Keith New York

"Free College" Ignores the Problem

The college tuition and loan problem is spiraling out of control.

Dear Future Mr. or Mrs. President,

There are many problems in this world, there is no doubt about that. One of the biggest problems for me and many other teens is the rising price of college loans and tuition. This is a problem that should be brought to your attention because the rising price of a college education is causing many families to be unable to support their kids through college.

The rising prices of college tuition and loans from the 1970s is alarming. “The average cost of tuition and fees at a private, non-profit, four-year university this school year was $31,231—up sharply from $1,832 in 1971-1972 (in current dollars). At public, four-year schools, tuition and fees cost about $9,139 this year. In the 1971 school year, they added up to less than $500 in current dollars, according to the College Board.” ( “Why Does a College Degree Cost So Much?” by John W. Schoen.) This shows that college tuition has gone up a large amount since 1971-1972. This is a huge problem for the United States because a decrease in college graduates will impact the economy because there won’t be enough educated people to do certain jobs. Also, less college graduates will result in more people doing other jobs that don’t require a college degree.

In order to counteract this large amount of debt from the college tuition, students have resorted to taking “out multiple loans in an attempt to combat rising tuition costs; however, the additional debt can sometimes set them back in more ways than they anticipate. They also say that rising tuition costs also impact students’ future careers.” (“Tuition Talk: Side Effect of College Costs” by Chris Pumphrey) This shows that the college tuition and loan problem is spiraling out of control. This is a problem for many students because they could spend a good portion of their lives in debt and it will make it very difficult for them to get jobs, buy houses, buy cars, make families, etc.

A funny cartoon that was found in the Sunday Funny Pages accurately describe the positions that students are in. Say a loan collector attended your graduation. They aren’t there because you are graduating, they are there to collect their debts that you owe the college. The loan collectors don’t care that you just graduated and have to get a steady job, get back home, etc, all they care about is the money that you owe them.

Some politicians like to start out a slogan with “I will make college free!” In reality, college is never free. If college was free, then taxpayers would get the bad end of the stick, and have to pay for it all. Andrew P. Kelly of the New York Times says in his article “The Problem is that Free College Isn’t Free”, “Free college isn’t free, it simply shifts costs from students to taxpayers and caps tuition at zero. The tuition cap limits college spending to whatever the public is willing to invest in. But it does not change the cost of college,or what an institution actually spends per student.” This article is a very strong article that points out that college isn’t free, and that the rising prices of tuition and loans aren’t helping the students, or anyone except for the pockets of the loan collectors. The article also goes on to say how this so called “free college” is just a political scandal that is not practical in the world that we currently live in.

Right now, I’m a freshman in high school, and college is going to be a very big topic on my mind in the future. This is why college loans and tuition rates are very important to me. Although I am not worried about it now, I have seen firsthand the troubles that families can go through in order to put their children through college. Many people just weren’t supposed to go to college, or don’t want to, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However it should not be a burden or a decision fraught with consequence for teens to go to college.



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