Dear Future President,
I am writing to you on free college tuition, a topic that has come up a lot in this 2016 election. I believe that free college tuition is an issue that could ruin our economy and should not even be considered an option for the well-being of our nation. Offering free college tuition would put us spiraling into debt, cause a major raise in taxes, reduce value and quality of education, as well as make our students less motivated. Is this something you want for our country?
My first concern is for our taxpayers because, obviously, nothing is ever free. There are over 4,000 colleges in the United States, each with multiple well-qualified professors. The average professor’s salary is at $110,850 if they have a doctorate degree. Otherwise, their salary is around $60,000. Free college tuition doesn’t get rid of college costs, but rather passes it onto someone else. Physicist and university administrator, Robert Birgeneau states, “Zeroing out tuition nationally would require tripling public funding for most state colleges and universities. It is entirely unrealistic to believe that taxes could be increased enough to provide that funding.”
When students stop paying for a college education, they lose their motivation to be successful. If a student were to do poorly on a course, they would suffer no financial loss by just retaking that course. Even if a student were to do well, they could take course after unnecessary course just to waste time. A part of the population will take advantage of having that free tuition by going to college without any intention of pursuing a career in the future, thus wasting money.
Andrew P. Kelly from the American Enterprise Institute says, “First, free college isn’t free, it simply shifts costs from students to taxpayers and caps tuition at zero. That tuition cap limits college spending to whatever the public is willing to invest. But it does not change the cost of college.” What he means by this is that the purpose of free college is being ruined. We want college to be free in order to give students a higher quality education, but because the funding is done by the public, the school is running on less money. Therefore, they are not able to provide the level of education they could before and the public is getting less education for the money they put in.
What if there was a fair way for a student to get a “discounted” college tuition based on their cumulative GPA? Say that a college student pays $10,000 for their tuition. Then, at the end of the school year, if their GPA was a 4.0, they would earn $5,000 (or exactly half) back. If the student were to receive all F’s, they wouldn’t earn back any of the money they initially paid. Whereas a 3.0 GPA would earn you back around 1/3 of what you paid, in this case, $3,333.33. This way, college is more affordable, students are motivated, and the universities are still being paid.
What you are given in life is a gift, not an expectation. We cannot expect our taxpayers to pay for every child’s education. It simply is not possible to have free college tuition without causing even more problems. The Unites States simply cannot financially afford paying for every child’s education.