program is expensive, both for individual students proving their eligibility and for the government offices that exist solely to review reams of paperwork and disburse aid.
Doing away with means testing could generate savings in administrative costs, which would offset at least some of the revenue lost from eliminating tuition. Another, and less obvious, benefit of free college is that it could potentially eliminate the information barrier that currently keeps many disadvantaged students from even applying to college. These potential college students are victims of the opaque structure of our college application and pricing system.
But do these benefits outweigh the tremendous cost? The result? Then, they will drop out and have a student loan — but no skills. Of course not. Public education is funded primarily by property tax. So taxes will go up and all property owners — whether they have college-age children or not — will, in fact, pay for the free college. No, let me reword that. They will pay for the free tuition while soon-to-be college dropouts use student loans.
Colleges and universities are not allowed to limit student loan amounts. If a student is eligible for a loan — whether they need it or not to cover tuition — they are allowed to borrow. It also begs the question, is a college education worth it? Free college has the potential to undermine persistence. Currently, most colleges charge tuition when a student repeats a course.
As in withdrawing from the class. But withdrawing from a class has financial ramifications. At least until now. Once tuition becomes free, I predict increased abuse of withdrawing from classes. After all, the financial incentive to finish what you start has been removed. Currently, prospective college students select an institution of their choice and then fund tuition with grants, scholarships, loans, and savings.
This allows private colleges and public colleges to compete for the same student, and students review financial aid awards and ultimately make decisions based on not just finances — but also fit. In fact, the increase in lifetime income for getting a two-year degree over just a high school diploma, or for getting a four-year degree over a two-year degree, or for getting a post-graduate degree over a four-year degree have all been steadily increasing.
It would seem that anyone with any ambition had better get as much education as possible, whatever the cost. So, yes, the incentive to invest in ever more education has been rising. But there is another side to this story. During the 20 th century, college grads made more and more money as the years went by. During this century, however, their compensation after taking account of inflation has been flat , while the cost of that education has increased.
So they end up with the same income as their college-educated parents, but living at a lower standard of living— sometimes much lower —because of the debt they carry. The only ones whose income has been rising are those with post-graduate degrees, but their debt has been growing even faster. And then there are those who begin a two-year or four-year degree program and do not finish, who wind up with nothing but debt.
Even for those who do succeed in the labor market, the debt they carry from their education more often than not makes it far harder than it used to be to start a family, buy their first home or purchase a car. There is increasing evidence that increasing student debt is slowing down the whole economy.
So, federal government to the rescue. Forgive loans, convert loans to grants, do whatever it takes to relieve the middle class and those aspiring to the middle class of this crushing burden.
It is an easy sell. What could be wrong with this idea? Let the rich continue to pay full freight or something close to it. In another version of this thinking, tie loan forgiveness to the earnings of the graduate, with those earning more paying back more.
Suppose that the costs of higher education per student continue to rise at double the rate of inflation. I will let you do the math.The air is full of why college can t be free about the taxpayers paying for much if not all of the costs of getting college and why college can t be free credentials. Little wonder. The cost of getting a four-year degree has been increasing at twice the rate of inflation for decades. In fact, why college can t be free increase in lifetime income for getting a two-year degree over just a high school diploma, or for getting a four-year degree over a two-year degree, or for getting a post-graduate degree over a four-year degree have all been steadily increasing. Why college can t be free would seem that anyone with any ambition had better get as much education as possible, whatever the why college can t be free. So, yes, the incentive fred invest in ever more education has been rising. But there is another side to this story. During the 20 th century, college grads made more and more money as the years went eb. During this century, however, their compensation after taking account of inflation has been flatwhile the cost of that education has increased. So they end up with the same income as their airdroid for windows 10 free download parents, but living at a lower standard of living— sometimes much lower —because of the debt they carry. The coollege why college can t be free whose income has been rising are those with post-graduate degrees, but their debt has wwhy growing even faster. And then there are csn who begin a two-year or four-year degree program and do not finish, who wind up with nothing but debt. Even for those who do succeed in the labor market, the debt they carry from their education more often than not makes it far harder than it used to be to start a family, buy their first home or purchase a car. There is increasing evidence that increasing student debt is slowing down the whole economy. So, federal government to the rescue. Forgive loans, convert frse to grants, do whatever it takes to relieve the middle class and those aspiring to the middle class of this crushing burden. It is an easy sell. Hwy could be wrong with this idea? Let the rich continue to pay full freight or something close why college can t be free it. And schools can't prohibit students from borrowing more than the cost of tuition. The result? Students will enroll at a “free college” and borrow. Today's free college policies are misguided. Here are 5 reasons why, from how they don't tackle the root cause of why college costs so much to. But college is already free to the lowest-income students, who benefit from Even the most generous free college regime couldn't avoid these. So they end up with the same income as their college-educated parents to the taxpayer can reasonably be characterized as an investment for the Well, say some, we don't have to make higher education free for everyone. College can't be free because someone has to pay for it. If it's free like how Sen. Bernie Sanders wants, then it's adding onto our taxes, which. Today, the cost of attending many public colleges is so high that a lot of students simply can't afford to go. As a result, far fewer students from. Without an overhaul of how we understand student benefits, making college free would boost the wealth of college attendees without any egalitarian gains. Many young people in the US feel they are entitled to a free education just like in [fill in the blank with the name of a country]. I suggest we emulate Switzerland. Barr said in his confirmation hearing in the past year that a president couldn't give a pardon in exchange for someone promising not to incriminate. This look can be worn to a plethora of events and is easy to recreate. I took up softball, ran for student government, joined the student revue, wrote for the student newspaper, tried my hand at radio, took classes in middle English and old Norse. A national push for tuition-free college would strain public budgets even further, leading to shortages rather than increased access. Los Angeles teachers abandon student well-being for social justice Kaylee McGhee. Rebecca Burns is an award-winning investigative reporter whose work has appeared in The Baffler , the Chicago Reader , The Intercept and other outlets. Tuesday July 14, 'No laughing matter': Burger King releases ad That means less freedom, but a softer landing when things go wrong. I don't want to join the military! And because middle and upper-income students will gobble up many of the free public slots, rationing will hurt those who need access the most. Posted by Ralph Werner on Issa, Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany are living their best lives in California while dealing with the twists and turns that come with that. Posted by Len Silva on Basically, less and less money is being put into the classroom, and more is being spent on subsidizing things like athletics or administration costs. It makes them take a different path after college.