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Resolved: In the United States, students should be guaranteed two years of free tuition to a communi

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/3/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,902 times Debate No: 70593
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
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The topic of this debate is Resolved: In the United States, students should be guaranteed two years of free tuition to a community or technical college.

R1: Both sides present their case
R2: Rebuttal against opponent's case
R3: Closing statement and final arguments

I am trying to get a sense of arguments against my case and see some possible Con arguments as well. I will be debating this topic later in March. I look forward to this debate.
------------------------------------------------Pro Case------------------------------------------------
Contention 1: Having two years of free college would improve the lives of impoverished people
Those who would otherwise not have the chance to attend college would not have this opportunity, which would help them to gain a better job because of their degree.
In the state of Connecticut, anyone raised through foster care is given a free college education of up to $24,000 a year that can be applied anywhere as long as they can hold a 2.5 grade-point average. Having a system like this implemented nation-wide would be able to give people who otherwise wouldn't"t have the opportunity, a chance at higher-education. "College is not affordable to a lot of people, with four-year state schools costing upward of $20,000 a year and private schools around $40,000. The chance to get an associates degree for free would help alleviate the financial burden many people may face upon graduating. This plan would also provide a financial lift to make two more years to earn a bachelor's degree tangible, considering the first two years would be free." (1) Free tuition would help to bolster economic opportunity for the less privileged

Contention 2: The first 2 years free will help with the skill gap in America
26% of jobs require less than four years of post-secondary training; 16% of jobs require on-the-job training of more than six months. Community colleges provide a wide range of technical training and many of these vocational programs include work-study components at local employers, providing critical job experience. Middle skill workers are being under supplied relative to workers with four-year or graduate degrees. Obama"s program might help fix that imbalance, benefiting both employers and employees
David Baime, vice president for government relations at the American Association of Community Colleges said, "This is a proposal of historical proportions and could dramatically increase access to community college."(2) "There are about 7.7 million students enrolled in community college, but that number could soon grow if states adopt the president"s proposal. Studies tend to find that a $1,000 decrease in the cost of college increases college enrollment rates by up to four percentage points." (3) An occupation-oriented associate degree, the type of degree earned at a community or technical college, will enable the next generation of Americans to acquire the knowledge and the skills companies need to stay competitive in our global economy, while at the same time reducing levels of unemployment, particularly the number of jobs lost to off-shoring and outsourcing.

Contention 3: Two years of free tuition can help students to lower debt
By making tuition free for the first 2 years, it helps make it possible for some community college students to work fewer hours and attend full time, which in turn may make them more likely to graduate. Free community college would make a bachelor"s degree more affordable. Students could get two years of college without piling up debt and end up with lower debt burdens post graduation. "Think about it: Students who started at community colleges during those two years, and then go on to a four-year institution -- they essentially get the first half of their bachelor"s degree for free,"Obama told an audience at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tennessee. "People who enroll for skills training will graduate already ready to work, and they won"t have a pile of student debt." (4)



I negate the resolution Resolved: In the United States, students should be granted two years of free community and technical college.
Contention: Giving free tuition to college students subsidize free college tuition for the wealthy. There is already a program called the Pell Grant program that provides free college tuition to lower-income students. According to author Michael Horn of CNN, "At $3,300, community college tuition is well under the $5,730 currently available in Pell Grant aid to low-income students". Lately the Pell Grant Program has ballooned in size. A review of the program by Duke Cheston and Jenna Robinson shows that, "Although the program started out as a way to provide college access to low-income students, Out of the 16.4 million undergraduate students enrolled in college in the United States in 2010"2011, 58 percent received Pell grants. The problem is that this program is not effective at actually churning out college graduates. Postsecondary Education Opportunity, a research newsletter dedicated to access to higher education, estimates that among high school students with family incomes in the bottom quartile who continue on to college, only 19.9 percent have completed degrees by age twenty-four. That is a decline of 2 percent from 21.9 percent in 1970. Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars to throw students not prepared or willing for college into college, and these students tend not to finish. This, in turn, wastes time in an economy in which time is essential. And, because, according to CNN, tuition costs are only 40% of all college costs, students are ending up in an estimated annual $4,950 of debt, even with supposedly "free" college. We have already tried giving free tuition to students, but it does not work, and this new proposition would simply aggravate the problem by restricting schools to community and technical colleges, and by giving free tuition to those who don"t even need it.
Contention 2: Guaranteeing all students free tuition to college would result in an undercutting of the working class who don"t have time to go back to college, a decrease in the value of an associate"s degree, and an increasing of debts students undertake while being costly to the middle class. A PBS article by three authors explains this concept. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the premier government source for information on jobs, shows that only 27 percent of jobs in the U.S. economy currently require a college degree. By comparison, the Current Population Survey, a monthly survey of 60,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that 47 percent of workers have an associate degree or higher. The BLS projections to 2022 are even more depressing. They suggest that the number of overqualified and underemployed college graduates will only get worse. People with associate"s degrees will end up working lowering income and less skilled positions. This will not only prevent them from using their degree, but it will also take jobs away from those whose circumstances will not allow them to go to college. Credential inflation will undermine the working class, because it in turn creates artificial competition for working parents. They do not have enough TIME to go back to college and spend two years in a community college instead of working or only working part time, but they will suddenly be competing for the same jobs against people with college degrees. Their wages will drop and they will most likely lose their jobs and not be able to maintain their family. According to the New York Times, college graduates have seen a bump in employment, and high school or lower graduates have seen a drop in employment rates. But these college graduates are not getting "good" jobs. They are getting jobs that previously did not require a college degree, such as receptionists or file clerks."High-skilled people can take the jobs of middle-skilled people, and middle-skilled people can take jobs of low-skilled people," said Justin Wolfers, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan. "And low-skilled people are out of luck." "Low-skilled" people who don"t have an associate"s degree make up 53% the workforce. This undermines American system, and will GUT the breadwinners who have worked hard to maintain both a family and a steady job with a high school (or less than) degree.
Contention 3: Granting two years of free community or technical college will discourage Americans from entering the military. In 1984, Sonny Montgomery proposed a GI Bill to encourage military service even in times of peace. This GI Bill allows serviceman and women to receive educational benefits after they are discharged from at least 90 active days of duty. This bill was made in order to encourage military service, and it turned out to be a great success, as many veterans used the bill to enter higher education. Military recruiters routinely promote its benefits as a way to attract and enlist the best and brightest young adults: in 1996, 95 percent of new armed services recruits were high school graduates and 94.8 percent of eligible recruits chose to enroll in the education program. And, according to the Department of Defense themselves, "Bonuses and incentives are instrumental to the Services' recruiting efforts.The bottom line is that incentives, when applied efficiently, are often the difference between failure and success in recruiting America"s all-volunteer force." Military Recruiter Cheri Depenbrock states that "Recruiters say they now hear a mixture of reasons for enlisting, with a growing number looking for benefits such as education." According to the National Conference for State Legislature, more than 900,000 veterans and military service members received education benefits between 2000 and 2012. And according to NPR, the generous educational benefits proposed in the Post 9/11 GI Bill helped more than 860,000 veterans go to school. There was a 42% increase in education benefits, between 2009 and 2010, due to the new Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, if two years of free community or technical college are granted to students, the incentive to join the military will decrease. Education is a key role in recruitment, and if they do not have this benefit to recruit soldiers, enrollment in the Army will be impacted severely. Although many of those in the Armed Services have a lot of patriotism, the turning point is often on education and health care, which will both be subsidized if this plan takes effect. People would be able to go get a degree without joining the military. This will greatly decrease hegemony, and decrease US" ability to fight religious terrorism. As stated by the LA Times, the United States has already made significant gains against terrorism. We have worked to prevent another large-scale attack like 9/11 and have decimated the core of al Qaeda leadership. However, the threat has evolved. The al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen actively plots against us. In Syria and Iraq, the terrorist group we call ISIL has slaughtered innocent villians and killed hostages. Some of these people include Americans, and ISIL has spread its barbarism to Libya where they are murdering Egyptian Christians. Without additional military help, we will have a limited ability to stop these horrible organizations.
Debate Round No. 1


k16kynita forfeited this round.


Sources from contentions: 3 Authors: Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith AND Jeff Strohl. http://www.;

My opponent has not rebutted any of my arguments, so they still stand.
To rebut her first contention, tuition is only 40% of all school college costs, so the most impoverished people would not be helped. Also, impoverish people already have the Pell Grant Program to cover tuition, as I showed in my first contention.
Second Contention: No facts, simply quotations from David Balme. Also, this would increase outsourcing if anything, because countries want cheaper labor. Also, many remedial classes are offered by community colleges, and do not count as college credits.
Against lowering debt, this plan would simply translocate the student debt to taxpayers, making no difference.
Please vote a negative ballot due to the facts presented.
Debate Round No. 2


I apologize for having to forfeit the last round and for this late reply. I had exams this and last week. I ask the voters to please not take this too harshly into consideration while voting.
------------------------------------------------Re-affirming Pro Case------------------------------------------------
Contention 1: Having two years of free college would improve the lives of impoverished people
My opponent's argument that tuition is only 40% of school costs still proves that it would improve the lives of less privileged people. Having free tuition is just one less thing to pay for, and just because there is free tuition would not mean that the Pell Grant is no longer viable. Having the Pell Grant in addition to the free tuition would only help even more, so my Opponent's first contention is inadequate in today's debate

Contention 2: The first 2 years free will help with the skill gap in America
I did have evidence in this contention. With 26% of jobs requiring less than 4 years of post-secondary training, community colleges would be able to provide a wide range of technical training. David Baime, as vp of the American Association of Community Colleges, is a very credible source and my entire argument was not only his quote. All he said was that "this is a proposal of historical proportions and could dramatically increase access to community college." And, on the Affirmative side, I agree with him.

Contention 3: Two years of free tuition can help students to lower debt
In response to this contention, my opponent mentioned that it would only be translocated to taxpayers. However, having more educated students, who can get better jobs because of this, would allow them to be better able to pay their taxes.

------------------------------------------------Final Thoughts------------------------------------------------
If my opponent can prove that having a Pell Grant alone would be better for students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend college than having a Pell Grant AND two years of free tuition, then only then does my first and third contentions fall. On the pro side, I am standing for those who are less privileged and their rights. Why should they not have the same opportunities to go to college than someone who can afford it without any problems? This will help to alleviate them out of this poverty not only right now, but in the future as well.

For the facts presented, I urge you to please vote an Affirmative ballot.



Thank you for hosting this debate!
I accept your apology but will continue to claim that all of my arguments stand due to a lack of objection.

--------------Reaffirming Negative----------------

1. The Pell Grant program covers TUITION, so this funding would not be in addition to free community college. We have already tried throwing money at a problem that is more complicated. This has actually DECREASED graduation rates of the poorest people.I will come back to this with my second point. Also, only 22% of people graduate community college within three years, so this plan still would not cover the majority of college attendees.
2. A massive influx of college graduates would not help them get better jobs, instead assigning them to menial jobs, because an associates' degree is not as high as a bachelor's degree, but higher than a high school diploma. There are already too few jobs requiring an associates' degree, and this plan will only gut those who do not have time to go back and get a college degree, the very people that tend to make up the lower class themselves.
3. This will reduce incentive to join the military. International relations are extremely tense, and if the U.S.'s military shrinks, this will have drastic effects on global stability.
Skill Gap and Undercutting of the working class: We both agree that there is already an overflow of college graduates. The skill gap might be cut, but at the expense of the working class whose jobs will be taken. This will not increase the median income of these college grads, and simply destroy those hard workers who simply do not have the time to go back to college.
Students Lowering Debt: The debt would be moved, becoming the government's, and essentially the taxpayers', debt. Community college will not guarantee students to get good jobs, and simply harm the working class, whose welfare taxpayers would have to pay for, along with free community college.
Impoverished People and Pell Grants: Impoverished people can already go to community college with free tuition, so they will not be benefited. It will just move the source of their funding. Pell Grant funding does not add on to this bill, it only covers tuition. Throwing money at a problem is not necessarily the way to solve it, especially in this case, where our mistake has already been shown by Pell Grants.
--------Final Thoughts----------
My opponent's first and third contentions fall, the first because I have shown how it will not change the situation for college students, and the third because I showed how it would be translocated and eventually become even worse of a burden in regard to my second contention.
Her second contention stands, but her income gain subpoint falls due to the overflow that would be created, and the entire contention must be weighed against the destruction of the working class who do not have time to go back to college.
The Pell Grant Program stands because I have sufficiently shown why things would not change for students.
The working class contention stands because my opponent has not objected to my explanations, and because I have shown how the working class would have serious problems.
The GI Bill contention stands because my opponent has not objected and because I have shown the link between this plan and a decrease in military enrollment, and between a decrease in military enrollment and severe, even nuclear impacts.
I urge a con vote in this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Prodigy0789 1 year ago
President Barrack Obama will be putting an executive decision into play pretty soon that makes community college completely free. Surprised nobody has heard about it...
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
You should speak to debatability on this topic, since she is debating this exact same topic next month, and she is quite experienced on the PF debating citcuit:
Posted by k16kynita 1 year ago
@Envisage don't worry about it! Thank you so much for debating me!
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
Sorry, I am going to need the full time allocated, my research for this topic is slow....
Posted by Envisage 1 year ago
I noticed you are new here, so as a heads up, I probably will not have my first round complete until tomorrow.
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