Disaster in disguise

Free community college is not as appealing as it sounds

Group Editorial 

President Barack Obama’s proposal to provide community college tuition would make college education more accessible while benefitting work forces. With Obama’s plan, students would be able to complete a two-year associate’s program without having debt upon graduation.

Decent occupations often require a college education, and in turn workers receive salaries and benefits, including some sort of healthcare. If healthcare is covered for more people in the United States, fewer tax dollars will go towards covering those who cannot afford it. Having more people with college degrees would also allow more people to earn higher incomes, which would put more money back into the economy, benefitting everyone.

While Obama’s plan clearly has benefits, providing free college education is not necessary and could result in disaster.

Since free college is already available for those who qualify through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Pell Grant and other private and public scholarships, it does not make sense to increase taxes to support free education for everyone.

Additionally, if everyone got an associate’s degree, no one would want to work low-income, hourly jobs at restaurants or retail stores. Past generations were fine with just a high school degree, and now a college degree, generally a Bachelor’s, is required for most careers. If everyone got the chance to receive a free associate’s degree, Master’s and Doctoral degrees would be in higher demand, students would feel more pressure and there would be a greater demand to raise minimum wage. Achieving these types of degrees would ultimately cost more money than paying for a Bachelor’s degree with the current system.

Not only would pressure for students increase, students would more likely be forced to attend school by their parents or be subjected to peer pressure by their friends; thus, people would most likely be lazier and contribute less than if they were paying for the class.

Along with affecting student ambition, it will cost taxpayers more out of their check. In the end, the proposal would only cause more trouble because one without children would still have to pay tuition taxes, and those who attend college would have to deal with students who do not actually want a degree, but attend school due to the fact that it is free.

Ultimately, those who desire a college degree will take the proper steps to make that possible. If one has low income, they will apply for FAFSA and other federal, state and local funding. Those who are middle class will work long hours on top of a full-time schedule to pay bills or take out a loan that can be paid off later. Upper class citizens do not have to worry about grants, scholarships or loans, and these people have no valid reason to support free community college.

Although free college education seems appealing when first mentioned, further research proves Obama’s proposal to be a poor decision. Instead of supporting his proposal, students and parents should continue taking extra precautions to ensure college can be paid for with personal expenses. Whether rich or poor, there is a reasonable solution to everyone’s college tuition.

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