The Debate: Should College Be Free?

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About Jay Colby

Some would categorize me as an entrepreneur, life coach, son, friend and all of the above. I’m just another person trying to find my way in this world. Until recently, I was unsure what my path in this life would consist of. Like many others I was between I know what I want to do but not sure if that’s what I’m supposed to do. I am currently finishing my degree in something that has nothing to do with becoming a writer or entrepreneur so automatically it qualifies me to become one right! Follow me as I go through this journey called life to impact and encourage one person at a time.
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73 Responses to The Debate: Should College Be Free?

  1. caendicott says:

    I work at a state college, and funding is a big issue for all–students, faculty, staff, and administrators. There is no easy answer, however, I feel the idea of “Everyone needs a College Degree” is wrong. I have students every semester who don’t know why they’re there or what they want to do, and would probably be better off attending a technical or vocational school. And I’m not the only employee that thinks this. I do feel there should be a cap on tuition, and that would force colleges and universities to be more mindful of what money they have to work with. But that’s just my opinion.

    Liked by 10 people

  2. Chasa Fulkerson says:

    Loved reading this! But I really love how you talked about the pros and cons and not necessarily just one side. I personally do not think college should be free, but maybe lowering the price. However, I was lucky enough that I had the ability to get money through FASFA. The bad thing is I haven’t finished my associates degree and if I decide to go back( I have only two classes left) it will have taken me over 3 years to complete. I am just not a good college student, so not finishing in a timely manner is my own fault. Also, the fact I wasted money. Another reason I do not think college should be free, a lot of money would be wasted on indecisive students. I also believe since my degree was basically on the administrative side, I really do not need a degree for it. I believe some things are just better learned hands on rather a class room.

    I am one to argue that not everyone needs to go to college considering there are books and the Internet. My husband has a degree in Visual Communications, basically logo designs. It is an associate’s degree and he is debt. He barely uses this degree. He is however teaching himself front end web development (coding), with a little help from his friends who work in that area. The only problem with not going to college is employers will not have this piece of paper saying you completed something. That’s how I look at it, I know it’s more than a piece of paper for some, but not me. It’s sad because my work ethic is so much better than my college ethic.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Yes, college can certainly be free, at least at the community college level. At the very least, college could be a lot less expensive.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. angiedokos says:

    Good debate. Lots of pros and cons to consider.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. Reblogged this on Fighting Idiots With Words and commented:
    Interesting thoughts that are worth discussing.

    Like

  6. kayceemcg says:

    “Should college be free and is attaining a college degree even worth it in today’s society?”
    These are HUGE questions I ask myself all the time! I have a Bachelors from an art school – and my debt (and anyone else who attended an art school) is INSANE and extremely depressing. I am lucky to have a job that keeps me afloat but I do not even pay my entire loan payment – my mom still has to help me out with half. (It is $600 a month! And that is just ONE of the loans) It has come to the point where should we push “GO TO COLLEGE!” to younger generation? Great post – love your organization in your writing 🙂

    Liked by 8 people

  7. Which will be paid first? My college debt or my life? College students are in debt for life. This must stop!

    Liked by 8 people

  8. Jay Colby says:

    Good question thanks for commenting!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. GP Cox says:

    No matter what the question, the answer in some way boils down to money. We already have college grads who are unable to locate work and more and more seniors now going on Social Security and then to top it off – we have an illegal immigrant population – so – with only some people paying taxes – where does all this money come from? We’re already deep into debt with China, do you really want to ask them for more money?

    Like

  10. I enjoyed reading this! Didn’t know the stats were so low for Community College to 4 year university transition. I started off at community college then went to a 4 year university. I liked the pros and cons. Even if college was free only a small portion of the population would take advantage. Example, people can learn to code for free with the starting salary of $70K+, but don’t even finish those programs. The mass population does what is comfortable to them. Free college would not mean massive degreed workforce. Enrollment would probably decrease, because students would be even less motivated to attend lectures because they would loose nothing by not going. Good professors would be rare just like good teachers in the “free” public school system.

    Liked by 9 people

  11. First, we should get the government to stop enabling the colleges to charge the ridiculous prices they charge. The inflation rate of college tuition vs the standard economic one is horrendously disproportionate. The fact that college and medical debt, the downward drivers of the economy are the only two kinds of debt bankruptcy cant erase says it all. After that, if we made college free kids would treat it like HS and look how that’s working out? I think no, make it affordable and let those motivated attend. Also, get the HS counselors to stop pushing college as the only answer… mine were VERY anti-trade schools but some of the plumbers out there make more than others with PhD’s that they sold their souls to finance.

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Personally, I don’t think it needs to be free, but it needs to be affordable. For some people that will mean it’s almost free; for others, there will be a cost based on family need. I think a sense of investment on the part of the student is important, so even students who attend “free” might have a work-study requirement. And I don’t think all college needs to be free. State and community colleges are natural choices. Associates and bachelor degrees would make sense where masters levels and up may not. I have no problem with student loans if they have generous terms and the debt is scaled based on livable income. If we want to have a world-class educated citizenry then we need to find a solution to the mounting problem.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. Shawnyce says:

    I agree with many commenters above that college , or at least just community college, should be less expensive. Many of my friends are stuck in debt with low paying jobs trying to “stay above water.” I was lucky enough to be granted the GI Bill after the military, something that I will forever be grateful for. I also don’t believe that it will make higher education less valuable. I say this because I know many veterans who are afforded a “free” education upon exiting the military. Many choose the trade school route in lieu of the traditional university. Some people know that it’s just not for them, and they won’t waste their time.

    Liked by 7 people

  14. Run Wright says:

    I was just having this conversation with someone yesterday. Some tertiary schools should be free, I think. Community college, state college for the residents. But private colleges should continue being private and exclusive. If people want to pay, there should be something to pay for, but the opportunity for higher education, that should definitely be available to all citizens.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Good question. I personally do not think college should be free. Maybe not so expensive. I don’t have the answers, but I just can’t see how the staff, professors, maintaining the overall campus could function if college is free. Student loans are not always the option. My son had a high school friend whose mom spent weeks applying for scholarships which paid for his education. It took a lot of effort and patience. So I don’t know. It would be nice if college was free. I just don’t see how. I’m still in school. I would love it to be free 😀

    Liked by 4 people

  16. sargondorsai says:

    Personally I think that the two year degree should be free, to a certain extent. In order to qualify for free tuition, you have to be working towards a specific degree and if you don’t get it, you have to pay it back.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. For me, I disagree that college should be free. I am currently studying at a public state university here in the Philippines. Our tuition fee is pretty, less expensive(P12.00/unit) But on the other side, that kind of tuition fees that we’re paying for doesn’t provide us to have a good facilities and maintenance. There’s a lack of fund. So that’s why, maybe, free college isn’t good idea.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. Fairen says:

    Not free but certainly at a lower cost. College does not guarentee jobs and for some it is a complete waste of time

    Liked by 6 people

  19. Laura Beth says:

    Thank you for taking the time to post this! I really liked how you organized everything. I’m a big fan of pros vs. cons.

    Here’s my experience – I was able to earn my bachelor’s degree debt-free, thanks to my parents saving an immense amount of money over the years and putting a huge value on education. After I graduated, I decided to get a second degree, an associate’s in Paralegal Studies, through a community college on my own. I’m fortunate that my current employer offers tuition assistance, but for the first three semesters, I paid completely out-of-pocket.

    However, I sympathize with others that rely on financial aid and loans and scholarships. As I’m finishing my degree (two classes left!), the tuition and fees keep rising. Tuition and fees for my ONE class for the fall of 2016 was over $500.00! I’m very fortunate that I do not have to pay any student loans, but I know many people who do. It’s crippling and depressing. My husband was able to pay off his $12,000 loan for his bachelor’s degree within a few years of graduation, but a lot of my friends work full-time, support their parents, struggle to pay their rent, and some have multiple kids in the mix, plus these terrible loans.

    I also wholeheartedly agree with some of the commentators that mentioned trades or vocational schools – Yes, yes, yes! I’m a big fan of Mike Rowe and what he does for the trades and putting good people to work as plumbers, electricians, and so on. Hopefully I’ll be blessed to have a child or children someday, and I want them to explore every option – Community college, a trade, a vocation, the military – Everything out there, before making a tried-and-true decision. I want to help them as much as possible.

    Thank you for sharing!!

    Liked by 6 people

  20. I went to college and got an English degree because I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

    In hindsight, it was probably one of the worst financial decisions I’ve ever made — and probably the worst one I’ll ever make.

    I’m fortunate enough to be a paid writer (not a lot of people who want to say that can say it honestly) — but when I started off, I was only making enough to pay my loans and transportation for getting to work. It was a depressing time, especially when I had to start working nights just to start socking away money for the future.

    Here are my thoughts: Yes, college is stupid expensive, and if you’re not getting a scholarship that pays for all or most of your tuition (especially at a private college), you’re probably making a big mistake.

    I’m lucky enough that some things worked out and I’m now floating on the water instead of drowning, but if I had to do it all again, I probably would try a different route to get where I am now — like freelancing out of high school and getting experience until landing a full-time job.

    Someone else pointed out that some people really have no business being in college straight after high school, and that’s absolutely true. If college is the right path, it’s best to wait and figure out exactly what you’re headed there for.

    Liked by 6 people

  21. 2ndhalfolife says:

    I am 60 and when I went to college in the 70’s it was much more affordable! I lived off campus and was in state, but still, it was within my reach. Today, my kids and others must do backbends to be able to go. It’s crazy. I feel for them all. It only adds to an already stressful experience that should be a wonderful experience. Sure, a college education is a commodity like anything else, but the prices need to become reasonable or yes, even free to kids that need it to be. Maybe we need to trim down the parts of college life that are costing so much, make scholarships easier and more accessible to everyone, create more community colleges and have them be on par to ‘regular’ colleges and finally don’t cut the corners in places like hiring all adjunct teachers/professors. Sometimes they are the best professors and they deserve the benefits that the dinosaurs have that are most likely gobbling up the high salaries.

    Liked by 5 people

  22. Daal says:

    Great debate! I think it should be at least low cost. Where are you located? Here in America, we’re losing jobs to countries where people are better educated. Also, after all that research, what do you think?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Jay Colby says:

      Thank you & yes I’m in U.S. I tend to agree that other countries our more educated and that does add to the unemployment rate. I think that it should be some sort of middle ground where college is not completely free but should not be some expensive where people can go debt for the rest of their lives for a four year degree.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I adore the way you presented the arguments from both sides!
    I am Ethiopian and college is free unless it’s a private college there. As a result, a lot of people are college educated. I think the fact that the American college system is so expensive gives a sense of exclusivity to those who end up getting their degree. But that measured against the growing global demand for bachelors and employment problems, things just don’t balance out. If not free, I think it should at least be very affordable.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. I love how you highlighted the negative and a positive side of this post. In the Philippines, some colleges are free of tuition fee or it has lower tuition fees especially in public colleges, but you still need to pay other fees like books, uniform, projects and other stuff. In a private colleges, you really have to pay everything.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. Curry Jones says:

    Jay,

    First thank you for presenting the pro’s and con’s of whether college education should be free. As an owner of a tutoring company, I push my students (at all grade levels) to pursue a college degree? Why? Time and statistics show that the more education you have, the higher your lifelong income (www.bls.gov). Why should college education not be free? In short, if education is free, it will lose its value.

    Why? Most people put time, energy and effort into things that have a financial value to them; especially of high value like education. As a business owner, I tried an experiment to test the notion of should education or educational services be free. When I publicized and offered 2 free SAT classes (4 sessions per class), I had no attendance and had cancelled the classes. When I had the same SAT class and changed the venue and added a cost, people then assessed that the class had value or merit and then they enrolled.

    Education is like the stock market, you have to do your research (job trends etc) and invest wisely. The payoff is huge.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Jay Colby says:

      Great insight & well said. I tend to agree most people put money and value in how much something coast. The experiment you conducted was an excellent and well thought out. I would argue that is does depend on demographic and economic background. In my experience the more excess you have to money the less you may value free or less or vaule. Thanks for sharing such thought provoking points!

      Like

  26. countryphotogal93 says:

    You make a valid point in this post. If college was free, everyone would be reaching for degrees that are useless and would be struggling to find a job. There would be a lack of education taught by professors and free four years of college would be a waste of time.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. An excellent post. Thank you. Tuition free community colleges and technical schools gets my support.🍁

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Fijay says:

    This is an issue ALLOVER the world just now …it’s the same here in the UK and there are currently student protests going on in South Africa about fee hikes there which will cut out many …mostly black students from being able to continue in education. Can and should a price be put on education? …..a really good food for thought post this one 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Kim Gorman says:

    Community college, at least, is already free for students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds in the form of them being awarded Pell Grants, which do not have to be paid back and usually cover the entire cost of tuition and fees, and then some. College is often free for students from high-socioeconomic backgrounds because their parents can afford to pay for it in full without requiring them to take out loans (but not free for their parents, of course). It’s the middle-class families that get stuck with thousands of dollars of student and Parent PLUS loans because they are too high income to qualify for Pell and other need-based grants, but not high income enough to pay for college outright. This, in my opinion, is where something needs to be done about college affordability. Between taxes (again, not low income enough to avoid paying taxes, not high income enough to avoid paying many taxes thanks to savvy accountants) and paying (debting) for college, our middle class is getting squeezed to the point of extinction. I also feel that people value free things less. We are apt to work harder at something and see it through when we are paying for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jay Colby says:

      You make some great points but I would also add that even Community College does have the opportunity to be free for low-income students. But this is usually not the case for students who choose to go to a four-year institution or university which in most cases have to take out loans to attend. This brings up the question should we encourage graduating seniors from high school to attend a community college rather than a four-year University to save money?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kim Gorman says:

        I started at community college and had my son start at one (I was working at one at the time so he was fortunately able to go tuition free). We both transferred to four-year schools and saved tons of money in the process. Some students think this option is beneath them. Or they feel they worked too hard in high school to settle for a community college, and so make the choice to take out lots of loans to start at a four-year school. I think it depends on the school and the major. The degree matters, but so does the students ability to forge networks and hustle, no matter which school they attend. By the way, I’ve worked in higher education for almost 20 years, at both a community college and a top 20 public institution, so I feel very passionate about this topic. Your post definitely hit a nerve with me and I could go on and on and on, but I’ll spare you and end it here. It’s an important topic, though, and it’s good you brought it up.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jay Colby says:

        Thanks for sharing such informative insight. I always like when people can educate me on topics such as this. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  30. Giulia says:

    Interesting debate. I live in France where college has always been free — or let’s say almost free as the tuition fees are about 300€ per year, and still students from lower social class can enter it for free thanks to a scholarship based on the family’s income. I couldn’t imagine living somewhere where education is way beyond reach. Education should always be free, or so do I believe.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jay Colby says:

      That is an interesting system that y’all have I always wondered if the United States could adopt something similar to make College affordable for students from any economic background. Thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  31. sandeept252 says:

    Like most of the people here, I think colleges should be affordable. That will ensure higher education for many people.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. jameslantern says:

    THATS A BAD PLACE TO BE SON

    Liked by 1 person

  33. erinb9 says:

    I believe it should be free, but much more challenging.

    It’s supposed to be a meritocracy, ferreting out our most talented, hardworking people. When we charge exorbitant rates, it gives an unfair advantage to richer classes, and when we dumb it down, it drops the achievement value.

    So, now we have tons of people shouldering crushing debt for a piece of paper that hardly means anything. I say crank up the difficulty and drop the price.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Very interesting post. I am from Norway where all public education and universites are free. I am sure this is not the case for many countries, Norway is “lucky” because we can use oil fund money to cover education and health care. I love that it is free, it gives everyone the same opportunites and everyone could be a doctor if they really work hard, it doesnt matter if you come from a poor family or not. Norway benefits that people take advantage of education where it create more jobs. The one bad thing is that it is very very competative to get accepted to what you want in, it goes after your grades from high school.

    Vibeke

    Liked by 1 person

  35. kage2015 says:

    Not free but certainly less expensive. All three of my children put themselves through college and never took out any student loans. They didn’t owe a dime when they finished. If you get it free what is the incentive to working and doing a good job.

    Like

  36. The problem with free college is that it is never free. Someone always has to pay, usually the taxpayer. So I’m not in favor.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. I do not think college should be free. I do think the federal government needs to do something about the interest rate on their federally funded student loans. My son pays 8% on one of his. This is nuts when you see what people are paying for other types of loans. Our lawmakers lament over and over about the huge college debt. This is something they could fix but choose to do nothing.
    I do think college should be more affordable but not free. There is no sense of ownership in just being handed something for nothing. Usually a person values something more when they have had to work to get it….human nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Like caendicott stated above, some people should evaluate their choices…however I believe or school systems and parents should be there to help make these options available. You can’t get mad at a Millennial for not knowing options that weren’t necessarily brought to the table when you were teaching them. Tuition shoulf be free, but to get it free si that you don’t blow the opportunity, one should be required to work as an apprentice in their field of work during said time at school. You knock out several objectives at once. Millennials like us get experience and no debt if completed in full, plus we have people who are volunteering and assisting others. Win win.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. There isn’t one right overall answer but my initial feeling is that it means more if you earn it and paying for college by earning a scholarship or making payments or whatever has it’s own lessons like the value of money and shows yourself and your potential employer that you can put in the effort, pay your dues, shows a glimpse of your character, determination, non quitter and all sorts of things. I’m glad I struggled to pay for my own college, it taught me a lot and my education has more value to me than if it had been handed out to me on a silver platter, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

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