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College Should Be Free: Reasons and Solutions

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Money is the only thing standing in the way of a higher education for most people and that includes me. My parents have a hard time paying for me to stay in school at Cal State San Bernardino because of the tuition, dorm, and books. The first quarter was rough on my dad I could tell because he was working way more than he used to just to pay but would never admit it was hard. I felt bad because I wanted to help but I didn’t know how, so after the first quarter, I joined the military, so they could help pay for my school. At first, my parents were kind of hesitant but gave in after I told them that this is what I wanted, and I didn’t want to take out more loans then I had to. Now I deployed in February of 2019 and I enrolled in East LA college for winter because it works for my schedule and its cheap so by the time I go back to CSUSB, I will have my English done by Fall. U.S. state policies on student debt leave many families to decide between sending students to college and acquiring debt or forgoing college all together, noting that the decision is a primary concern among economically disadvantaged and minority families.

There is scholarship for minorities, but not everyone gets a chance at it or the opportunity for it, and the military isn’t for everyone. The issue that affects a higher education is money, and people gain too much debt for them to handle. This causes people too much stress and that is mentally unhealthy for the student and the parents. It will leave them, in some cases, with a lifelong debt that is never able to be repaid. There are some solutions that could alleviate this issue, and these may be government help and more aid, scholarships that is offered to more under-the-radar schools, and even military is a good option for people.

This endless student debt affects middle people and people that pick majors that aren’t in demand. The middle class is in a bad spot when it comes to receiving financial aid. When they send in their FASFA, most of the time, they don’t get anything back because a lot of the time they make enough to be considered rich. But it doesn’t consider the amount of taxes the government takes and what’s left is expected to pay for mortgage and college tuition. The only option for a lot of families is to take out student loans and keep building that loan until graduation when hopefully the crippling debt could be paid off. The poor get enough aid for the government that they pretty much get a full ride and never usually never have to pay a dime out of pocket. In “Doing away with Debt: Using Existing Resources to Ensure College Affordability for Low and Middle-Income Families”, Education Trust says that “We need to increase college completion, reduce student debt, and close the opportunity and attainment gaps that consign so many talented young Americans to lives on the margins of our society’. This is a big issue because students keep racking up this debt only to not finish and have this money all go to waste. Colleges need to give reasons to finish college for the students that don’t finish and help them instead of letting kids not finish. For example, if a student is pregnant and she doesn’t think that she can juggle a family and school then in that case a school could offer fewer challenging classes or offer programs and counseling.

Matt Taibbi, an author and reporter, shares mutual feeling. In his article “Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal” he expresses his hatred and disgust with modern America and how it “Sucks the blood out of its young”. He finds that Colleges and Universities take advantage of low- and middle-income students. They tend to depend on federally backed loans, funding a “massive and ongoing government subsidy”. The unfortunate truth is that at the head of it all is Obama. Having revamped the student loan industry, the government began to lend money directly to the students. This prevented the middle man from taking a cut. However, instead of actually getting rid of the middle man, the government just began to take over their endeavors. Over the course of the past ten years, this fundamental pathway, and the market that enables it, has become fraught with risk and its future is far from certain. 

Since the beginning of the 2007 crash, a group of events, from the burst in the cost of college tuition has led to a looming sense that the precipitous rise in student debt is reaching an inflection point, on the edge of a macroeconomic crisis with it ranging repercussions. From 2006 all the way to 2016, according to the “Consumer Price Index maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics” where all this information is located, the cost of attending college was raised by 60 percent for greater education tuition, and 88 percent for college books, and 50 percent for school dorms. Around the same period of time, from the beginning of 2007, all the way to the end of 2017, student debt in the United States grew from 545 billion to 1.5 trillion. And because of this, we have seen a range of effects on economic outcomes for graduates. These effects range from longer periods of time spent in parental co-residence and decreased rates of homeownership to additional constraints on young borrowers looking to obtain credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages. The studies show that millennials are affected the most in student debt because of the rise in tuition and the crash in 2007. Due to tuition prices, student debt has increased ever since 1993. The students in 2016 graduated with 6% additional debt than the students that finished in 2015 and 77% more than the students that graduated a decade before.

Student debt does not just affect the student but also their family. This creates a barrier for the family to go through a financial hardship is they cannot afford it and may even ruin the students credit score. The article “Overcoming the Obstacles Student Debt Presents to the Ability to Buy a Home” explains how trying to qualify for home mortgage financing is hard for college graduates that have not paid off their college debt. In response to this situation, mortgage foreclosures from the subprime mortgage crisis were at an all-time high and that led to a severe recession that came along, Therefore, lending institutions such as banks have a tight mortgage lending standard. Normally, it is the people under the age of 35 who are having this trouble, and it keeps increasing every year. Recently, in the past couple of years, in an effort to try and improve this problem in 2015, any American who gets a loan directly from the federal government for college or graduate school expenses are eligible to enroll in a program referred to as “Pay as You Earn”. The program before open only to new student borrowers has monthly payments at 10% of a borrowers. This program dropped students monthly payment a couple hundred dollars but the time standard for this is 10 year but can get a maximum of 20 years and after that then the borrower must go back to the original monthly payment. This program is part of the reason why society as a whole has had a recent decline in student debt.

A four-year university is not the only place where students become in debt. In 2008 38 percent of students that got an associate degree became in debt from buying books and paying for tuition. The average debt for a student to attend a community college is around 7000 dollars. This all depends on the school that students attend too because Mt. Sac is more expensive than ELAC but they both give out the same degree and students that are from the LA district get one year free to attend ELAC, and that is half of schooling done already for an associates degree.

Paying off student loans can be tricky but it does have some solutions. The military is one of the most common ways student go through school without having to pay because it is such a good deal, well kind of. If a student joins the marines, navy, or the national guard then they are eligible for the Montgomery GI bill which pays for student tuition and the debt that they already accumulated. The national guard is the best option if a student wants to go to school and join the army because the government pays for tuition and you can serve too because you stay in your local area unless a state disaster happens then the national guard can deploy as many soldiers as they need. Joining the military also helps students buy a house because not only do they pay for student tuition but the government pays for the down payment of a house. If a student has bad credit score it does no matter because the down payment is payed for all they have to do is have a reliable source of income. Also when a student enlist they get monthly payments on top of everything for the next eight years so having a job during school is not necessary because of the source of income. The military can solve two problems student might have in their early adulthood but the military is not for everyone obviously because they do have some standards and expectations. Some people might not like the fact that they are signing their life away to the government or maybe they might have trouble getting fit and cannot make the cut for requested MOS. Some schools also offer an ROTC program and what that does is it trains students that want to join the military or are already serving a chance to become a lieutenant which is a very hard rank to receive. During this process the ROTC program offers a scholarship that pays for tuition and housing to dorm on campus to a lot of students. They have to take this class/program for all four years and after if they qualify then they can choose what kind of lieutenant they want to be and a lot of opportunities are available.

How most people get out of college debt is by just getting a well-paying job and use the degree that they paid so much for. A lot of students have a hard time getting a job because they picked a major that is not in demand for example there is a major called gender dance theory. That does not lead to a high-paying job and students have to be realistic about goals, not everyone can be a musician or a professional artist. It is good to have dreams but that does not pay off debt. Helping students pick jobs for the future or maybe have a program that predicts jobs in demand. This can be done by checking the statistics of which jobs have the oldest workers that are close to retiring for example right now the LA sheriff’s department is hiring predicting the number of people that will retire in the next year so they are looking to hire college graduates with a criminal justice degree. Some majors are always in demand like STEM jobs like engineering, medicine, math, science, and technology. Society is always becoming technologically advance and college students are the for front and the leading innovators of this.

Scholarships are always provided to students and most take little to no effort to apply for them so it is just the matter of applying. According to NerdScholar a study was conducted stating around $2.9 billion from the federal government was unclaimed and this was due to high school seniors not completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in the most recent academic year and this was money that does not have to be paid back like the Pell Grant. A lot of students’ mindset about FASFA is that they won’t get any money and so they do not even attempt to apply. Most people do qualify for something like loans but the good kinds of loans like sub and unsub loans. High schools need to make it a requirement so all the money gets disbursed. By doing this it does not only give kids money, but it encourages students to pursue higher education, they did not have the motivation before because of the money. This doesn’t even include non-government loans like companies or small businesses. Almost all businesses have some sort of scholarship available and all they require is normally a small essay. Every high school gives out scholarships usually just enough to buy books for college. Studies shows that the scholarships that are offered in high school for seniors go unclaimed and if anyone just applies, then they would get it by default. This could be solved if the teachers made it more known to the students that scholarships are available. Colleges offer a lot of financial aid too like work-study and lots of scholarships for a student’s specific major. Work-study is really good because instead of paying the student with money the school pays them with money that goes toward tuition that they owe to the school. Work-study is normally more than minimum wage too and they get to stay on campus where it is safe and can get school work done, it also works around the students schedule and upcoming finals or midterms.

Recently, there has been some debate about if college should be free for everyone but that would require a lot of change in society. Some countries do offer free schools for everyone but not everyone. In high school students in these countries must have a certain GPA to attend college and it is free. If we adopted this in our country it might have some controversy because there are several cases of people that did really bad in high school but after going to college it turned them around and we had that law then students like that would not have a chance to attend college, but instead get a vocational job. England has this system too but they are going to get rid of it according to recent articles because it is costing the government a lot of money. Some politicians propose that maybe making community college free to the public and keeping universities how they are. This might be good because it could give students an experience on how college is like without committing a lot of money to a university.

Debt seems to almost be unavoidable, especially for students. College is expensive, and it seems almost the price is unreasonable, but that’s how reality is. I for one have some student debt that is due, but I have methods planed out fix this problem. I chose the path of the military, so they could help me go through college. The reason I picked this route is that I did not want my parents to become in debt for me. They did not want me to take out loans under my name for fear that it will ruin my credit score. I am happy with the choice I made because I think the military will offer things that I would never have seen if I was a civilian. The hardest part is that I find it difficult to leave my family and friends for about six months. I did receive some scholarships from my high school because I was in track and cross country and I used that for books. I also got a few more and to be honest, I do not really think I deserved it, but because I was the only one that applied for it, I won by default. I am also working toward a scholarship that I would get from my school that has something to do with my major and if I do win, then they will pay for my housing in school but I do have to be in a contract stating that I will have to work for homeland security for four years after I graduate college but it works out because that is what I planned on working anyways. I applied for FASFA but the only aid that received was loans from the government, I fit into the middle class where the government thinks that my family is rich enough to pay for college on our own but that is not the case at all. I do not think that college should be free, but I do think that it should be cheaper for sure. As of right now, college is at an all-time high with tuition and housing prices, this goes to show how the crash of 2007 still affects us today.

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College Should Be Free: Reasons and Solutions. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
“College Should Be Free: Reasons and Solutions.” GradesFixer, 29 Apr. 2022,
College Should Be Free: Reasons and Solutions. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 May 2022].
College Should Be Free: Reasons and Solutions [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 29 [cited 2022 May 17]. Available from:
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