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The United States has almost 1.5 trillion dollars worth of unpaid student loan debt. In the U.S. the total amount of student loan debt is so high that it is 50% more than all consumer credit card debt. So, how did we get in this mess? It’s thanks to the rapidly increasing price of college tuition, especially public colleges like UCLA. Over the past 30 years the cost of tuition and fees at public colleges in the US has gone up 213 percent; even if you factor in inflation tuition and fees have gone up 46 percent don’t worry there are many ways to get out of student loan debt for instance you could pay it all off or you could die that’s about it okay fine you can also get out of it if you become permanently disabled what’s that Shelley a life-changing injury only gets you out of federal student loans good to know sure.
Lehman Brothers got out of its 620 billion dollar debt by filing for bankruptcy but that doesn’t mean you can student loan debt is one of the few kinds of debt that you can’t get out of by filing for bankruptcy I mean it’s important for kids to learn about how money works or rather doesn’t work at least not for you there have been a lot of ideas on how to solve this student debt problem but mom and dad only have so much money so an enduringly popular solution is free college for everyone we should have free tuition at public colleges and universities that should be a right of all Americans regardless of the income of their families but it’s not just Bernie Sanders since the 2016 presidential campaign a lot more people are liking the idea of free public college tuition this poll by morning consult.
Politico found that 63% of all Americans including 45% of Trump voters and 47% of Republicans liked the idea of free public colleges and universities and why not they say that’s statistically speaking if you have a bachelor’s degree you’re more likely to have a higher salary avoid arrest be healthier and even stay married although that’s just correlation the same way that if you graduate from college you’re 30% more likely to be female but that doesn’t mean going to college makes you become female hopefully although if it does that’s okay anyway it’s good to remember that correlation does not equal causation may have benefited the United States in the past after World War two the GI Bill gave two million veterans free education it cost five and a half billion dollars at the time but some scholars say it was a driving force behind the economic growth the United States experienced after the war of course it also helped that the rest of the world was a smoldering pile of rubble and we had all their gold but giving free education to the greatest generation fresh off of fighting.
Nazis is one thing but free college for everyone well that’s where some differences of opinion come up no such thing is free education because you know that ultimately somebody else is going to be paying for that education now I’m sure that’s really not a surprise to anyone that Trump doesn’t think college should be free for everyone but what is a surprise is that Hillary Clinton kind of agrees I’m a little different than those who say free for everybody I am not in favor of making College free for Donald Trump’s kids why does he say that because as nice as free college sounds it would very likely end up benefiting students coming from rich families and actually hurt the poor according to this report from the Brookings Institution students from higher income families would receive a disproportionate share of the benefits of free college wealthier kids today tend to go to more.
expensive schools including the more expensive public colleges if those schools were suddenly free they’d save more money which they could use to buy yachts or something but wait if all tuition was covered wouldn’t that mean more students from low-income families could now also attend these more expensive public schools not necessarily they still might not be able to get into these elite schools even if they apply here’s a statistic that’s not very comfortable according to the Stanford University research paper rich students tend to get better grades and score higher on tests partially because they can afford things like private tutors and classes while they’re in high school elite public universities will always prefer better students who are on a general.
Trend tend to be richer students who will be all the richer for not having to pay any tuition how do elite public colleges like UCLA become elite by spending big on things like top quality professors and nicer facilities and those are expensive on average tuition only covers about one-fifth the cost of a public university where did they get the extra income well they get some government funding about 1/3 and the rest well a lot of that is donations and guess what rich kids are more likely to grow up to be rich adults rich adults who are able to be a bit more generous to their alma mater or they’ll just spend the money on even more yachts so just having free tuition at elite public universities doesn’t mean that lower income kids are going to have more access to those universities currently a lot of lower-income students can already get.
subsidies for attending both public and private four-year colleges that’s because of a variety of federal and state financial aid that already exists plus some colleges have their own scholarship and need-based aid programs low-income students can sometimes even use this aid for textbooks housing and meals which quickly adds up to be just much of a financial burden as tuition but if public financial aid is replaced by free tuition then these students may have to pay more because the free tuition would only cover the tuition part but free colleges could hurt low-income students in other ways too by making the quality of public colleges and universities worse let’s say the government starts to pay for everything just like with other government spending programs they would probably set a cap for how much they give to any.
School and if schools were completely government funded that might make people less likely to donate to them since they’re already paying taxes and that means even elite schools would have to cut corners that brand-new lecture hall that cutting edge science lab the state of the art beer pong room not so likely now and yes salaries would be cut do you really think the government is going to pay professors 150 thousand dollars a year so what will these public college professors do easy head over to private colleges and universities that will pay them more in fact top students would also most likely head over to private colleges as well so you end up with the situation where private universities could end up drawing all the best talent in terms of students and professors and the rich and poor.
Could end up further segregated a segregation that would carry on post graduation and there’s another problem maybe the biggest if all public college education is free who pays for it even Hillary Clinton’s plan for free college tuition which was a lot more modest than Bernie Sanders would have cost about half a trillion dollars over ten years but that federal money would only cover less than half of current college tuition and fees across the country the rest would have to come from states that agreed to match the federal funds what about states like Wisconsin where the governor just cut 250 million in funding from public colleges our state’s just going to fork over the rest probably not so paying for it could still be a challenge but even if it could get funded does free.
College make economic sense 20 out of 22 economists interviewed by NPR’s Planet money said it was a bad idea another problem is there’s evidence that when someone gets something for free they don’t see it as being valuable like I might buy myself a sweater but if I get a sweater for Christmas I am never going to wear that there’s already a high dropout rate at public colleges more than one in three students who start at a four-year public College don’t finish some research seems to show that completion rates fall the less students pay towards the cost a good example of that is England before 1998 full-time students in England were able to attend public universities free of charge but despite the free tuition low income students were becoming a smaller and smaller portion of those with bachelor.
Degrees again the wealthier benefited because of substantial inequality and pre-college achievement the main beneficiaries of free college were students from upper and middle class families on top of that there was a surge of people going in universities government funding couldn’t keep up the system deteriorated and universities tried to limit enrollment so they implemented tuition and fees as well as financial aid the result according to the report quality of education improved enrollment increased and in particular the participation of students from low-income families saw the most growth instead of providing free education for all England focused on giving aid to those who needed it and the entire university system benefited.
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