Free public college is a no-brainer

The lack of funding for education in the United States has always been a problem, but now the crisis has grown to be more serious than ever. Elementary, middle and high schools suffer from lack of funding, and millions of college graduates are entrenched in debt. Action needs to be taken to prevent this, and government-subsidized college education students is a clear choice.

Student debt has doubled since 2009, and now sits at around 1.5 trillion dollars, the second-highest collection of debt after mortgage loans. Student loans lower graduates’ spending power, delay financial commitments like buying a home, and discourage graduates from taking entrepreneurial risks, all of which hurt economic growth and innovation. 

For those who claim that college isn’t necessary if you have the right drive and dedication, statistics show otherwise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average weekly income with a bachelor’s degree is $1198 per week, which is 64% higher than with just a high school diploma ($730 per week). It’s true that college isn’t worth the cost if you can’t afford it, and that’s exactly the problem. If taken full advantage of, college can be a direct path out of poverty.

The solution is clear. Making all public colleges and universities tuition-free would provide unimagined opportunities to countless people and boost overall American prosperity.

One argument against this reform is that more affluent kids shouldn’t get to go to college for free. But “why should we pay for rich kids to go to college?” is like saying “why are we letting rich kids use public roads?” The benefits that it would bring to the working class far outweigh the slight convenience it would provide the wealthy. Likewise, wealthy households should bear a higher tax burden in supporting free public college.

This brings us to cost, the notorious obstacle of all economic reforms. Making public colleges and universities free would indisputably come with a major price tag. However, the answer is quite simple. Instead of just sitting in an investment fund, a share of the profits from our country’s greatest successes should go toward the next generation of success stories. 

There is no reason not to implement this. Many European countries like Germany and France have tuition for citizens that ranges from nothing to about 200 Euros per year. If the U.S. wants to continue to prosper and compete in an increasingly modern world, free public colleges and universities is a necessary first step.