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Paying for College
Benjamin Voorhees
Ohio Christian University
Paying for College
As college cost continue to go through the roof, there is the ongoing argument that college should be free for everyone. While on paper this is sounds great, in my opinion, it just isn’t possible. In this paper, I will argue the case against a tuition free college system and break down the many different avenues to avoid being buried in debt.
Statistics from the Department of Education show an almost 90% spike in inflation adjusted tuition rates at public colleges and universities from 2000 to 2010 (Willie, 2012). This increase in tuition is one of the controversial topics that fueled the emerge of Bernie Sanders. One of Sanders’ key campaigning strategies was aimed at the college aged voters. He stated tuition should be free at public universities. A lot of students feeling overwhelmed by the sticker shock of a four degree backed Sanders causing him to run a close raise with Hillary Clinton.
Like previously stated, free college is a great concept but I feel this is an unachievable goal. A search of the National Center for Education Statistics shows that in 2014-15 approximately $536 billion on post-secondary schools (National Center for Education Statistics, 2016).  If you divide that by the number Americans (323 million) you come up with approximately $1660 per American.  To provide every American with tuition free college would cost every American around $4 a day. This figure doesn’t consider many other factors like people under poverty, 12.7 percent (United State Census Bureau, 2015). Also not factored is the people under 18 or retired which are non-tax paying Americans. Taking out these key factors put a much larger tax burden on Americans. An increase of this magnitude would have serious negative results on our economy.
Stepping away from placing the tax burden on induvial and shifting it to businesses can prove just as negative on the American economy. Basic economics show when cost increase, prices increase. A business will always have a bottom line and profit goals. Any added cost, whether increased taxes or increase supplies, will eventually cost the price of their goods to increase. This increase will increase will adversely affect induvial and put a strain on the economy.
Good news! There are many ways to obtain a degree without $100,000 in student loans. I believe no matter who you are, you can achieve a degree of your desire. Some may take more discipline and self-control but in the end will be well worth it. Besides, who wants to graduate, obtain that dream six figure job, then realize they have to pay $1500 a month in student loans.
The first method is a great method that will push students to strive for greatness. Many employers have great tuition assistance and reimbursement programs. These programs sometimes have incentives to get higher grades.  My current employer has no limit on the amount you can receive but does require an A to receive 100% reimbursed. A B will get you 75% and a C will get you 50%. This rolling scale is great because it pushes the student. With the average tuition, getting a B could cost you $600.
Another great method is to join the military. This is great because it helps our country out as well as the induvial joining.  Of course there are many risk to this method and that is why it is a method that isn’t for everyone. I am grateful for people that felt the calling to join and glad they can take advantage of having their college paid for.
Thirdly, one can attend a smaller, less expensive community college. Today, the average community college tuition remains approximately one third the cost of average tuition at a public 4-year institution (McKinney et al, 2015, p. 330). Many times this avenue allows the student to still stay with their parents as well as work part time. Staying with your parents eliminates the growing fee for room and board. By using this method, students can pay off the tuition as they go, preventing the student loans from growing into an unbearable amount. 
Finally, many Americans are already eligible for grants. This method, along with starting out at a community college can also prevent student loans. While attending a community college, I used my Pell grant and attended half time to take two classes. The tuition that semester, along with my books was covered 100% under the grant.  
There is no argument about it, college is expensive, but to argue that our public schools needs to be tuition free is no argument at all. No matter how little you try to implement a government run program, it is bound to grow out of control. We can create a fail proof plan that limits free tuition to public university and to citizens under a certain income threshold. Now students once considering private will shift to a public university to receive these benefits. Enrollment at private universities will decrease causing tuition to increase. Increase tuition will shift the scale of “affordability” creating an argument to increase the income threshold. Eventually one of two things will happen. One, all private universities will fail, or two, we change the plan to include private universities. I believe you would see college cost mirror healthcare cost after the Affordable Care Act.
Regardless of your stance on free tuition for all, we can all agree that the methods I laid out here can be achieved by anyone. All it takes is hard work and dedication. Working 40 hours a week while attending college 20 hours a week isn’t glamourous but in the end it will be great. When you obtain a degree and your dream six figure job you won’t have to worry about writing a $1500 check every month to government for your student loans.

National Center for Education Statistics. (2016) Fast Facts.
Retrieved from
McKinney, L., Mukherjee, M., Wade, J., Shefman, P., & Breed, R. (2015). Community College Students’ Assessments of the Costs and Benefits of Borrowing to Finance Higher Education. Community College Review, 43(4), 329-354.
Willie Matt. (2012). Tax and Tuition: A Legislative Solution to Growing Endowments and the Rising Cost of a College Degree, 2012 BYU L Rev. 1665.
United State Census Bureau. (2015) Poverty
Retrieved from

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