Should students receive free post-secondary education?
Debate Rounds (2)
1. Making college free for everyone would almost certainly mean giving far more money to students from richer families than from poorer ones.
The main problem with free college is that most students come from disproportionately well-off backgrounds and already enjoy disproportionately well-off futures, which makes them relatively uncompelling targets for public transfers. At age nineteen, only around 20 percent of children from the poorest 2 percent of families in the country attend college. For the richest 2 percent of families, the same number is around 90 percent."At public colleges students from the poorest fourth of the population currently pay no net tuition at either two-year or four-year institutions, while also receiving an average of $3,080 and $2,320 respectively to offset some of their annual living expenses. Richer students currently receive much fewer tuition and living grant benefits.
Given these class-based differences in attendance levels, institutional selection, and current student benefit levels, making college free for everyone would almost certainly mean giving far more money to students from richer families than from poorer ones. Providing more generous student benefits might alter these class-based skews a bit by encouraging more poor and middle-class people to go to college or to attend more expensive institutions. But even reasonably accounting for those kinds of responses, the primary result of such increased student benefit generosity would be to fill the pockets of richer students and their families.
2. Four of five Attendees Don"t Graduate Community College
That"s right. In the six years after beginning to attend community college, only 21 percent of students graduate with a two-year degree. Not a really impressive track record that bears rewarding. So what we will really be paying for here is for community colleges to load up on students and income with little regard for whether those students benefit from, you know, a degree. "community college becomes the new high school, students who have better things to do will be penalized for not wasting another two years doing the same thing all their peers are. As Lloyd Bensen IV says, "If too many people easily obtain a college degree, then the value of that degree becomes equal what a high school degree had been for future employment purposes." That"s another two years of young people"s lives they"re not earning income or job skills, setting them back in life that much further."
Education is a right, and education is a necessity in order for the economy to keep moving. What happens when school becomes unaffordable for majority of students? How are students expected to move out of their parents home, purchase a car or other method of transportation (depending on living location), settle in a career and start a family while in THOUSANDS of dollars in debt? Does that keep the economy moving forward?
The chances of getting a full time career post graduation with a degree is under 50%. Of course minimal students will attend school when this is the case. Graduating with no guaranteed job and high debt rates from both tuition and interest costs does not sound appealing, nor is it motivating.
Post secondary education has become a BUSINESS in North America. Educating students is not the primary goal, money is. Does a University care whether you receive your diploma or not? Why would they when you're nothing but a number to them? You're another $30,000 walking in the door and out the door, with or without a degree. It's the "conveyer belt" of post secondary institutions.
You make the argument that only 20% or the 2% poorest families in the country attend college. When these students presumably don't wake up to breakfast or may not know when they'll be able to eat, or have a bed to sleep on or a home to go to, how are they expected to function at a high enough level to obtain information regurgitated in a lecture hall? If these people do not have their basic needs met at the physiological or safety level (food, water, shelter, sleep, security of home, employment, family, health), they will NOT be able to function at a level of self actualization to successfully complete a diploma or a degree for that matter.
Without being able to meet basic needs, people have limited upward mobility in the system.
Our national debt stands at $18.1 trillion and counting. That"s $56,500 for every single person living in this country. So,lets say a family has three children who have no capability to earn a cent and they already owe the Chinese $169,500. Adding "free" community college will only further jeopardize their life prospects. Massive debt, not to mention the inability of Congress to pass a budget and cut monsters like Social Security and Medicare, which are driving this country into fiscal hell, is a huge damper on a national economy, and thus the life prospects of the people living in it. That"s me and you and our kids. Because you can't just slap the word "free" on it and have it be so, the money has to come from somewhere. Even though you no longer have that crushing debt you now have to pay a raised tax to compensate for the money lost at a ridiculously high bracket.
It is no help to young people to assume more public debt on their behalf and at decades of compounding interest to finance yet more entitlements to crush the economy they will enter. It"s mean. It"s time for politicians to stop "helping" us by spending money we don"t have for programs we don"t need. That includes college for all. Our nation needs drastic spending and program cuts and more pathways to career opportunities than a generic degree, not more fantastical spending binges with other people"s money.
So as we can see, while as well intentioned as giving people a free education is, in the end it would simply hurt them more than help then. If anything we should improve our economy and our level of education before we ever consider providing it for free. Even if that degree ends up being useful, which I have shown probably wouldn't be so, they now have a massive tax height to deal with leaving them virtually back where they started.
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