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Why College Should Be Free: Global Economy Competitiveness

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Like everything in this world, everything is a business, everything is designed to make money for someone. Destroying the foundation of that would not be good for a healthy economy. Having the government come and hover above us subsidizing everything will stifles creation creativity and competitiveness. Those foundations are what make America great and its economy very resilient, but in my opinion, community college (which means a two year degree just like Middlesex community college) should be free to all who attend. This will help people who are less fortunate and people who are forced to pay for college education on their own, with no parent support even if their parents are well off.

We are moving toward a time where a college education is necessary: there are no more high-paying jobs for low education levels. Retail is practically destroyed and they are more focused on specialized labor. Vocational schools are going toward the right direction, in my opinion, optimizing time for the students to learn a trade that will be considered more important for the next coming decades: electricians, carpenters, mechanic engineers, nurses etc. A high school education is no longer sufficient for students to move into the careers they love with good pay. By the end of this decade, 65% of all job openings will require training or skills beyond what any high school student receives. Furthermore, 11 of the fifteen fastest-growing jobs will require post-secondary education. However, rising tuition costs pushed far too many students out of reach for university. So, if we want to guarantee that all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential and lead to our country’s prosperity, we need to make sure that higher education is more affordable and accessible towards more people.

Our educational system is not very good. It’s designed solely focused on profitability, and the idea of having the perfect job after college is a pipe dream for the most of us. But at the same time, this does not mean that we should just tear it down. The bones are good. We just have to work on it and perfect it. For a long time, the National Science Foundation has recognized the importance of two-year schools as training grounds for high-tech industries such as biotech and nanotech. It spends more than $60 million annually on its Advanced Technological Education program, which develops curricula for, for example, immersing students in the nuances of cell cultures and standard deviations. And not just companies and foundations who are believing that our own government has tried many times to subsidize community college for our country’s students. And now, some states are not even waiting for the government to act and take an action on their own, like Republican Governor Bill Haslam. He signed a bill that will make Tennessee’s two-year community colleges and technical schools free to any high school graduate starting in 2015. This would energize Tennessee’s economy having more trained workforce and would attract more companies to come in instead of operation.

A college education’s importance is hardly a new conversation topic. The evolving U.S. economy, increasing rivalry for lucrative work, and a global society’s increasing complexity have made education a new public imperative. Nevertheless, the main focus of the dialogue was on the value of a four-year degree. This emphasis has been followed by our money: federal and state dollars are spent on four-year universities that have become more challenging for students and parents to possibly manage. In mind of the widening wealth gap, community colleges have never been more important to the economic stability of our nation. A research by the University of Georgetown in 2013, ‘Failure to Launch explains why. The study found that only half of Americans were employed full-time in their late twenties, the lowest level since 1972. At the same time, ‘the growing need for skills training after high school has postponed the careers of young adults.’

Education is the key to unlocking unlimited possibilities and potential. We need more leaders and communities to step up and make education available to all students who are willing to work for it in our country. It’s about fairness, but it’s also about competitiveness. The best way to compete in the global economy is to keep making sure we have the best-trained, best-educated workforce. 

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