Education is viewed as an investment in the future of the country. As student loan debt hits $1.6 trillion, free college programs offer some great relief to the students. Around 20 states offer free college programs in the USA, and this continues to grow. Government officials, especially Democrats competing for the Presidential nomination, are seeking concepts and new ways to pay for college in the future. It will help to eliminate all $1.6 trillion in student debts, and will offer some students new options (Kerr).
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The college education in America is so expensive and requires change. The cost of college studies has risen dramatically in recent decades. Hence, most of the American students are buried under their student debts. Free college is popular not only in the USA, but also in the rest of the World. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Mexico, Germany, and Finland are examples of countries that do not charge for tuition. In order to increase free college education, a tremendous help from the federal government is required regarding funding. Free college programs have been a process of evolution in the USA. Free college is not only regarding the education expenses, but also a path for the development of society in America (Kim).
The huge amount of student debt has been a major concern in the American society, as it has added more load to young people but also impacting all other generations which has not been taken into consideration by anyone. (Kerr). As student loan debt statistics show, the cost of attending college is becoming a growing burden for a huge portion of Americans. So, the debate about free college is extremely valuable in recent condition. The debt to income ratio has been increasing dramatically, since most of the generation could not pay off their debt. This debt not only include their own debt but also adds up the debt from the older generation as people could not pay off their debt by working for ages. Most of the people either give up their study, as they could not pay off the debt or think of leaving their dreams as they could not afford the debt of the student loan.
Cooper Union was established in 1859 as the namesake of Peter Cooper, whose motive was to make education as “Free as air and water” for architect, engineer and artist students, which could not last more than an era, since they have started to charge for the education. Cooper students held walkouts, sit-ins and noisy rallies for months. They were not just fighting to keep their own education affordable, but also standing up for the principle of education as a public good (Kim). After years of Protests, lawsuit and Bureaucratic delaying, Cooper Union agreed to the terms of a new plan in 2018. It could continue to temporarily charge its students up to $22,275 per year, half the cost of tuition fee, but would have to go free again in a decade. By 2028, when Cooper Union will be again as “free as air and water,” Perhaps many other colleges will be free too (Kim).
Some programs like promise programs, first-dollar money, last-dollar programs, federal Pell Grant are related to free college. It refers to programs that make college tuition and fee free for students. First-dollar money, meaning the free college program’s funds are the first money a student receives before any federal or state aid is given. Last-dollar program, meaning these programs provide money after all the other funding options have been exhausted. Federal Pell Grant is money the government provides for students who need it to pay for college. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid. The idea of these programs is essentially to make college free (Kerr).
As of today, 20 states of America offer free college programs which keeps continue to grow as more states and institutes announce the same concepts throughout the country. In my opinion all development of human and country starts with the Education. If people gain their knowledge and education, everyone will be able to pursue their dreams which will not only enhance the personal development of Americans but also help the economic and social development of America. We know that lots of immigrants come to America to get jobs because America could not find enough skilled workers for several jobs. If the education will be free in America, then they could generate the skilled manpower within the America itself, which will help for most of the companies to grow faster rapidly. I think, America has a comprehensive foundation of colleges and universities. They are capable of preparing people for success in a rapidly changing economy but the problem is America’s outdated financial-aid system, which needs to be changed for a significant changed in sustainable development of educational, social and economic aspects.
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Last but not least, Educated and skilled people are the intellectual property of the country. Free college is extremely debatable issue in current situation of America. Free college is not only popular with democrats but also with 41 percent of republicans (Kim).During commencement, It may require huge amount of funding but debt-free colleges will lead the nation towards the sustainable development eventually.
- Kerr, Emma. “What Free College Could Mean for You.” US News, April 24, 2019, https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2019-04-24/what-free-college-could-mean-for-you . Accessed on July 10, 2019.
- Kim, E. Tammy. “What Free College Really Means.” The New York Times, June 30, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/30/opinion/warren-sanders-free-college.html . Accessed on July 10, 2019.