As Bernie Sanders, a presidential candidate for the 2016 presidential elections, claims he can make college free, the subject of tuition for secondary schooling has become a “hot” topic. The New York Times, on January 20th, released a “Room for Debate” titled “Should College be Free?” where many journalists such as Andrew P. Kelly and Sara Goldrick-Rab voiced their opinions on college tuition. “Just one-third of students from the bottom income quartile, who started at a community college in 2003 finished with a degree or certificate by 2009,” wrote Kelly, showing that the poorer find it hard to finish college with a degree. He believed that indigent students would likely not graduate with a degree due to college cost and because they are not motivated enough to get through six years of college. Although it is unpractical to create an educational system where college is absolutely free, creating organizations dedicated to encouraging the needy to get through college is an understandable goal.
College shouldn 't totally be free for such a plan to educate more Americans can bring about many negative effects. If colleges would become free, the competition for a seat in the college’s upcoming class will become increasingly competitive; as more spots become free, it is inevitable that most of them will be filled with the wealthier students, the ones with better education. Another major problem with making college free is that it will not solve the crisis of low success rates for impecunious citizens. Many assume that the main problem that needy students face is the outrageous price tag that comes along with college: this isn’t necessarily true. As mentioned before, “just one-third of students from the bottom income quartile… finished...
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...s one more problem that hasn’t been addressed: if we don’t make colleges free, we still have 12th graders who are college ready, but face the problem that “today’s targeted financial aid provides too little to too few.” (Sara Goldrick-Rab). Meaning, the needy high school students are not receiving enough grant money, while the middle class college-ready students are not receiving any money at all. In order to make college affordable, because we can’t make it entirely free, we must offer grants. The problem is, the current grants aren’t helping, which leads me to my main idea: We stop focusing on making college free for everyone, but like today, we focus on the lower and middle class. We will fix today’s problems by taking all the money we would use for making college free, to raise the tuition grants, and institute programs like the Tennessee Promise nationwide.
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