Dear Future President,
Imagine a world where certain kids got to attend college for free. As you know, one of the issues in the 2016 election has been a government funded tuition program. In fact, “No graduate whose family has a lower income than $85,000 would have to pay any money towards tuition fee” (CNN money) Will America be better off bubbling over with all of the thriving scholars and educated minds? Or will that lead to more controversy and competition? If this program is approved, American citizens will be faced with higher taxes, less serious students, and more college dropouts.
First, it is imperative that this program not be called “free”. College would not be free because the federal and state governments would have to pay for it. “The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015–2016 school year was $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.“ (College Data) . The free college would be taking away funding from government divisions like food stamps and National School Lunch programs. Or, the government would need to raise taxes, and this means that the free tuition would be funded by taxpayers.
Providing free college could lead to less motivated students. First, they could be less motivated to be successful in college. When you are using other people’s money, you have a tendency to be less financially responsible. In other words, they don’t have any “skin in the game”. Second, they might not be motivated to pick a degree that will lead to financial stability. If you don’t have any student loans to pay back, you may be more likely to choose a degree that is not valued by the free market. While it might be fun to be an art history major, trying to find a job with that degree will not be easy. “80% of aid-eligible community college students face financial shortfalls even after aid is awarded.”(Ng)
Finally, while free college tuition might increase enrollment, it will not necessarily increase the graduation rate. “Over 25% of students who enroll in college do not return for the second year. About 44% of students at four-year colleges drop out.” (college education). That drop out rate is likely to increase as students without adequate support and preparation gain entrance to college. I would suggest we put our efforts toward developing post-high school paid internships, which would allow college credit for those students who have remained in the position for longer than a year. That way, taxpayers would not have invest in students who are not prepared to endure a strenuous college course load.
Now, imagine a world in which students had to earn all of their opportunities, and where the students who worked the hardest got the scholarships, not the students whose families don’t make as much money. There are rational ways to help financially challenged families, who want an education, get into college. For example, grants, scholarships, and student loans. Over all,“free” college is not a good idea because it causes higher taxes, less serious students, and more college dropouts.
Thank you Mr/Ms president,
Citations Low-, and Middle-income Students Would Pay Nothing for Tuition at In-state Public Colleges under Her College Affordability Plan. She Expanded the Plan in July. "This Is Who Gets Free Tuition under Hillary Clinton's College Plan." CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 2016. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.
"College Education - ProCon.org." ProConorg Headlines. N.p., 27 Nov. 2016. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.
16, 2015 November. "Free Tuition Won't Help Students. These Investments in Community Colleges Will. - Northwestern Now." Free Tuition Won't Help Students. These Investments in Community Colleges Will. - Northwestern Now. Chenny Ng, 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.
"What's the Price Tag for a College Education?" COLLEGEdata. N.p., 2016. Web. 04 Nov. 2016.