Community College Should Be Free For Everyone

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Free college has the power to undermine the futures of students. When students are faced with a challenging course and realize that they are in danger of failing, they will draw the “W” card. By withdrawing from the class, the course will not be calculated into their grade point average. Students will simply have to pay a fee as a consequence for withdrawing from the course. At least for now. If tuition were to become free, who’s to say that students won’t abuse this privilege. Currently, most colleges allow students to repeat a course. However, repeating those courses comes with the fear of not being capable enough for the job or the major is not suited for them. Although the student might be willing to go through an extra year to fulfill the required credits, a lack of incentive can lead to a college dropout problem. Mathew asserts that “if they don’t have a system in place to help students graduate on time… they are doing more harm than good” (Maybe Tuition). Even if the free tuition movement were passed by the government, a new system will need to be put in place. There are many factors that need to be considered such as guiding students through the transfer process, utilizing a degree that can get them a well paying job, and most importantly, graduating on time. Developing a system that guarantees students to receive a post secondary certificate or degree may take years to accomplish.

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Due to limited resources, many students are not given the opportunity of a quality education. If students succeed in this “free college” movement, then there is little incentive to continue to invest in these institutions. Institutions will only receive adequate funding to keep the system running. Mathew emphasizes that “increased spending on tuition to make sure everyone gets a free ride would mean less money to hire more professors and less money to expand room in the most important classes so that students can get what they need to graduate'' (Maybe Tuition). If these institutions can’t make a profit from charging their students, they will only make enough to cover their maintenance costs. When education is federally funded, there are specific guidelines that limit the academic freedom of teachers. Not only would classrooms become overcrowded, students won’t receive the personalized attention they need because teachers are spread so thin. Schools will become understaffed and teachers won’t receive the pay they deserve for all the stress they are put under. Budget cuts will only make it even more difficult to boost the standard of education within colleges. As a result, this issue would lead to a continuing decline of American higher education facilities.

It is impossible to provide a quality education to students and not charge them any costs. Public education is primarily funded by taxpayers. Therefore, the only option is for the government to raise taxes. It is unreasonable for taxpayers to have to shoulder this burden of paying for another individual to get a higher level of education. This cost would be in addition to funding a free primary education and secondary education. Some make the argument that by opening up colleges to be free, then more students will have the opportunity to receive a post secondary education. It is no doubt that the rich have more options when it comes to committing to a college whether it is because of the networking they foster or better resources. Although college is not free, this does not prohibit students from entering a post secondary education. There are various methods to obtain money such as grants and scholarships. Whether it is a small sum or even a full ride to a certain university, these are once again funded from taxpayers. This awarding criteria is open to all students and they simply have to complete an application that follows to prove why the student themselves are the best candidate for that award at no cost. Furthermore, the vast majority of students are eligible to take out loans to pay for tuition and other school expenses. If students follow through and graduate on time, they can then work towards repaying those student debts. However, with the increase of college dropouts, many work a low-paying job, leaving them with a massive student debt. The problem is then shifted to another part of the population to help with these debts, taxpayers. Offering additional years of tax-payer funded education will only worsen the crippling student debt and inflate loans.

In today’s current time and age, a high school diploma is no longer enough to ensure that people have the skills for a well-paying career they desire. Yet, with the rising cost of tuition over the years, many people are not able to obtain a post secondary education. In order to guarantee that all Americans are given the same equal opportunity to reach their max potential and contribute to the economy, the solution is simple. Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago, believes that “anyone willing to work hard and earn the degree should be able to attend community college—for free” (A Simple Proposal). A major reason as to why college attendance and graduation rates skew towards the wealthy is because low-income students and families simply can’t afford the tuition. Lack of money should not be a factor stopping those who have exceptional grades and want to improve their quality of life. Most college students have a part-time job to pay for all the necessary costs to attend. However, if these students have to rely on these jobs as much at their academics, precious time is taken away from them to be educate themselves on top of being well rested. Last but not least, the government would be investing their money into a worthy cause. If community college was publicly funded, the “government can rebuild the pipeline to the American middle class and the belief in the American dream” (Emanuel). 

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