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The High Cost of Acquiring a Bachelor's Degree and The Benefits of Free College Tuition in America

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During the 19th century, education required a hefty sum of money that only wealthy merchants and government officials could afford. Elementary through high school which we take for granted, are now free due to a law which, according to the Washington Post, did not take effect until until the 1890s. Today a Bachelor’s degree is the new equivalent to the 1890’s high school diploma due to the U.S’s high demand for skilled and educated workers, but with colleges costing more than some people make in a year, many people can’t pay for the thousands of dollars in student loans. They instead work minimum wage jobs, which barely cover living expenses. The United States needs free college in order to help people get a proper education, and to help everyone have an equal to chance to get a quality job.

According to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, public college costs an average of $20,731 annually on a public campus, and up to $48,265 annually on a private campus. High schoolers here in Minnesota moving out of the house simply cannot afford this cost, and not all families are able to afford to support them going to college even with financial aid. Is it fair that a student with a 4.0 GPA coming from a very poor family can’t go to college while a student with a 2.6 GPA from a wealthy family is able to go on and get a college degree? It isn’t. Making college free will help the disadvantaged be able to attend college. They won’t get stuck flipping burgers simply because they did not want to take on the cost of college. They will be able to attend college tuition free, and attain better jobs, like engineering or medical professions that will help make our country better. They’ll even be able to help support their families if their poor.

There are already a few countries that have free college. Germany, Norway, and Finland are a few of the countries listed by Investopedia that offer free college. We wouldn’t be the first to do it. We could follow their examples in order to make it work in our country. On top of this, CNN claims that Germany has the fourth largest economy based on GDP, larger than any other country in Europe. If Germany’s economy is the highest in Europe, wouldn’t it help our economy too? How does Germany pay for it without their economy collapsing? CNN explains that Germany pays for their free college by having a higher income tax. We can do the same thing in America to pay for the college.

To pay for the college tuition, American citizens would have to have a higher income tax, but only on people who have attended college and those who are in the top 5% income range, whether they attended college or not since they are able to afford it. The LA Times reported that “People with a Bachelor’s degrees make 84% more… than high school graduates.” If they make 84% more money, then they can easily afford a few extra dollars in income tax. The best part about the income tax is that those who attend college pay for it over a lifetime instead of having to pay off thousands of dollars of debt over a few years. This gives them a lot less to worry about, and more money to spend on other things, which adds more tax money to the government. Instead of making every person attending college pay an equal amount of income tax as anyone else, it would be based on the college they went to. If you went to Harvard for example, your income taxes would be higher, but at the same time your income would likely also be higher. It would be fair to everyone. Those who don’t go to college don’t have to pay these income taxes since they chose not to go, and therefore do not deserve to get taxed by it. It’s a fair way for everyone in the country to pay for their own education. Nobody is paying for anyone else’s college.

There are too many positives that come from free college tuition for it to be ignored. It needs to happen as soon as it can. If we were to make college tuition free we would see less people being forced into minimum wage jobs, which in turn reduces poverty drastically. It would help our economy grow by putting more skilled workers into the workforce to help the U.S stay ahead of countries like China. It won’t cause our national debt to change since we’re simply taxing the wealthy and those who choose to go to college. Their income tax would be based off of what college you go to, in fact they would be barely noticeable in comparison to a hulking student loan payment. We don’t need any more young adults burdened by student debt. We simply need our young adults to enter the working world with one less worry on their minds.

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