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Should government cap tuition for all colleges?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/2/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,080 times Debate No: 25947
Debate Rounds (3)
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It is not the governments roll to control every aspect of your life. Our schools would suffer. The rich would get the greatest benefit from a cap on tuition


I affirm and provide the following interpretations:

Section 1: Definitions

1. government: the complex of political institutions, laws, and customs through which the function of governing is carried out. Merriam-Websters
2. tuition: the price of or payment for instruction. Merriam-Websters
3. college: an independent institution of higher learning offering a course of general studies leading to a bachelor's degree. Merriam-Websters

Section 2: Argumentation

Contention 1: College Debt remains high.
Tuition at institutions across the board have increased tremendously in the last thirty years. The National Center for Education Statistics records that tuition has increased from an average of $7759 in the United States to $18,133 from the school year 1980-81 to 2010-2011 from a constant 2009-2010 dollar amount (1), a 234% increase. As a result, students are forced to take out higher loans. The NCES additionally accounts that 79.5% of all full-time undergraduates receive financial aid of some sort, the average amount being $9100 annually (2). Over a traditional, four-year undergraduate study program, this amounts to $36,400 of debt. With higher rates of unemployment, it becomes extremely difficult to pay back loans, especially with loan interest rates having risen to 13.4 percent in the first three years after graduation, according to the New American (3). Thus, it is crucial for the government to cap tuition rates so students are not forced to pay exorbitant amounts of college debt.

Contention 2: Tuition is focused on non-essential aspects of college.
While rising tuition rates could be condoned if improvements to educational aspects of the school, it does not currently meet the definition so as defined by Merriam-Websters: in fact, prices increase, while education does not. The LA Times explains that "Colleges aren't spending their extra revenue, which we calculate to be about $40 billion a year nationally over 1980 revenues, in ways that most benefit students" (4). In fact, most of the money goes instead to expanding athletic teams, expanding administration, and pay increases for professors. In the case of athletic teams in particular, the LA Times continues that "629 schools have football teams - 132 more than 1980. And all but 14 lose money, including some with national names. It's true that alumni donations sometimes increase during winning seasons, but most of those gifts go specifically to athletics or other designated uses, not toward general educational programs" (4). Because the rising tuition is providing non-essential programs that do not improve educational programs, a capped tuition would not necessarily remove these programs, but force colleges to make more frugal, more effective decisions.

Contention 3: Capping Tuition allows students to stay in college instead of dropping out.
Reuters explains that the United States has the highest rate of college drop-outs in the industrialized world (5). Only 56% of students can finish their degree in four years, for those who attend four-year institutions (5). Only 29% of those attending 2-year institutions can finish their degree in three years (5). The Huffington Post explains that the reason is that colleges increase their tuition on students each year, including returning students (6). By doing so, students are forced to pay more and more each year - for the same thing. While some argue it is a case of inflation, the Huffington post continues and explains that Arizona State University, as an example, has increased tuition by 96% over the past five years and has only recently decided to cap tuition (6). By capping tuition, students are able to stay in college and finish their degrees, which would be much less attainable without a capped tuition.

Section 3: Rebuttal of CON Case

My opponent first contends that it is not "the government's roll [sic] to control every aspect of your life." However, it is important to note that capping tuition for a college education does not allow the government to control one's life. Arguably, it allows one to gain more control, because he or she is not burdened with either high rates of student loan fees or a poor education; rather, it allows a graduate to pursue their vocation either with low debt or debt-free while obtaining a stronger education (PRO case, contention 1). Further, the student arguably gains more control because she or he is able to finish his degree instead of being forced to drop out of college because he or she cannot afford to pay a bill.

Next, my opponent contends that "our schools will suffer." On the contrary, capped tuition forces colleges to improve. When cross-applied with contention 2 of the PRO case, schools will instead have to improve because of an increased emphasis on education, rather than non-educational aspects of post-secondary education.

Finally, my opponent contends that "the rich would get the greatest benefit from a cap on tuition." While I do agree that higher-income individuals would benefit from a cap on tuition - insofar that they would keep more money to themselves, rather than providing more money to the school - individuals from lower-income backgrounds stand to benefit tremendously as well, perhaps even more than higher-income individuals would. In fact, capping tuition would allow for more social mobility, providing more opportunity for low-income individuals to obtain higher levels of income.

Thus, I affirm.

Debate Round No. 1


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Debate Round No. 2


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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by impossiblesoul 5 years ago
Okay. So I read the Rules and stuff AFTER I posted that AR and I feel like a you-know-what. So, I'm going to recant that and write an entirely new argument here (though some citations will be the same). So matthew.vanroekel, if you see this, just answer this instead.

I believe that the government should cap tuition for all colleges for a few reasons. First, it is important to note that college debt and tuition is still rising, according to the National Bureau of Education Statistics (1, 2). It is rapidly becoming unaffordable for students and, by extension, their families. Also, more people benefit, both lower-income and higher-income, from a capped income because they do not have to deal with increasing tuition rates each year (6). Finally, as the role of the government is to provide service to the people, in my interpretation of the government, it is the role of government to provide inexpensive, quality education to students. If education is free from K-12, why substantially increase costs of education at 18?

Rebuttals to CON arguments
1. The government will not govern all aspects of our lives; rather, it allows us to become more cognizant and knowledgeable about the world because we gain more knowledge.
2. Schools would arguably improve because they're forced to retain their students and, as incentive, will want to raise their education standards.
3. Actually, everyone would benefit from a tuition cap, because both low-income and high-income individuals would better be able to afford a post-secondary education. While high-income individuals may pay less percentage-wise, it better provides more opportunities for low-income individuals to obtain a college education.
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