Friday, May 17, 2024

Why College Education Should Be Free

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Better Services To The Citizens

Should College Be Free?

As a college graduate with a high-paying job, its not just you and your loved ones that can benefit from your paycheck the entire US population can benefit from it as well, believe it or not.

Money collected by the US government through federal taxes is used to shoulder the costs of the growth and upkeep of the nation. Some of the things that federal tax funds are used for include building and maintaining infrastructure as well as improving various sectors such as agriculture and public transportation.

Huge sums also go into the funding of Social Security programs, health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and pensions and benefits of government workers. Some go into the provision of emergency relief.

Being able to attend college for free allows you to obtain all the knowledge base and skill set you will need in order to land a job that pays well, contribute a larger amount of money to the US government revenue in the form of federal tax, and help provide your fellowmen with the services and benefits they need.

And now, lets check out some of the negatives

Should Higher Education Be Free

In the United States, our higher education system is broken. Since 1980, weve seen a 400% increase in the cost of higher education, after adjustment for inflation a higher cost escalation than any other industry, even health care. We have recently passed the trillion dollar mark in student loan debt in the United States.

How long can a business model succeed that forces students to accumulate $200,000 or more in debt and cannot guarantee jobs even years after graduation? We need transformational innovations to stop this train wreck. A new business model will only emerge through continuous discovery and experimentation and will be defined by market demands, start-ups, a Silicon Valley mindset, and young technology experts.

Neither the pedagogical model nor the value equation of traditional higher education have changed much in the past fifty years. Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford are still considered the best schools in the world, but their cost is significantly higher today than two decades ago.

According to Rafael Reif, MITs president, who spoke at the Davos conference this past January, there are three major buckets that make up the total annual expense of attending a top-notch university such as MIT: student life, classroom instruction, and projects and lab activities.

There is a significant opportunity to help reduce the lecture portion of expenses using technology innovations.

What is traditional college education really worth?

Increased Focus On Studies And Careers

Proponents of free college education argue that it is necessary because it will allow students to focus on their education and careers, rather than looking for tuition money. Some of the main causes of stress among college students include the high cost of education, the means of repaying their loans, challenging academic work, relationships, and securing employment after school . Research has shown that financial constraints cause worry, anxiety, and even depression among students. The sustained stress of thinking about how to pay for tuition and the burgeoning debts after graduation diverts their focus from their education to the search for money . These challenges crowd their brains ability to focus on coursework and their long-term professional goals. As a result, the rates of graduation decline immensely as many of the students drop out for lack of money.

A 2015 study conducted by the Ohio State University on student wellness revealed that approximately 70% of students experience stress because of the poor state of their finances . Anxiety originates from thinking about ways to pay for their tuition and monthly expenses. Moreover, 32% of the students interviewed stated that at certain times, they had to abdicate their studies so that they could look for money to pay their debts . These challenges could be mitigated by a free college education for all.

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Other Countries Have Successfully Implemented Free College Programs

Free college advocates frequently cite the success of other countries in arguing why college should be free. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Mexico, Germany and Finland are examples of countries that do not charge for tuition. Education is viewed as an investment in the future of the country rather than a give-away program. The percentage of the GDP that countries with free colleges spend on education is not much more than what the United States is spending with our current system. The United States spends about 1.36% of our GDP on post-secondary education. Finland spends 2.08%, Norway spends 1.96% and Germany spends 1.35%.

Just Before You Wish That College Were Free

Affirmative Action for All Our Children: And Why College Education ...

Free college comes with so many different perks from making a degree more accessible to low-income students, very little to no student debt to increased chances of financial stability.

Others can benefit, too, from the state government to the entire citizenry.

But then there are also things that can make college thats cost-free a bad thing. For instance, it can make the overall college experience bad due to stuff such as increased student-to-faculty ratio and reduced worth of a college degree.

As one Insider article has put it, people just dont value the things they obtain for free.

Whether you are pro or anti free college, there are free college programs available in some states for students who need them and meet eligibility requirements, too.

The good news is that students from low-income families need not wait for college to be entirely free before they decide to earn a degree.

Thats because there are numerous ways to make college affordable, and it usually starts by choosing the right institution to attend and filling out the FAFSA form and submitting it ASAP, too.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check. Al Abdukadirov

Independent Education Consultant, Editor-in-chief. I have a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and a post-graduate in College Counseling.

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Questions To Help You Consider The Practicality Of Free College

Consider finding answers to the following questions to more deeply understand the issue and make an informed decision.

Higher education can have a profound impact on the future of individuals and the whole of society. Costs have become prohibitive or excessively burdensome for many. Whether tuition is covered by taxpayers or left to students and their families, managing and reducing costs should remain a top priority for institutions, policymakers, and resource providers.

What Did We Learn In Milwaukee

I developed The Degree Project in 2009 as a demonstration program in partnership between the nonprofit Ascendium and Milwaukee Public Schools . TDP offered all first-time 9th graders in half of MPS high schools $12,000 for college as last-dollar aid. Students could use the funds for college if they graduated from high school on time with a GPA of 2.5 and a class attendance rate of 90%. Also, as is the norm with free college programs, students had to fill out the FAFSA and have at least one dollar of unmet need. The aid could be used to attend any of the 66 public, in-state, two- or four-year colleges in Wisconsin. Ascendium provided up to $31 million to fund the grant and, as the main program administrator, sent regular letters to remind students about the program and its requirements. The organization also worked with school counselors to support students becoming eligible for the funds and preparing for college.

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College Education Is An Investment

From the previous argumentation, it has become clear that there are many arguments for free college education.

However, there are also some problems related to free college.

For instance, opponents of free education claim that college should be considered to be an important investment in oneâs life and that it offers much better future job opportunities.

In turn, people who want to attend college should pay for this opportunity since they also vastly profit from their college degree afterward.

Education Boosts The Economy

Should College Be Free?

Critics of free college plans say the current system hasn’t impeded American progress. However, proponents say access to free college might spur progress in the United States.

For example, the GI Bill® has connected more than 2 million veterans to free education, many of whom may not have attended college otherwise. This national investment in education paid off with a booming postwar economy.

Almost half of all U.S. states already offer programs that provide tuition-free college to select students. Now, more states could adopt similar plans to help those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. For example, Michigan’s Futures for Frontliners program, formalized in September 2020, offers free community college to qualifying essential workers.

But such piecemeal state offerings may not be enough. The demand for college-educated workers is growing, and proponents of free college warn that without dramatically expanding access to higher education, the U.S. could be left behind in terms of education.

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The Free College Model Is Unproven

Champions of free college say the model will lead to a more educated populace, but there’s no clear link between free college and an educated workforce. The three most college-educated countries South Korea, Japan, and Canada do not offer free college.

Meanwhile, the Scandinavian countries that pioneered free college rank low in terms of degree attainment. Finland’s free public colleges accept just 33% of applicants on par with some selective private liberal arts colleges in the United States.

Government-subsidized higher education and a high level of college attainment do not always go hand in hand. The U.S. maintains the highest average tuition rates in the world and funnels a smaller percentage of federal funds into higher education than other countries. However, the U.S. also boasts one of the world’s highest enrollment rates, with around 20 million students currently enrolled in college.

In fact, free college could end up reducing graduation rates by negatively impacting education quality and driving down enrollment at private institutions, which tend to see higher graduation rates.

Similar issues led England to do away with free college starting in 1998. According to researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research, “The gap in degree attainment between high- and low-income families more than doubled” with free college in England throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Should College Be Free Understand The Debate From Both Sides

Americans have been debating the wisdom of free college for decades, and more than 20 states now offer some type of free college program. But it wasn’t until 2021 that a nationwide free college program came close to becoming reality, re-energizing a longstanding debate over whether or not free college is a good idea.

And despite a setback for the free-college advocates, the idea is still in play. The Biden administration’s proposal for free community college was scrapped from the American Families Plan in October as the spending bill was being negotiated with Congress.

But close observers say that similar proposals promoting free community college have drawn solid bipartisan support in the past. “Community colleges are one of the relatively few areas where there’s support from both Republicans and Democrats,” said Tulane economics professor Douglas N. Harris, who has previously consulted with the Biden administration on free college, in an interview with The Balance.

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Do You Want College To Be Free

If you feel strongly that college should be free, you may want to research the topic and get involved with political action designed to further that goal. And in the end, getting out and voting is critical to instigating change. Its hard to understand any arguments against a better educated population. The real question comes down to how to finance free college, but thats a question for another day.

What The Opponents Say

Why We Must Make Public Higher Education Tuition Free

Opponents of a free education system have four overarching concerns:

  • Free isnt free: Somebody has to pay for the proposed public benefits, which an increased number of students would claim, driving already high costs up even further. The question of who and how prevents many policymakers from moving forward, even though other details in the existing proposals may be attractive.
  • Independent colleges may suffer: Opponents are worried about the potential impact free public education could have on independent colleges, many of which are already experiencing financial difficulties, as students may leave those institutions to enroll in free public schools. This could diminish educational choice and quality.
  • Untested programs could be unduly funded: Experiential learning is becoming a preferred alternative to a traditional degree and gaining momentum though its benefits arent yet proven. Opponents dont like the idea of including new programs as part of a free higher education system, because doing so blurs lines and makes accountability more difficult.
  • Online colleges may suffer: Success of some of the online programs is, to a great degree, attributed to their affordability and convenient schedule. These programs will be in fierce competition with colleges that participate in free public education programs and may suffer a decline in the number and academic standing of the students who will be enrolling.

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Why College Should Be Free

This is a very classic question with a complicated argument on a variable answer. The following are some of the reasons to consider.

  • More lower-income students might reach graduation if there are no high costs. Examples are tuition and fee charges, room and board, transportation charges, etc.

  • Student debt will no longer block the dreams of the coming generations.

  • More freedom to choose a major, a student would enjoy.

  • Increase equal treatment for every person. No more gender-based, race, color, religion or tribe comparison.

  • Free college boosts the economy of the state.

  • Improves the society towards knowledge/education. Knowledge is power.

  • An educated citizen is necessary for logical political participation.

  • Our economy requires a better-educated workforce, as time marathons with technology.

  • Free college is a natural addition to free elementary school and high school.

  • When we lose a student, we are losing the brainpower of society.

Brains that contribute to medical solutions, economic advances, data, leadership, technology mastering, investors, in all fields.

  • Students are fired in paying off fees and tuition money, instead of studying.

  • Depending on the wage gap and student loan debt status, a student’s probability of living their lives becomes hampered. The high college costs mean that fewer and fewer low-income students can attend college, and the wage gap grows larger.

What Are The Benefits Of Free Education

Education should be free and accessible for every individual. Theres no better way to have the tools and skills needed to succeed in todays ever-changing world than through higher education. If the government doesnt invest in human capital, we will end up with a workforce lacking vital job skills.

Also, an under-educated population will bring down the economy. While educational platforms like Coursera and Udemy help by offering free courses to people, more can be done to make it a reality.

Below are some reasons why access to free education is crucial.

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The Money Has To Come From Somewhere

If America were to move to a tuition-free college policy, where would the money come from? The short and simple answer is taxes.

Who gets taxed seems to vary based on who is talking, but it seems certain that the upper echelons of American society will see increased taxes if this passes. It could impact the upper middle class as well as those in higher income brackets, or it might come from Wall Street speculation taxes.

If college was free, it has to come from somewhere and the uncertainty of who will pay is not making all Americans comfortable.

Countries That Offer Free College

Why this former education secretary believes community college should be free

Many countries understand how debt-free education provides positive outcomes. Therefore, they made tuition-free universities a reality.

Heres a look at some countries where education is free for everyone, free for just their residents or highly subsidized by the government for foreign exchange students:

  • Austria
  • Finland
  • Spain

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More People With Double Majors

It is estimated that 25% of undergraduate students are double majors. However, some colleges and universities say that 30% to 40% of their attendees are doing double majors!

There are many perks that come with double majoring.

Some of them include acquiring more skill sets, having more career opportunities and enjoying higher starting and long-term salaries. However, there are also a few cons that come with committing to two majors. And more time and more money spent in college lead the list.

With free college, however, the financial hurdle posed by a double major goes out of the window.

If college were available to students at no cost, those who wish to double major would still have to spend more semesters in school alright, but they could quit worrying about the economic aspect of it.

And if they were attending institutions that allowed students to have up to three majors at once, they could give it a go without leaving the bank in shambles.

Reasons Why College Should Be Free

Should College be Free?

Considering jobs nowadays are increasingly requiring degrees, most would argue that a college education is an integral part of society and the economy. However, as college costs are exponentially increasing, many are now either taking on massive amounts of debt or opting out of higher education altogether. Its an enigma that all eventually face, making the prospect of free education marvelously attractive, especially those that otherwise cant afford it.

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