Why students should get Free College Tuition
In today’s society secondary education could mean the difference between poverty and living comfortably. There is such a large number of people who don’t go to college to get the extra education because they don’t have the money to pay for it. A large amount of people in the U.S skip going to college and getting a degree because college tuition, as well as other college other expenses, is just too much (Josephson). Not only do people skip college because of the cost of college tuition, but a number of students switch majors from a career they love to a career that will pay off the debt from their degree (Josephson). This disconnect could be fixed by simply eliminating tuition fees. This seems like an easy solution to a major problem. However, there is still a large amount of people who wrongly believe college tuition should absolutely not be free. They look at what could go wrong, instead of seeing what would definitely go right, like an increase in the number of people who go to college, a decrease in the amount of debt students are in during, and well after, college, and positive effects on the economy. College tuition should be free because it would create countless positive changes for both people, universities, and the economy.
One positive change is that free college tuition would create a boost in the percentage of people who go to college, versus skipping it and working a dead end job. For example, enrollment for German universities rose twenty-two percent after tuition became free (Marcus). However, Germany isn't the only country to experience a rise in enrollment after getting rid of tuition fees. Scotland, for example, had an increase in enrollment by seventeen percent after jettisoning, or dropping, tuition fees. This increase in the number of people who enroll for college would happen for the United States if it too, were to eliminate tuition costs. In fact, Georgetown University's Center for Education predicts that university enrollment in the United States would increase thirteen percent if it too were to take a tuition free stand (Marcus). This boost in enrollment means more people would receive a wider range of knowledge and skills, which are necessary as more and more jobs require a postsecondary education (Bergeron). Therefore, dropping tuition fees and increasing enrollment rates would help more people both secure and keep a job. With this in mind free tuition seems like a no-brainer.
There are some, however, who disagree with free tuition, saying that an increase in enrollment without tuition would cause universities to lose an important source of revenue (Marcus). They continue this argument by stating that tuition is too important to lose, as a large portion of these fees are used to support research in universities (Leslie). What critics arguing this don’t take into account is that with the extra people comes a boost in the amount of money the college earns. Some may wonder how this would possible since the colleges would no longer have the tuition fees. However, the answer is simple: they would replace the missing wages with money earned from campus businesses and events. Colleges and universities have on campus stores and food courts that allow students to purchase food, drinks, books for classes, and so much more. Not to mention, colleges and universities have a number of different organizations and extracurricular activities that students have to buy tickets to attend as an observer, as well as, the money brought in from concession stands at these events (Life and Student). There is also a number of souvenirs and products students and the students families can buy to support the college in which they attend (Life and Student), which most students do. Therefore, making tuition free wouldn’t cost the colleges money, but make them money, in addition to helping the student population stay in a good financial position.
In addition to higher enrollment rates, free college tuition would help numerous college students decrease the amount of debt they graduate with. As stated by a member of the German students' union, Mandy Gratz, "We don’t want students to go into debt because they want to study." (Marcus) Even though, countless college students already have a large amount of debt from living expenses, such as rent, books, supplies and transportation (Marcus). For example, Claudia Niessler, a college student in Germany, who has free tuition, still has to work a minimum of twenty hours a week at a supermarket just to make enough to cover the average living expenses mentioned above (Marcus). When a college tuition fee is added to this, which in the United States is a guarantee, students get so in debt that it takes them years to crawl their way out of it. In the face of this debt a number of students decide to forego their degree and drop out (Josephson), choosing to get a job at a fast food restaurant or someplace similar, to start earning money right away. This, however, may not cut it soon, as it is predicted that a bachelor's or associate's degree will be required for sixty-five percent of all jobs as of 2020 (Bergeron). With this in mind, it is obvious that college tuition should be free.
Although the solution to make college tuition free seems like a no-brainer, there are still some people who are skeptical because they believe that free tuition would badly impact the economy. They have these beliefs because free tuition would take away control over what people study, as they would no longer need to worry as much about their financial issues, and allow them to get a degree for something they are passionate about, instead of something practical (Josephson). They go on to link this to a failing economy due to a lack of control. However, what most of these critics fail to acknowledge is how giving student’s free tuition, and therefore choices about their future career, would actually help the economy, not hurt it. For example, most jobs require, or are going to require, a higher-level of knowledge, skills, and abilities best acquired through a college education (Bergeron). However, with the large number of workers that skip college because it is too expensive, the United States will end up paling in comparison to other countries with workers who are better educated and prepared to deal with what the twenty-first century requires (Bergeron). This means that the less educated the American population is, the worse off the United States economy is. If college tuition was free, then more people would go to college and get the degrees needed for them to thrive and help the economy thrive. Also, the country's productivity and GDP would increase as more people found more suitable and higher- ranking jobs (Josephson). So, in reality, making tuition free wouldn’t worsen the economy, but in fact make it better.
In conclusion, tuition should be free because it would create countless positive changes. Free tuition wouldn’t just help students trying to get degrees, but it would also help universities and the economy.[footnoteRef:2] There may still be some that find this statement untrue, however, they are wrong. People who hadn't thought college and a postsecondary education was a possibility would finally be able to consider and plan it. With all the people finally getting a better education the United States economy would be better. Also, there wouldn’t be as many people looking for a job unable to find one because they don’t meet the required standard of having a college degree. A college degree is necessary, empowering, and everyone who wishes to have one should get the opportunity to earn one. [2: ]
Bergeron, David A., and Carmel Martain. "Strengthening Our Economy Through College for All." Center for American Progress. N.p., 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
Josephson, Amelia. "The Pros and Cons O Free College." SmartAsset. Smartasset.com, 15 Sept. 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
Leslie, Larry, Sheila Slaughter, Barrett Taylor, and Liang Zhang. "How Do Revenue Variations Affect Expenditures Within U.S. Research Universities." EBSCOhost. Research in Higher Education, Sept. 2012. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
"Life at UB." University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Life at UB, 05 Jan. 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
Marcus, Jon. "How Free College Tuition in One Country Exposes Unexpected Pros and Cons." The Hechinger Report. Higher Education, 18 Oct. 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
"Student Activities." Slippery Rock University. Life at SRU, n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.