Take responsibility for your education

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.

'Take responsibility for your education' have 8 comments

  1. March 23, 2016 @ 1:11 pm Nathan

    I think he big assumption of your article is that only middle class, semi- affluent to affluent 18 to 25 year olds go to college, people that could otherwise find means, either through loans or hard work. There are certainly plenty of Americans who have worked enough minimum wage jobs to appreciate a tuition free education. Additionally, BYU Idaho has one of the lowest tuition rates in the country, yet we consistently rank highest in GPA, grad school admissions, and employment rate, and so we shouldn’t say wih much confidence that cheap tuition leads to entitlement.


  2. March 23, 2016 @ 2:42 pm Tiffany

    Are you aware that Yale costs $45,800 per YEAR to attend? Harvard is a little better, at just over $43,000, but MIT is right up there at $45,000. BYU-I tuition costs a little under $2K per semester, so let’s round up to $5K a year. Yes, you appreciate what you pay for, but there’s a point at which that breaks down. You don’t gain nine times the appreciation when you pay nine times the price. It is obscene and ridiculous to charge students FORTY-FIVE THOUSAND dollars for ONE YEAR at a college.

    My solution was to not attend a college that cost that much – namely, BYU-I. But you have to admit that there is a point to the Sanders rhetoric. You can’t simply dismiss it on the grounds that students need to develop a sense of responsibility. You can develop a sense of responsibility at 5K a year. At $45,000/year all you’re developing is a need to ignore the problem you’re creating for yourself. You can dramatically decrease tuition AND encourage personal responsibility AT THE SAME TIME.


  3. March 23, 2016 @ 6:57 pm Carlos

    hahaha thats exactly why BYU schools are soo popular because of cheap tuition, and their graduates go on to become great professionals that help their communities; now tell me if there is no correlation between cheap tuition and giving these students more opportunities to higher education to their desire and commitment to excel as students; BYU schools ARE and example of that. That kids just need opportunities to prove their potential, now what greater opportunity than tuition free. You gave an example of Germany why are they a “first world country” with a strong economy?


  4. March 23, 2016 @ 7:03 pm Shannon

    This makes no sense to me. How about fixing the existing K-12 educational system before extending the problem into secondary education? Maybe if more focus was placed at the root of the problem, kids would be more properly positioned for continuing on after high school. How about all the art and music programs that suffer from budget cuts? Wouldn’t more kids earn scholarships by participating in some of these programs? The idea of free education is just a huge mistake. It is an unrealistic approach to life…unless jobs are going to to issued out to graduates. Hmmmm….sounds very familiar.


  5. March 23, 2016 @ 9:44 pm Becca

    I completely agree with a few other people commenting on this article. Your article completely ignores a huge positive of free education for all — the fact that anyone would be able to attend whatever public school they worked hard to get accepted to. In looking at the chart on the graphic (which has some major spelling/grammar issues) it says 60% of millennials say financial aid is a deciding factor in selecting a school. This is outrageous. If someone worked hard enough to be accepted into a top school in the nation, he or she should be able to attend regardless of class or current financial situation. Student debt is also taking longer to pay off, which means students are not able to save money for other important things presumably in their near-futures such as children or a down payment on a home. The cost of a school has nothing to do with how much people appreciate their degrees. People appreciate their degrees because they worked hard for them. Free tuition would let every child know from a very young age that no matter where you grow up or what your financial situation is, you can reach your goals of attending your dream school if you focus and study hard.


  6. March 24, 2016 @ 10:22 am Dally

    Kaisey, your claim that Germany pays higher taxes than the United States is completely false. I have worked many years in the United States as well as in Europe, not only in Germany but also in Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Italy snd Spain as a network consultant. The reality is that total taxes in the US are about the same as those in Europe, sometimes even a bit higher depending on the state.

    The problem is that most comparisons look only at federal income taxes, wow amazing the fact that Americans pay many more different forms of taxes than Europeans, something I learned the hard way while running a small business. For example, Americans have to pay numerous state and local taxes, property, business and payroll taxes for example, that Europeans either have far less of or don’t have it all. Especially property taxes– my total taxes in Germany, in fact, we’re a bit less overall than I paid in the United Statess. Yet the truth is, I got far more for my taxes in Germany than I ever did in the US – good health care and never having to worry about medical bankruptcies, free Masters level courses in German universities, even 5 weeks of vacation during periods when I was working for another company as an employee.

    Germany can manage free tuition at universities simply because it is more efficient. Germany doesn’t waste trillions of taxpayer dollars on massive bailouts for reckless bankers, or even more trillions in corporate welfare for failed Executives and crony capitalists who already have a golden parachute. Let alone $3 trillion for the war in Iraq, which Germany stayed out of. So Germany’s universities and health care in general have far less waste and corruption, and are far more affordable. Germany’s tax revenues, in other words, go toward the good of the public at large, rather than lobbyists, special interests, and the buddies of politicians. You have to be a good student to gain admission into German universities and work hard to stay there, thus most people in Germany go to high-quality trade schools instead. Germany does do some tracking of students in school, to determine whether they can go to university or trade school, but in fact these tracks are quite flexible. In short, Germany doesn’t need higher taxes to fund its free universities simply because it does a much better job of running its public finances. The same goes for the rest of Europe which, outside of Britain, also has free University tuition or near free, even much of East Asia and South America uses the tuition free model as well. They don’t need high taxes either, simply because they have less bloat and do a much better job of running their higher education.


  7. April 4, 2016 @ 11:54 am Big Mistakes That Could End Your College Career Too Soon | Undergrad Success

    […] course, it’s not just about following the rules and taking responsibilities seriously. You have to understand that sometimes the college environment in itself can be the issue. Again, […]


  8. April 13, 2016 @ 6:55 am Take responsibility for your education – Kaisey Skipper

    […] published in BYU-Idaho’s Scroll March 28, […]


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright 2015 BYU-I Scroll