Pro/Con: Should public state colleges and universities have free tuition?

Two staffers debate the consequences of making public state universities free of tuition.

February 14, 2018


Growing up and going through the public school system obviously has been a lot cheaper than private school. As I go through high school I’m constantly asked what college do I want to go to and what I want to achieve in my life because that’s what high school is preparing us for.

In the job market, one needs a college degree to get a good job that can actually provide a decent living. However, 62% of people in America say they can’t afford to go to a state college. How do we expect our generation to be able to go through college and get a good job to help out the economy when they can’t afford it?

Speaking for some families, I have one working parent with 3 other siblings, which will obviously be very difficult for my family to afford since attending a good college is what we are expected to do. Yes, there are things such as grants and scholarships, but its hard for some students to be able to get one of these and most of them don’t even cover the cost of college.

To save all that money, teenagers are forced to get jobs to try and save up for college, play sports to try to get scholarships and still attend school while successfully completing hours of homework. Teens and even parents are stressing out so much about the cost that it takes a toll on them mentally and physically.

If state colleges were free there would be so much less stress in family homes and people who want to succeed, regardless of socioeconomic status, can succeed! If someone wants to go to a out of state college then they can pay the prices of a out of state school.

Let students from low income families go to a state college for free. This would not only help them tremendously but would allow lots of more people to go far in life rather than working at a fast food joint then sleeping for the rest of the day on their parents couch. Let’s set up our younger generations for success, not failure.

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A recent Bankrate study claims, “Sixty-two percent of Americans said that they support making public college tuition free for anyone who wants to attend.”  Of course the idea of free tuition seems a convenient one for most Americans, but at what cost? Higher education, namely colleges and universities, must cost money as they are known to not only contribute to the economy, but also to even out the workforce.

In 2016 alone Bankrate finds, “Tuition and fees at a four-year public university averaged $9,410.”  Quite obviously a majority of Americans are quick to call out the seemingly “outrageous” price tag with higher education not knowing the total effect of that hefty tuition fee.

Many could easily be quick to insult the lack of proper financial aid believing college is unreasonably hefty, but this just simply is not the case. In fact, according to the Brookings Institution, “Student financial aid has increased dramatically over the past 15 years.” This means that the ability to apply and receive financial aid is easier than it has ever been.

There are also a multitude of ways students can reduce their cost of tuition academically, whether it is through scholarships, work study programs, or taking courses in high school for college credit. It is not fair to strip colleges of the tuition fees they need to operate when there are things that hard-working students can do to offset the cost of tuition.

If college was free for everyone, it could easily devolve into four extended years of high school. This is because if college were free it would have to rely on government funding and not tuition, which would mean no housing and no esteemed professors, as there is no desire to become a glorified high school teacher when you can simply teach high school and have less responsibilities.

Students might not take higher education as seriously if it were free. Our own local university is affectionately called “Wastern” when students PAY to go there. Imagine what it would be like if it were a free for all with no student financial responsibility or incentive to pass classes.

College and tuition need to stay as expensive as they are so that they can pay employees and keep education as something your work towards because it costs money, time and effort.

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