Higher Education Shouldn’t Be Bought

April 27, 2017

[OP-ED] Higher education often comes at a hefty price, even if you get accepted. Many students dismiss the idea of getting a college degree because the financial burden at both private and public institutions. But what if college tuition was free?

In this article titled Why Tuition-Free College Makes Sense, written by Lawrence Wittne, a professor from SUNY Albany, points out major reasons why tuition-free college is the way to go. Professor Wittne pulls historical data to make his point: from the mid-1800’s to the 1980’s, all levels of education, elementary school to college, was free to all. The decision to pursue further education wasn’t hindered by the potential student debt and instead gave people equal opportunity to decide their path.

Since then, the price of American public colleges and universities has skyrocketed to over 1,000 percent. Today we are accustomed to graduating with debt, students taking on full-time jobs to pay their way through college, students dropping out, and students not committing due to the costs.

The average price tag for public colleges and universities for in-state residents is around $9,100 while the average price tag for out-of-state residents is just below $23,000. For private universities and colleges the average price is over $50,000 a year, and that doesn’t even include room, board and other fees that come into play.

What does offering free tuition change? First, it means every high school student will have the opportunity to receive a higher education. For many low-income to middle-class families, going to college is not even an option. While there are many grants and financial aid programs are available, the idea of it is simply too intimidating due to the costs associated with it.

If students choose to pursue higher education, this means little to no debt for them upon graduation. Today, three of four students will graduate with debt. The total student loan debt in the United States is $1.3 trillion. That’s an average of $30,000 (plus taxes) that every student taking out a loan has to pay off after graduation.

Alongside non-profits like QuestBridge and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, many more students are learning about the opportunities available to them after high school. As more non-profits and resources are educating students about college and helping them apply and succeed, may be it’s time for the government to take step further and join in.

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Recently, San Francisco became the first city to offer free tuition for community college to city residents. New York state has followed and has now approved tuition-free college at both 2-year and 4-year institutions for full time, middle-class students. Will the rest of the country follow?

Written by AdmitSee Intern

About The Author

AdmitSee Staff
AdmitSee Staff

​We remember our frustration with applying to college and the lack of information surrounding it. So we created AdmitSee to bring much-needed transparency to the application process! Read more about the team here.




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Accepted to CMU, BC, Tufts, Northeastern

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Accepted to UMD, JHU, Duke, Case, Swarthmore, Penn State

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