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The Issues With Making College Free

Although free public college sounds like an amazing concept, it has several problems that have yet to be solved. The problem with free public college is that it would bring an even bigger burden on the taxpayers, free college isn’t actually free, and it will increase the number of dropouts in college.

Taxes Raise But No Income Raise

Free college may sound like a simple concept, but there’s so much more that goes on behind it. Where would the money for paying the staff and bills come from? Obviously, it wouldn’t come from the students. The money for free colleges would come from people like you and me, taxpayers, and the government. The government would then have to cut costs of hospitals, prisons, other schools, and buildings. Taxpayers would also have to pay more each year.

Therefore, free public college brings bigger burdens on taxpayers and will make our country less safe. As reported in The Balance, “Biden’s proposed free college plan would have cost $49.6 billion in its first year”, according to an analysis from Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Guess who’ll have to pay back this $49.6 billion? The taxpayers, of course!

Free College Isn’t Actually Free

When you hear “free college” you instantly think you can attend college without paying a single penny, right? Well, this is definitely not the case. Free college does mean you don’t have to pay for tuition, but it doesn’t mean you still don’t have to pay for textbooks, dorming, and meals. In a way, this can be deceiving. Someone who couldn’t afford college before would probably decide to start attending now because it’s free. Once they figure out they still have to pay some fees, it’ll most likely cost them to take out a loan or go into debt. Advertising “free college” when it’s not even free is such a big mistake. “Messaging is such a key part of this,” said Michelle Dimino, an Education Senior Policy Advisor with Third Way. Students “may apply or enroll in college, understanding it’s going to be free, but then face other unexpected charges along the way.” 

College Dropout Rates Increase Rapidly

Although free college isn’t a good concept, it’s not a bad idea either. As stated in University Of The People (UoPeople), free college tuition would improve society. “When people are more educated, they can solve problems better. This means that society can progress at a faster rate”, claims UoPeople. UoPeople does have a clear point but it doesn’t balance out the fact that there will be more college dropouts every year. According to ProCon.org, “tuition-free college will decrease completion rates, leaving students without the benefits of a full college education and degree.” ProCon.org also states that under California’s community college fee waiver program, more than 50% of the state’s community college students attended for free, but only 6% of all California community college students completed a career technical program. To make matters worse, less than 10% of the students completed a two-year degree in six years. Free college will give the students the idea that there is no rush to get an education and that even if they drop out, they won’t be wasting any of their money.

I do believe everyone should get the chance to attend college. Anybody can do well in college as long as they dedicate their time to their studies and have the heart to want to learn, and attending college without dropping out shows your commitment. When there is a solution to free public college, without having to increase taxes and have a higher dropout rate, then let’s make it happen! An easy step forward to making public college tuition free is by changing the title of “Free College” to something not so deceiving.

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