Why Can’t College Be Free?

At least 85% of us can agree that college should be free or at least 75% less expensive than it currently is. Why isn’t college free?

We get free public education for 13 years what’s 4 more years?

It would benefit because not everyone is forced to attend, so not everyone will go and it will help more people get more jobs. On top of that we will have a more educated society and more education isn’t a bad thing, living in a country where you have to make so many choices for yourself.

States increase tuition, governments cut budgets for post-secondary education, and not enough students are getting money to pay for school so their parents don’t have to come out-of-pocket, thousands of dollars a year.

And unless you’re an athlete, a valedictorian, really good at one particular thing, or your parent’s make the cost of tuition, books, housing, and 3 weeks worth of booze — without having to worry about suffering financially, if they give it to you for school — chances are you’ll have to either pay out-of-pocket or take out an unnecessary amount of loans, just to get a degree to get paid enough to order a large fry instead of a medium.

It’s totally unfair that those of us who want to get an education and do things with our lives, have to pay in order to do so. For some degrees it pays off in the end (financially speaking) and for others it… doesn’t *educators cough cough*.

Don’t get me wrong. A degree can definitely help you get to what you want to be doing in life, but it would be nice to not have to decide between saving up to pay off student loans or saving up to take you and your significant other out on a nice vacation.

But enough of my rant, let’s talk numbers! The US Government allows approximately $ 10,615 per kid per school year so that this particular child can have the materials they need to learn.

Granted this does vary by state but for now let’s just use the national averages for all of these calculations.

Let’s also assume that 3.7 million kids are going to start kindergarten at a public school. Now let’s assume that 3.3 million high school students graduate each year. Roughly 65.9 percent of high school graduates attend college or university so if we say that 66% of high school grads go to college that means there are 2.2 million first year college students. If we continue on the trend of allotting $10,615 per student per year with the national average of approximately $21,762 needed to pay for tuition, housing, and fees at a public university each year.

For those students who do end up going to college and assuming that their full education from their first day of kindergarten to their university graduation they would average about 17 years in school and it would cost $180,455 which is a much lower price to pay than the $491,181 it costs for one inmate in a federal prison for the same amount of time (sorry if all of the numbers hurt your head).

If the government paid the same mount as they did for our elementary and secondary education as they did our college education, college students would have (on average) half of their post-secondary education paid for. Not only would this encourage more students to go to college but it would help us live in a more educated country.

If you want my honest opinion, going to college shouldn’t be completely free. As many an entrepreneur will tell you, “you have to spend money to make money”. I believe that college shouldn’t be as expensive as it is but there are other things that need to be taken care of in this nation as well which is something I will discuss another time.

On top of that there are a lot of scholarship opportunities for those who go to college but might not have graduated in the top 10 or 15% of their class and there are also many grant opportunities so that student loans won’t have to be taken out in such large quantities.

I admire Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders for wanting to make college free. It’s a lovely thought and all but it’s not something that can realistically be done within four years especially wit a congress full of folks who can’t seem to agree on enough to get things done within a relatively timely manner. Let’s take baby steps and just get more funding to go towards college education instead of trying to make it free right away regardless of who becomes the next president.

Here’s where I got all of my numbers from:

http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2012/06/21/155515613/how-much-does-the-government-spend-to-send-a-kid-to-school

http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/03/18/2013-06139/annual-determination-of-average-cost-of-incarceration

"Why Can't College Be Free?" by SurvivalJournalism is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://wp.me/p45QXk-Na Creative Commons License, [Featured image by Alan Levine via Flickr | CC BY 2.0]

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