Tuition Free College Is Not The Answer
A Letter to the next president concerning the aforementioned topic
Dear Mr. or Mrs. President,
I write to you concerning the discussion of government-funded tuition free college, a topic of heated debate during this recent election. While many constituents of my generation support this idea, seeing mostly the prospect of short term gain in a free college education, I and many others can see that in the long game this will not be a sound economic policy for America’s future. In an article for the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss puts forward that 66% of students don’t leave school because of financial reasons. Many students just do not have the skills or motivation to succeed in higher education, even if that higher education is free. It is possible, even, that students who receive a free college education will not take it as seriously as they might if they were paying for it. It is likely that subsidizing higher education would eventually bring it to resemble the United States’ K-12 education system, which, though formidable, is not as well funded as it once was, and not highly respected among other developed countries. In addition, this plan to make college education free for all would cost a lot of money. Many supporters of the plan claim to have a good way to finance it, but at whose expense? I agree with Kevin Carey when he explains, in an article for the New York Times, that not only would the plan be expensive to start with, but colleges could also bump up tuition in the expectation that the government will be paying for it. This would make the plan even more expensive than the estimates, which place the cost of the plan high in the tens of billions of dollars. If, as part of the plan, college tuition was limited to a set cap, there would still be problems because of the existing wide range in tuition costs throughout the country. Students in states or areas where college tuition is relatively expensive would benefit far more than students who live where tuition prices are lower. For these reasons I feel that tuition free college is not a viable option for the foreseeable American future.