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Why College Should Be Free: a Debt-free Lifestyle

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For most families in the United States college is just a dream. Going to college in this day and age is very expensive and can land you in a lot of debt. For some kids, a college degree is the only option they have to provide a better life for themselves and their families. A degree is an essential tool in increasing the chances of finding a good job and obtaining a good salary. Not only is a college essential for the work field, but education is key and gives us knowledge about the ever-changing world around us. College tuition should be free, to help students enjoy a debt-free lifestyle.

Looking back in history, college tuition was not as high as nowadays because in the past, schools only charged for things like board and books. Until the 1960s and Lincoln’s land grants, Americans were able to attend universities for small fees. Changes occurred after World War II, the number of Americans wanting to go to college increased significantly. In the 1870’s you could attend Harvard for a mere $150 a year, and students could attend Brown University for just half of that. In the United States, today tuition can run anywhere from 10,000 at a state university to 40,000 at a private institution (Cuomo). This doesn’t exclude extra costs students have to worry about such as food, clothing, and everyday necessities that it takes to maintain an adult life.

The debt of going to college today can scare the average person away, leaving them unable to accomplish the goals they have set in life. College and education are an investment in one’s future and shouldn’t have a price tag. The United States has set debt traps for students that only those from wealthy families can escape. For Americans looking to be successful in life, a college education is no longer a luxury. By making college tuition-free, the U.S. will have the most qualified workforce in a highly competitive economy.

Students could spend more time studying or participating in other activities at school if they didn’t have to work to pay for their education. Many people deter from big universities and go to community colleges to cut the cost of school. Some students even go as far as staying in-state instead of studying at a university they’ve always dreamed of because of the out-of-state fees. Studies show that the cost of college in the United States today accounts for 15 percent of the average family’s annual income, whereas it used to be 4 percent (Warren). More college-educated Americans can lead to a drop in the United States unemployment rate and make us a force to be reckoned with.

Many students are forced to drop out or withdraw from school to maintain their adult life and responsibilities. At the time working seemed more beneficial but it was really hurting people who dropped out in the long run. The longer you wait to go to college or to go back, the harder it becomes. A good society creates opportunities for everyone. We need educated people. We should be willing to educate without cost.

Education can inspire creativity in all fields and stimulate the imagination for innovative ideas. College is free in some places overseas such as Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, meanwhile in France college is free for lower-income families, and those who can afford only pay about $200 a year (Goetz). We could also get rid of all the for-profit colleges except those that provide real job skills. Educating our workforce could also reduce the need for public assistance programs. Instead of paying monthly student loans, graduates could start their career life the right way like buying a car or starting a family.

Even though there are many reasons why college should be free, there are also a number of reasons why it shouldn’t be. If colleges were to eliminate tuition, they will be forced to raise other fees to make up for it, such as books and other college expenses. For a lot of students paying for college is their motivation to go, taking away costs could dampen one’s drive.

Research has shown that students who have to earn money to pay some college costs (even if only small expenses), are more spurred to work hard and graduate. As Chenny Ng, an education policy researcher at Northwestern University, put it in a Washington Post essay, “As the cost of attending college drops to zero, so does the perceived cost of dropping out.” (Cuomo)

Not only are extracurricular activities beneficial, but they are also funded by the tuition money that we pay the university. If we stopped paying college tuition, there may no longer be extracurricular outlets or accolades that when can obtain. Instead of making college free, we could find other ways to make college more accessible. College tuition from students also helps fund different facilities and equipment for the university. Schools could not survive without charging students because the tuition we pay is used by schools for different purposes.

Overall, making college free has more pros than cons. The idea of tuition-free college is beneficial for students and society altogether. This can help families who struggle with low income, new or expecting mothers, or elders who simply never got a chance to start or finish their degree. Tuition-free college can encourage students to get a higher education which is good for our society as well as our economy. This would in turn also lower unemployment rates and create more revenue to support our growing country.

In the long run, making college free is overall better for the future of this country. Letting people reach their full potential without any stipulations should be what this country is about. The reality is that we all need education from Pre-K and Kindergarten to college. Free college can help solve the problem and improve our society.

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Why College Should Be Free: a Debt-Free Lifestyle. (2022, April 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
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