Can the United States public universities be tuition-free?

Jan 31, 2016
by: lancegui

Can the United States public universities be tuition-free?

Through this recent presidential election, Bernie Sanders, a socialist, brings out an issue about affordable colleges (free college tuition and no students’ debts), which is common in a lot of affluent European countries, such as Germany, Sweden, and Norway. Some people argue if it can be done in other countries, it could be done in America; on the other hand, people argue that we are different than other countries.

From “Bernie Sanders America Needs Free College Now,” it gives a few historical facts that we are very close to a “tuition-free” college system or at least affordable for the low income class. In 1978, it was possible to earn enough money to pay for a year of college tuition just by working a summer job that paid minimum wage. Today, it would take a minimum wage worker an entire year to earn enough to cover the annual in-state tuition at a public university. After World War II, GI Bill granted more than two million veterans free college access. In the result of it, many historians thinks that two million educated veterans gave the new prosperity to America. The upside of free education is visible and beneficial for all.

On the contrary, people think it would benefit the middle and the poor class, but it can’t make it free for everyone. “To get those students to and through college, we must focus on what they are asked to pay, not on making it free for everyone.” Borrowing money to go college maybe is not a bad, and it increases option for students. They can freely choose the school they want to go rather than the school they can go (financially and certain location). People who against the tuition-free understanding there is a problem of a current college system. However they think stronger need-based financial aid policies and well-structured borrowing are a far better strategy.

Everyone seems to agree that education is more expensive than it has ever been before. However, fixing the problem is hard and intricate. Americans do not want too much government in their daily life, especially any tax related policy. So free college tuition definitely involves with increasing tax among wealthy people. Education is hard to solve in many perspectives.