Marissa T. Michigan

Collar Blind

Why college should not be free.

To Our Future Leader,

Many people emphasize that a key component to achieving the “American Dream” is completing their education. Although in the United States education is not a right, many feel an obligation to themselves and those around them to complete this immense undertaking. For some, high school is enough, while others see college as a necessary step to pursue their academic education/career. Due to the staggering and rising costs of college, task at hand seems all the more out of reach. But even with the extreme cost of college and all that comes along with it, college should in no way be free. There are multiple factors that allow me to state this claim, one of them being who will pay for this? The raising of taxes will not make up for the major gap needed to be able to provide for the student's education. Another case in point to bring light is the fact that the U.S. has no “extra money” to put towards this massive expense. Even if you to lay aside the heavy costs, it will be seen that making college free, is not only unreasonable but also “unfair”.

To begin, one idea demonstrating that college should not be free is that even with the rising of taxes, it will not be enough to cover the massive expense of providing students with free college. According to the Americans for Tax Fairness, on average the middle class pay $25,000-100,000 each year on taxes while the upper class pay +$150,000, and the lower class pay anywhere from $32,500 - 60,000. Concerning spending with these taxes, they are divided up into 3 categories: Mandatory Spending, Discretionary Spending and Interest on Federal Debt. Education funds fall into the category of Discretionary Spending. According to the National Priorities Project, 6.3% of Discretionary Spending is put towards the funding of education, which was about $70 billion in the year of 2015. Out of all the money Americans are paying each year on taxes, not even one tenth is being put towards the funding of education. If this is true, and taxes are raised, how much more of this money will be put towards education? How much more will taxes need to be raised in order to bring dramatic effect concerning the amount of dollars being spent on education? Or will there be a separate tax especially for free college and education, on top of the original tax? According to College Data, it was found that the average cost to attend a private college was $47,831 per year, and the average cost to attend a public “moderate school” was $24,061 each year in the years 2015-16. Even if the government decided to put the full $70 billion to provide free education, the U.S. government would only be able to provide college for roughly 30,000 students if they all were to attended a “moderate school”. This only includes if the government spends all of its tax education funds on providing students with free college, as well if they all were to attend a “moderate school”. If the government were to provide free college, how would they go about deciding who got the free college out of all that applied? Applications? Qualifications? Sounds like the exact same way colleges offer scholarships, rather than using the government education tax fundings. Or would all the students applying for college be accepted to free college? As of last year there were approximately 5 million college graduates. How would the government be able to pay for all these expenses? Based on National Priorities Project's data, there is absolutely no way the government could come up with enough tax money put towards the education funds for the massive expense of free college. Plus, if all the government's education funds are going towards providing students with free college, how would the funds that originally were getting funded by the Discretionary Spending get payed for by? If the taxes were to be raised higher, based on statics, the amount the taxes would need to be raised to be able to effect the education funding as well as the eleven other areas of funding that are included in the Discretionary Spending would be all to great. If this were so, then all money that you would once be able to put towards a college fund for youself must be put towards the higher taxes to help pay for other students college rather than your own.

This brings me to my next point, making college free is not only unreasonable, but also unfair. The United States was built on people who surpass the limits of reality. Both men and women who continuously worked hard to push the boundaries of what was made to seem possible. Making college free not only dishonors the very work ethic that our country was built upon, but it also creates the potential of allowing a generation of indifferent and lethargic citizens to arise. I do understand the situations and stresses put on by students. Single parents looking for a better future, or misunderstood teens who just need a new start, maybe even families just struggling financially; stress put on by college comes in many different forms. On the topic of looking towards the future, I’d like to bring up the point that after one graduates college and are out in the real world, experiencing life, working, paying bills, and supporting themself, how would they feel about knowing that the government they now live in and must pay taxes to, is off spending their tax money to provide a student's education? After all the years and money that you put into college, you now are forced to pay taxes to a government who then pays the expenses of providing a free education for a student you don't even know. Because you don't know them, you don't know their story, thier situation, their work ethic, or if their even in it for the long hall. You just know you are paying money to a government who is off spending money on a student's education who you have no acquaintance with. You're money, that you earned because you worked hard and found a way into college is off being spent on the questionable future of the next generation. Why should people who work hard in life be forced to allow people who don't work as hard to profit off of themselves? For example, if I were to receive an A in my math class, but the kid who sat next to me received a C would it be fair to bring my A down to a B so that then he could have a B as well? Why is it that I when I worked harder and put in more time math class, yet a student who did not work as hard still profit off me. On the point of grades, If someone is able to qualify for government to pay for your college education, through their grades, why couldn't that same student qualify for a college scholarship? In the end you ultimately have the choice to decide where you allow your education career to start and end, and how far you are willing to take it. Not saying that it will be easy, but sometimes you have to look past the current situation you may be facing and think, what else could I do?

Thinking, what else could I do, can also be a battle in itself. Realizing that sometimes there is no where left to go, expect for coming to closure with what has happened in the past, taking a detour from your original plan and backtracking to where it went wrong. What one dose from there is up to themselves. Lastly, I will make evident, that the United States has no “extra money” as a source for paying for all these college expenses, and that making college “free” actually hurts the economy; making the chances of paying off the country's debt even farther out of reach. This year the country is estimated to be in $19.4 trillion worth of debt, according the U.S government debt. Even if the country did have the money to pay for extra education expenses, wouldn't it be more beneficial to give money to the public high schools, middle schools and elementary schools? This would provide for students to have a healthy and stable start on their education career, making them eligible to work their way up to college; and by work their way up to college I mean, having the school systems be able to provide the resources the students and school needs to be successful. Being able to teach the students young how to work hard and study hard, making them more college ready. How can a country pour thousands of dollars into a student who is truly not ready for something like this? How is it the government's decision to decide if they are qualified or not? Sure a student could be accepted into college, but how does the government know certain they will continue the same work ethic once they get to college? Bringing it back onto the idea of debt we must not forget the mountains of debt that college students come out of college with. Even though debt can be a very heavy burden to carry, once a student graduates from college they will soon see just how far his degree gets them. If a student truly is all and more that their degree from college represents, they should be able to find a job and begin paying off their debt. Some may argue that in today's economy, finding a job isn't all that easy. While that statement is partially true, there also is the fact at hand that if someone is truly good at the field they hope to peruse, then how would employers be able to turn them down? College debt can be seen as a driving factor to work hard to find a job and begin making money, and by making money they are working, paying taxes and contributing to the economy. If students had no college debt, they would be more prone to the likelihood of not “working as hard” to earn money; without the heavy burden of having college debt to pay back hanging over their head allows students no need to work extra shifts or work hard to keep the position they obtained to continuously keep up the bills and college debt to pay back. You see, college debt in a way creates room for growth in the economy. With students having college debt it creates the need for a job, what comes along with a job is the paying of taxes, and taxes is where most of the government makes its money. According to Tax Foundation Report on average an effective payroll tax rate of 15.9% in addition to the income tax also required to pay by American citizens. Employment adds and extra 15.9% or money the government is making on taxes. Even though the taxes through employment are a good way for the U.S. to earn money, employment also creates a healthy money circulation though the varieties of spending that occurs in the U.S. . Unlike students the government has no way to earn “extra” money, let alone spend “extra” money. Students are able to take loans from banks, and in time, work to pay them back. While the United States in already in $1.3 trillion worth of debt to China, $1.1 trillion in debt to Japan, $3.8 in debt to other countries and $12.9 worth of debt in our own very country. Now doesn't it seem awfully odd, to allow a student to be in debt, yet they have the option to create a flowing economic currency, rather than allowing college to be free, thus making a student have no debt, making country as a whole in even more debt?

College should not be free because it will bankrupt the country, and promote a government relying generation. Although college tuition and cost can be greatly overwhelming, the idea of risking a student's future over risking a nation's future outweighs the possibilities for the few individuals. The United States has always been seen as a powerful and independent nation, built off of boundaries that were breakable and dreams that no struggle could hold back. Let's be sure we hold true to our proud name, to show all the nations just what we're made of.