When thinking about student debt, doesn’t the idea of not having to pay anything sound wonderful?
Sen. Bernie Sanders is trying to make that happen, claiming in the Democratic Debate March 9 that it will happen if he is elected president of the United States.
Sanders said he will make sure everyone has the opportunity to attend public college for free — regardless of how much income a family or individual makes to avoid going too far into debt, according to Sanders’ campaign website.
College tuition should not be free in order to establish a sense of responsibility for college students.
Those who support free college may argue that Sanders’ plan would work because other countries such as Germany and Sweden already have free tuition. California used to have free tuition until the 1980s, according to Sanders’ campaign website.
However, Germany pays an average of 14.7 percent more in taxes than the United States, according to Sonali Kholi’s article about free college education in The Los Angeles Times.
When the national debt is already at $19 trillion and the total student debt is at $1.2 trillion, according to debt.org, then how is free college tuition going to help lower these staggering amounts of debt?
The main argument is that college is too expensive to pay, and while that may be true, we agree that college should be more affordable.
Students who help pay for their college tuition develop a greater sense of responsibility. When the student knows how much themselves or parents are paying for college, the student is more apt to take responsibility for paying the debt.
In the 2015-2016 school year, college students attending a public four-year university spent an average of $19,548 each year for tuition, fees, room and board, according to The College Board.
“When you are taking out loans for that tuition (and certainly when you are paying them back), you are very aware of that dollar amount,” according to “Why College Students Should Saddle Themselves with Debt … But Not Too Much Debt,” an article in Forbes by Nancy Anderson. “When your parents pay for it, you may have absolutely no idea how much college costs.”
Anderson said that taking the time to learn the process of paying for college can be as valuable for the student as receiving his or her diploma.
“That which we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly,” said Thomas Paine, author of “Common Sense” during the Revolutionary War.
If we do not have to pay for college tuition, then we will not take it as seriously as we did before.
Students are required by law to attend public school; however, they are not required to attend college of any level.
“The biggest problem with ‘free college for all’ is that college degrees would become as expensive and meaningless as many high school diplomas are today,” according to “We Can’t Afford ‘Free’ College,” an article by Vicki E. Alger on the Independent Institute.
More than 50 percent of first-year community college students have to take basic lower-level classes because they did not fully comprehend what was taught in high school.
Most of those students drop out because of the level of difficulty, according to the Independent Institute.
You take out what you put in to your education. If you did not take high school seriously, then that was the experience. If you spent more time studying and creating a good high school experience, then that was the experience.
If college is supposed to be a place where students can come get a higher sense of learning, then why should we make college free for students to take remedial courses on topics they should have learned in high school?
Millennials are increasingly becoming known for having a sense of entitlement, and taking away public college tuition would help create and add to the sense of entitlement.
We, as college students and millennials, need tuition to prepare ourselves for our future lives and the responsibilities we will hold.
If the government takes parts of our responsibility away, how will we ever learn?
Scroll Editorial: Approved by a 27-1 vote by the Scroll editorial board.