Dear Mr. or Madam President:
Many people ponder whether college tuition should be costless, but what they do not realize is that nothing is truly free to everyone. Although the idea sounds appealing to provide upscale education for no cost to those who can not afford it, the concept is not simplistic. Those who feel college tuition should be free feel it provides equal opportunity and abilities to advance in society. I respect their claim, but we will send our nation's economy further into turmoil and debt by offering free college tuition because the program will be abused. College tuition would cause an increase in exploitation, taxes, and lackadaisical attitudes among a number of students.
Where would the money come from to fund this seemingly spectacular proposition? Tax dollars from citizens throughout the country. College would never truly be free. A college graduate will fall further into debt by indirectly paying for other students' tuition through tax dollars. If this policy comes into effect, students will pay more money in general with their tax dollars. An avid supporter of free college tuition states, "Proponents of free college believe that it would benefit the entire nation, not just the individual students who take advantage of it" (tradeschools.net). I disagree with this claim because they fail to consider middle class families like my own. My parents both work full time jobs to ensure our family is well taken care of; a drastic tax increase will impose an impose an undue financial burden. This is unfair to working adults who have already paid for their personal college tuition. They should not be forced to pay more in tax dollars for something they reap no benefit.
College is definitely not for everyone; it is not fair for people who choose a route in life other than college to pay for someone else's college tuition. Andrew P. Kelly, a resident scholar and the director of the Center on Higher Education Reform at the American Enterprise Institute states, "Despite free tuition, just one-third of students from the bottom income quartile who started at a community college in 2003 finished a degree or certificate by 2009." Free college tuition will lead to various forms of exploitation: Kelly supports that free college decreases student motivation to succeed and swiftly earn a degree. A fraction of the population will take advantage of the system by attending college without intentions to pursue a career in the future, thus wasting money.
College tuition will begin to increase because colleges won't have to accommodate to the students' financial limits since the students will not directly pay for their tuition. This means taxes for middle and upper class citizens will continue to increase at a steady pace. Carol Christ, director of Center for Studies in Higher Education, 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." She highlights the drastic increase in public taxes that would be necessary to fund free college tuition. Middle and upper class families will feel a drastic financial burden due to the increase.
Students are not receiving adequate training for their transition into adulthood. Carol Christ also states, "We need programs that help students succeed who come to college with less preparation." She implies that students do not receive proper knowledge regarding financial aid and planning for expenses prior to graduating high school. This knowledge would give them adequate time to prepare and establish a plan of action to avoid college debt.
Would free college actually motivate students to learn? Students who pay for their own college tuition have a stake in their education. According to education advisor David Leve at Edvisors Network, "Part time work allows students to: perfect time-management skills necessary for academic success, gain career-related experience as they clarify goals, acquire skills and self-confidence, and build a network of contacts." Students who financially invest in their education develop skills to use throughout their life. College becoming costless will take away the drive to thrive in college because students will suffer no financial burden or consequences for their sub-par performance.
College tuition undoubtedly should not be free. According to government financial expert Andrew Eichen at Washington University, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is." Other consequences aside, the bureaucratic changes alone required to implement free tuition would take years. How could college become free after it has always required a form of payment in the past? He exemplifies that free college tuition will send our government rapidly spiraling further into debt. Free college simply cannot exist without creating more problems than already exist. New York Times financial analyst Jake Naughton states, "Barring a drastic improvement in efficiency, tuition-free colleges won’t have the resources to serve additional students without compromising the quality of their offerings." He epitomizes by lowering college tuition, schools will not have the funds necessary to invest in resources for a high caliber education. The drastic increase in attendance will lower the standards and quality of education and raise the cost. Our country has enough problems without risking increased taxes, exploitation, and the quality of education. Thank you for your time and effort.
- Sincerely, MacKenzie