Imagine the perfect education system. Free college might have come to mind? But that’s crazy. It’s just not possible for colleges to operate if they received government funding. As a matter a fact, free college would be very easily attained and much easier than previously thought. Today, many young adults are struggling due to their huge student loans. Nonetheless, the solution might be more complicated than simply making colleges free. Most colleges need student tuitions for funding. In spite of that, college should be free because debt holds students back after graduation, the government has more than enough money to fund the schools, and many low-income families cannot achieve the highest form of education because they cannot afford it.
Since the 1970s college tuitions have been going up at an alarming rate, but why? Many colleges have been raising their tuition so they can select a wider variety of students. Adam Davidson from New York Times Magazine said, “The single most important factor behind the rise in tuition is that high tuition allows colleges to shape their student bodies” (The Real Reasons Why). In essence, the higher the tuition cost, the easier it is for universities to recruit the exact type of students they want by offering them discounts on their tuitions. If the tuition of a school is $50,000, some students would only be able to pay $10,000 while others would pay $35,000, thus allowing for the school to select a diverse group of new students. With the rise of college tuition lately many say that the quality of the education is not rising with the cost. Students are exhibiting a lower rate of studious habits with the number of BAs dropping in recent years. “Thirty-six percent of college students learned little in four years of college, and students now spend 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago” (Bader). This tells us how the percentages of students study and taking the full advantages of their education is on the decline. This reveals that schools with higher tuitions are not putting the money into helping their students educate themselves. Since the 1970s colleges have been doubling up on tuition costs however the condition of the education is showing little signs of improving leaving students very disadvantaged once they graduate, with student loans limiting their everyday life.
Students that are newly graduated are held back in many different ways because of their towering debt. Evidently, student loans require less spending on nonessentials, but this can have a more substantial impact than what is shown on the surface. “In the U.S., when people pay for goods and services, it keeps the economy running and growing. So for a consumer-driven economy like ours, less spending means lower revenues and profits. Which in turn can slow financial growth” (Kirkham). Newly graduated college students are forced to spend less on goods and services which is dampening the economy from growing and expanding. The transition from student to full-blown adult can be difficult for some. Specifically one of the most stress-inducing processes of all is buying a house. Not only a mortgage that will last years but many other things that young adults need to go through when picking a house, but most will not even buy one! Many college students can not afford to start a mortgage until they have completed or are close to paying off their student loans. “41 percent have delayed homeownership. Meanwhile, 27 percent haven’t even managed to make it out of their parent’s home yet” (Kirkham). The less that people buy houses and start mortgages. It can have an impact on the bank system. Many banks use mortgage loans as a source of income, so the fewer people that take out mortgages the banks will be forced to find other ways to make money if people don’t buy houses and property. Without the pressure of student loans and debt, many young adults would be able to live a more stress-free life without the debts impacting their spending and commitments to other things. For example, they would be able to engage in hobbies, buying homes, activities with friends, and even starting a business from the ground up. Student loans hang over people’s heads and force them away from positive activities that would severely benefit their lives and future. The sad part is the fact that the government invests so much funding into the military when there is an abundance of money to fund our nation’s schools.
The United States Government has more than enough to fund colleges nationwide, but the money is going to things that do even require that level of funding. The US military budget is 598.5 billion dollars, and Donald Trump has proposed to raise it to 681.1 billion dollars. Approximately 54% of the total US government’s budget is going directly into funding our military, and were not even in a war. (Military Spending in the United States). The fact the we are not currently in any conflict whatsoever, and we are spending so much on our military it is outrageous. With over 500 billion being spent annually, putting a small portion of that funding into colleges wouldn’t be too far fetched. “The Bernie Sanders ‘free college’ plan would already cost some $70 billion a year as a starting point” (Pethokoukis, James). Even though 70 billion seems like a decent portion of our military’s budget, surprisingly it is only a mere 14%. This plan could be put into action fairly easily. The government is pouring billions of dollars into a military that isn’t even in combat which makes little sense. If the government redirected part of its military funding into schools it would make a huge dent and impact in the lives of many younger Americans. Lifting an immense burden off of young adults nationwide and allowing for them to grow and flourish at a young age, opening up countless doors for them to grow and better our world.
Many low-income families struggle when it comes to jobs that require college since they often aren’t able to pay off debts. Majority of the students who do not attend college are typically from lower income families. The students are aware that they cannot afford college plus that if they decided to attend anyway they would be paying off the loans for years. Especially if they want a job that requires more years on top of the average 4. “Students who do not attend college or who drop out quickly are predominantly persons from low-income families” (U.S. Department of Education). This shows that kids from lower-income families are stuck between paying off debt for years or not going to college in the first place. Majority of the time the lower income students do not go to college or drop out due to their unpreparedness to the environment. For example, a family with a higher income would be more inclined to pay for a tutor if their child is struggling with studying, whereas a student with a low income would be left to their own devices. “Members of low-income families are much less prepared for college than their higher income counterparts” (U.S. Department of Education). Many lower-income students are much less academically prepared for college versus a student with a much more economically stable household. This is mostly due to the fact where many lower income families live in undeveloped neighborhoods where studying for school and hoping to get into college is not heavily encouraged. Whereas a neighborhood with higher income families would push their children to study in hopes of a successful career in and out of school.
It is easy to think that if collages became free that government funding would not be enough for colleges to continue as if they were privately funded, but if one looks at the facts government funding is not as bad as its reputation. Many private schools are smaller with less students as well as degree options. This can have the opposite effect most would expect with such high tuitions. Many young adults don’t have a set plan for their lives, in fact many go into college without a major in mind. Lexi Liberman from Study Breaks (2017) says that 20 to 50 percent of students go into college without a plan, and an estimated 75 percent change once before they graduate. Lexi states that more than half go to college with no clue of what they want to do and most end up changing regardless of a goal in mind (Lieberman). So a school with more degree options and extra flexibility with changing courses would be ideal. Public universities are usually much bigger than their private counterparts, and bigger schools mean that their will be a greater variety of degree options as well as courses than can be taken. These courses will also have much more availability for students due to the size of the student body. Ben from Peterson’s states that students who wish to find large list of options when it comes to majors will find that at public universities, student degrees can range from liberarts to highly specialized and technical training (Ben). This shows how public colleges degree options can vary on a huge spectrum with students having access to all sorts of training and education. When one is looking at the facts government funded schools could actually improve the lives of students and take the pressure of choosing a major off of them because they know that they can change at any point if they would like to.
Even though most colleges require tuition to back them as a main source of money, after graduation the tremendous loans prevent most graduates from going after their dreams, all the while the government is using its money on less important issues rather than fund schools, and on top of that many children from low-income families cannot achieve the highest form of education because the debt they will inevitable face is too much of a burden. Most college graduates lives are put on hold because of their enormous debt, simultaneously most cannot even better themselves with a college education because of their financial situation. The worst part is that all of this could be avoided if the government would shift their funds away from the military and funded colleges nationwide. Spreading awareness is one of the best ways that someone could start a movement for this. Telling friends, posting on social media, or even telling classmates in enough. Free college would be beneficial to millions of young adults lives and change the future for the better!