By Dan Chier
Across the country, parents have one thing in common: the priority to save thousands of dollars for their children to attend college.
The cost of attending college in the United States has quadrupled over the last 6 years. Because of the cost, college may not be an option for many students. Although, President Barack Obama has proposed a plan that will end the cost of going to community college, there are flaws in his solution that have not been considered that make college directly free for the student. However, every american taxpayer indirectly pays for that student’s tuition.
Free college does not and never will exist. While some students do not pay directly for their college education, their parents and neighbors contribute to university funding through tax dollars. The plan to evenly distribute the cost of students going to college is only achievable if the federal government pays for 75% of the cost and the rest is paid through taxes.
Tax money should go towards something more important like the renovations of elementary schools, middle schools and high schools.
For example, Bonita Vista High School received a D in student preparation in our last Sweetwater Union High School District parent meeting. Southwestern College, on the other hand, is accessible to everyone. We are then faced with a decision, which institution should receive more funds? That tax money should go to schools in need, as opposed to the community colleges.
Before we get into the mindset that it is impossible for anyone to pay for college, it is important to take a step back to see how much money it would cost to pay for the two years Obama plans to make free. Two years of college will allow individuals to earn their Associate’s (AA) degree. An AA degree takes 60 units to earn. Most community colleges charge around $50 for each unit, which in sum would amount to around $3000 to earn an AA degree.
Anyone who is seriously invested in their future would pay three grand in a heartbeat. Studies have shown that students who pay for their college education receive higher grades. Paying for your education is just more incentive to do well in class.
While most would be able to pay the fee of $3000 for their own education, what about the students who honestly want to get a better education but cannot afford it? How are they expected to pay for it? Before Obama introduced the idea of free college, the Pell grant, a grant that pays for your two years of college, was already available for the people who are eligible for such a grant.
To be eligible, you must register and prove that it is impossible for you to pay for college and the grant will give you money to the extent in which you need. If you submit the application for the Pell grant, clearly you are taking initiative and working for your education, as opposed to just showing up. Tax money should not pay for community college students when the odds of the child continuing his or her education or even getting an AA degree is at 30%.
In conclusion, the concept of free community college is fantastic, but as we slowly dissect it we come to realize that there are more flaws than solutions. At this point there is no reason for government funds and tax dollars to be shoveled into such a worthless expense.