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The Reasons Why College Education Should Be Free

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The definition of a “human right” according to the Webster’s Dictionary is “a right that is believed to belong justifiably to every person.” What this means is that each and every individual born on Earth is given basic rights that belong to them the moment they are born. These rights can never be taken away from them no matter what and they are free to be exercised at any given moment. This essay is on why college should be free and should be a basic human right.

I think it is fair to say that as a child everyone wants to have a successful and happy future? A common way that the majority of people seek this is through attending college. College is seen by most as a way to set a foundation for one’s long term future: by achieving one’s degree this opens up many opportunities such as stable jobs with great benefits and especially those that are high-paying. While college is not a necessity for getting a stable job (trade school, construction, etc.), it is definitely the most feasible option that most flock towards to provided they can afford it, have several scholarships or grants, or are willing to take on student debt. Student debt is often the route that many people take in order to attend college and work towards their degree. Fortunately for me, my parents have managed to save up money for my college as well as having high paying jobs so I should not have much or any student debt after college. This is not the case for many, however. Today in society, a lot of people feel that achieving a college degree is becoming mandatory rather than a luxury. This is similar to the case of how high school was viewed not too long ago, as a necessity rather than a luxury. If college is now so critical to one’s life, should it not be free to all to attend? Public education is free to all up to senior year in high school which is amazing (apart from private schools)! Due to this, there should be very few excuses as to why a person does not attend and complete high school. Imagine if this were the same for more colleges. A lot of people wish of attending college, yet they cannot because it is unaffordable or due to other circumstances. To me, this concept seems immoral and cold-hearted.

Why should a college or university education be tuition free? The main reasons is this would make one less burden for the student to have to worry about and rather be able to focus on their education than figuring out how to pay for it. Aside from this burden being relieved, free college would also affect another problem occurring throughout the nation: high crime rates. I am no expert in this field, but it makes sense to me that if college were realistically available for all people (especially low-income students), I feel that crime rates would drop significantly. Considering how many people engage in criminal activity, I do not believe the majority of them do so because they are evil at heart but rather have nothing else to do or are in a tough financial situation where they feel they have no other choice but to steal and hurt others. Along with these pro’s, there would also the safety net available for students to be able to go back to college if they want another major or do not like the one, they earned their degree for, which is definitely common among people. With this being allowed, students could further expand their education, allowing more opportunities and paths for people to make our world a better place to live in all aspects. The way it is set up, each person who wishes to attend college has a few options.

First would be the best-case scenario in that the individual can afford college due to a combination of saved money, parents/guardians/others helping to pay for college, scholarships, or grants. This is the scenario that everyone wishes for, yet it is only achievable for those in the upper middle and higher class. The second option is to take out student loans and accumulate debt while in school, dreadfully having to pay it off for several years after graduating. This option is extremely common among aspiring college students but has such a major negative impact on the person’s future financially. Apart from the person themselves benefitting from free college education, society benefit from this right to education as well. Education is crucial for the person’s development as a law-abiding and hard-working citizen. I feel that education is so critical in a person’s self-confidence in 2019. It is so important that each individual is granted these fundamental rights to higher education in order to maximize one’s full potential and simultaneously promoting their individual and collective wellbeing in society.

The second main reason I believe free higher education should be a basic human right is because it will simultaneously profit the economy. In 1947 nearly half of all college students graduated tuition-free thanks to President Theodore Roosevelt’s signing of the GI Bill in 1944. This bill ensured that military servicemembers, veterans, and their dependents could attend college without this hassle of paying for tuition. This GI Bill resulted in over $35.6 Billion generated over 35 years and $12.8 Billion in tax revenue. Due to this, people boosted the economy massively by purchasing cars, homes, and other large purchases due to the lack of debt and extra income. On top of this, many of these beneficiaries from tuition-free college were more likely to volunteer and vote. So essentially by allowing students to attend college tuition free they in return boost the economy. Another example of this would be creating more jobs. By having more and more money flowing in and out of the economy through retail, real estate, banks, grocery stores, etc., this would open up many jobs for people while lowering the unemployment rate as well. Money makes the world go ‘round and this case is no different. While this would be a great concept among all of the United States (as there are several programs that already offer college tuition-free), there would also be some connotative results to it. As a result of tuition-free college, there would be a massive overflow of people with college degrees fighting for a small amount of jobs available. Along with this, there would also be a large number of unqualified graduates who manage to graduate due to virtually few roadblocks to being accepted into a program (barring grades). Aside from the pros and cons of tuition-free college there is also the moral aspect of this topic. In today’s day in age of 2019, college degrees are becoming necessities rather than a luxury in terms of achieving high-paying jobs. This system is built to allow the wealthy who can afford college to be successful while forcing middle- and lower-class students to pursuit grants/scholarship’s along with student debt in order to graduate. If college was such a necessity in today’s standards, then shouldn’t it be easily accessible financially for those who want to achieve it? For all the millions of Americans wishing to attend college, they often have to tackle on large amounts of student debt which in turn tarnishes their future credit, savings towards their future (children’s college funds, purchasing a house/car, investing, side business, etc.) all for an opportunity at a job that may not even be guaranteed, fulfilling, or even high-paying. On the flip side, let us picture that nothing happens in terms of higher education remaining extremely expensive for the years to come and beyond. In the event that this happens and remains the way it is, college will still be accessible to some in the United States due to high income families, continued generous support in college grants, scholarships, college savings, or tackling on massive student debt. The latter is the most common among all and the windfall will soon happen. Once the student graduates whether it be with a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, PHD, or similar degrees the person could potentially rack up over hundreds of thousands of dollars. After this they may pursuit a job with decent or a high-paying salary. From here it may be very difficult for the individual to pay off their massive amounts of student loan debts due to other costs in life such as rent, food, transportation, phone bills, electricity bills, childcare, etc. On top of this, it will be even more difficult for the person to build up their wealth if it is a goal of theirs as I believe it to be a goal of most people (although many people do not know how to properly do so). With this being said, the individual will likely work through their 60’s wasting away precious time they could be spending enjoying life with loved ones but rather working to pay off debt from their 20’s while also trying to save money for their children’s own expensive college fees, saving for retirement, along with day to day costs plus luxuries such as traveling. This system is a broken record that affects millions upon millions of Americans, yet they do so because that’s what their parents tell them to, society tells them to do so, or they are too afraid to be different from everyone else.

Everyone has a dream. Without higher education as a right for all men, women, and children it conflicts with the idea that the United States of America was founded on: The American Dream. The United States has been called many names such as a “melting pot” due to so many diverse cultures flocking to America in search for better lives. All a person needs to do to achieve this is being a hard-working and intelligent individual with a will to be great. You do not need to come from a royal family, be a trust-fund baby, have a college degree (although it helps), or come from a particular background. All of the violence, religious persecution, sexism, racism, and overall hate throughout the world is horrible for present and future generations: So why should it be so difficult for people from these places to come to the United States in order to better themselves and the generations to come? If we as a country lose this mentality then we risk losing the great thinkers, innovators, and leaders who would have brought great advancements to our nation all due to this cruelty. We simply cannot allow this to happen. Aside from the benefits of this there are also many negatives. With so many more people being allowed to go to college, the quality of education, resources, and convenience that comes with college would instantaneously be watered down almost instantly. I assume that classes would be more difficult to get into, taxes would rise for all taxpayers, college campuses would be much more congested with people (as it is already during the first few weeks before people drop out), and the massive demand for teachers would lower the quality as many would be hired as recently graduated professors or others with a lack of experience needed to be a quality college professor. Along with these issues would be the value of a diploma being watered down due to the massive amounts of more people having degrees. My final point about the negatives are that having fewer debts after college may suggest poor money management among recent college graduates as they would have less money to owe, more money in their pockets, which means more money to spend on whatever they wish.

Overall, I would say that free higher education should definitely be a basic human right. I believe the points I have made in this essay prove my point. If free higher education becomes a reality for all one day, our economy would boom, people would be happier and more successful, and dreams would be fulfilled. I think this is much better than the cons that would happen as a result of free college. Let’s make it happen.

Works Cited

  1. Kerr, Emma. What Free College Could Mean for You. April 2019.
  2. Deming, David. Tuition Free College Could Cost Less than you Think. July 2019.

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