College is expensive. That is a fact we all know to be true, and it happens to be the reason why people across the country are pushing for tuition-free public college.
Earlier this year, New York State became the first state in the nation to offer free tuition to middle-class students at two- and four-year public colleges. Tuition will be free for New York State residents who earn up to a specific income cap, which will be phased in over the first three years. These students must also meet other requirements, such as obtaining 30 credits a year and living and working in the state for the same number of years they received funding.
States like Tennessee and Oregon have made similar moves, offering free tution at community colleges for in-state residents, regardless of income. Now, people are left wondering when their own state will decide to offer free public college. With this decision comes a plethora of questions: If college were free, would it be valued the same? Would people take it as seriously?
There are a variety of opinions surrounding the topic. While several people believe students would neglect the value of their education if they received it at no cost, others think it would serve as motivation for people to earn a degree they otherwise would not be able to afford.
The theory is that if you pay for your education, you will work harder and value it more than if it were only handed to you. But it’s important to note that just because someone pays nearly $30,000 a year for their education does not mean they’ll care.
If college were free, it would open up several doors and opportunities for people who may not be able to afford college. Higher education is an opportunity loaded with positive outcomes. It not only serves as a way for people to grow in a specific career path, but it leads to a pathway of success that is not attainable through any other means.
The focus of higher education should shift from money to the desire of providing greater education for people across the country who aim for success.
A college degree can be the deciding factor in whether someone is hired for a job. Oftentimes, employers will place a college graduate over someone who only earned a high school degree. While the high school graduate may have a greater level of experience in the field, they may not even be considered depending on their level of education.
In the world we live in, it’s becoming more difficult to find jobs that pay above minimum wage unless you obtain a college degree. Welcome to the 21st century.
The option to attend college must become more accessible and affordable.
If other countries, such as Sweden, Norway and Finland, can offer free tuition, so can we. It’s time for America to catch up with the times.
OUR POSITION: The staff believes college should be more affordable, giving more people the opportunity to benefit from higher education.
The opinions, beliefs and view points expressed by the various authors in the opinion section do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the entire The Franklin staff. Opinion editor Christina Ramey moderates the board and its members, including Brittney Corum, Matt Thomas and Ashley Steeb. Leigh Durphey, the executive editor, sits on the board. If you have an issue you would like the board to cover, email firstname.lastname@example.org.