Kylie Clifton, staff writer

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.