Should College Education be Free for Everyone?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Peregrin5, Sep 21, 2014.

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  1. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    No, I don't think that college or trade school should be free for everyone. I believe that we value something more when we have some 'skin in the game.' As a society, it our responsibility to provide students with the tools to prepare them for college and to assure that they have some reasonably affordable alternatives. It is not our job to hand them that college education on a silver platter. I don't see a problem with college students graduating with some debt.
     
  2. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    :yeahthat:
     
  3. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Don't we wish to better educate the population as a whole though? The more intelligent our population is, the more innovators, the more informed voters, and the more advanced our society becomes rather than being mired in backwater ways.

    I personally think education should be free. Yes, we could better educate our students in K-12 to get them closer to being the well-educated ideal that we want from our college grads, but as others have pointed out, we struggle to educate them to the level that we already do.

    Also graduating with "some debt" is a gross understatement.

    This image describes some of the thoughts I personally have on the matter.
    [​IMG]

    As to whether or not it's likely for our government which is crippling debt, and our population which would rather enter rebellion than let another cent of their tax money go to someone in need, that's a whole different matter. It will probably never happen, but I feel it's ideal, and worth the tax money.
     
  4. HorseLover

    HorseLover Comrade

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    Yes, many people graduate with tons of debt, but many people also unnecessarily live on campus or go to out of state colleges "just because." Giving someone a free ride won't make them educated. I met many irresponsible people while in college.
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Tuition alone has inflated ridiculously. Yes there are irresponsible people in every setting and profession. That doesn't mean that they are rule rather than the exception.

    I am curious as to why you think people need to get into ridiculous amounts of debt. For what purpose?
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The closest state school to me was over an hour drive away. Assuming you'd accept that as being a necessary reason to live on-campus, I'd have been looking at approximately $15k a year, between tuition, room and board, books, and other miscellaneous fees. Factor in my parents making too much money to qualify for meaningful financial aid but not enough to actually contribute financially... even assuming a reasonable level of scholarships, conservatively I'd have wound up around $30k in debt.

    I met a lot of irresponsible people in college, too. As a general rule, they were all the people where mom and dad were paying their whole way.
     
  7. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    We do want to educate everyone, but that begs the question as to whether one type of education suits everyone. I do agree that we should try to make higher education of some type accessible to all, but I think that some of that accessibility is the responsibility of the individual. Students create some of their own opportunities through the choices they make during high school. High school effort can, in some cases, translate into very real dollars for college.

    And yes, I do stand by the statement that "some debt" is okay - and not necessarily a gross understatement. I graduated from college with about $6,000 in debt at a time when that exceeded my pay for the year. It took time to pay off my debt - along with my husband's - but we did that by living in a cheap apartment, not eating out, driving used cars, and many other cost-saving measures. It can be done.

    My son took a different route when it came to his college debt. He worked to get scholarships on the front end, and then he worked at college for three years to cover some of his expenses. In his last year, he worked 20 hours per week at an internship and then was hired halfway through his senior year by his current employer. I really do feel that the effort he had to put forth made him value the education he received.
     
  8. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    The debt these days is a lot more that $6,000 for most students.

    I got scholarships, worked three jobs, and went to school full-time, as well as got financial aid, and I still ended up with 13,000 dollars of debt for just my teaching credential. I averaged 4 hours of sleep each day. Before I even entered my credential program, I worked for free at a school to get classroom experience hours, while working full time at a grocery store, and living in a single bedroom with 3 other people, one of whom I had to help take care of because he was an invalid.

    I'm doing other programs to pay it off (APLE and Federal Loan Forgiveness), but not everyone has access to these programs.

    I'm not saying that struggling doesn't teach us important lessons in life, but for some, instead of it being a struggle, it's an outright boundary that can never be crossed, and that leads to yet another generation of being uneducated and in poverty, even for students who work their butts off in school.
     
  9. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Pereguin,

    I don't always agree with you, but I really feel you are right on with this one. We invest over $150,000/student before college and then don't finish the job by making college not affordable for so many students we just paid to educate. I work inner-city and many of my students are lower-middle class. Their parents work hard and just make ends meet. Many have got accepted into higher education, but have chosen not to go when they couldn't get enough financial aid. I also see many of our new teachers so deep in debt and struggling to make ends meet. I have seen good teachers leave because of finances. I think we need to do what we can to bring tuition to lower rates so more can afford it.
     
  10. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    I know that $6000 doesn't seem like a lot today, but keep in mind that was more than a year's pay. We were in debt for several years while paying off that debt.

    Perhaps a solution might come out of the way we guide students toward selecting a college. Sometimes the better alternative - rather than a $45,000-per-year private school or a $25,000-per-year state school - might be to start at a community college for at least gen ed classes. That may not be the 'sexy' alternative, but it could very possibly help to minimize some of that debt.
     
  11. Sugar

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    But who made this decision? And when, and why? We ARE society so we aren't locked in to whatever decisions we made in the past.
     
  12. DrivingPigeon

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    I agree. As I always say, "Someone has to pick up the garbage!" If everyone is going to college, who is going to build my house, pick up my garbage, serve me food in a restaurant, deliver my mail, etc.?
     
  13. otterpop

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    Who? Frustrated college graduates with big loans to pay off.
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Most impoverished students already make use of community colleges and their transfer functions. The majority that go straight to 4 years these days tend to be students who are slightly better off or those with amazing scholarships.

    A large population of community college students are those of lower socio-economic backgrounds. A major stumbling block for many of them is that the going is slow because they need to work full time to support their families and pay their tuition fees and books and can only take one class at a time. It eventually becomes too much to handle at once and college falls off their radar entirely. Or they don't get the aid they need to transfer.
     
  15. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    You really think without debt, they don't have any skin in the game? The reason they're going to school in the first place is because their very lives are "in the game".
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I believe at one time that may have been true, but society is brainwashed into thinking college is the only way to do well. Many kids go because they don't know what else to do or their friends are going. The other reason some go is because they want to have the college "experience".

    There are many reasons other than academic reasons that students, even poor students, choose to go to college that place them in a position that they don't have "skin in the game". It is their lives, but many at that age still don't see the connection.
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I graduated with my bachelor's degree with 0 debt. I did it through scholarships, pell grants, and one semester of paying $400. I worked throughout the entire 4 years I went to school.

    Now, for my master's degree, I am still paying that debt.

    I do agree that there is too big of a focus on every student going to college. That's just not realistic. Not all students want to go to college, not all students need to go to college. The state of Texas is starting to get back to putting a focus on vocational/trade through their new graduation requirements. The district I'm in graduates students who already have jobs because the district works with employers in the community through vocational classes.
     
  18. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I was very fortunate that my mother paid my student loans. Like, changed the log in information, had the bills sent to her house, and refused to take my money. But so many of my teacher friends are still paying student loan debt and we've been teaching over 10 years now. I always had at least two jobs (usually three) the whole time I was in college. I maintained my grades, but it wasn't easy, especially during student teaching. Students shouldn't have to do that just for college to be affordable.

    We have a program in Louisiana that makes college or trade school affordable for high school graduates with strong test scores and good grades. Really, those are the people who should be going to college straight out of high school, anyway...
     
  19. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Hmm, okay. I suppose paying does make a more immediate connection to reality. And certainly if they're going only for the "experience", then that would be a reasonable argument against providing it for free (at least... maybe it would).

    I still see a lot of benefits in providing inexpensive advanced education (whether that's traditional college or some kind of advanced vocational training).

    Menial jobs are gradually going to be fewer and fewer (though it may take a long time), so I wouldn't see "we need manual labor" as a good reason to keep people uneducated.
     
  20. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    There are many jobs that now "require" a college education that really don't need a college educated person to do. One example is an administrative assistant. Exactly why does someone need a college degree to do that job? In many businesses it is now required.

    People have k-12 education. Are you saying that all people coming out of high school with a diploma are uneducated if they don't get further education? If so, we have a real problem with our k-12 schools that goes beyond what a college degree or other post secondary education can remedy. People should be coming out of K-12 workforce ready with reading, writing, and math skills at a level where they can enter the workforce in many positions without a college degree. Soon one will need a bachelor's degree to be a barista since there are many barista's that have them because their degrees are virtually useless. There are many jobs out there that don't really need a college degree, just mastery of basic skills.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I agree. I think a part of it is that businesses are requiring these degrees for no good reason, and part of it is that our k-12 students really are unprepared for outside work.

    Some are more than prepared, but with the grade inflation and graduation inflation that we constantly put out in the K-12 levels, especially since k-12 is required for everyone, has led businesses to not trust the level of education of High School graduates. We're too afraid to fail students or take away their diploma when they don't earn it.

    They trust college degrees a little bit more, because yes, they do require that certain basic skills are mastered (typing, writing, reading), but also because many college grads generally come from backgrounds where they are brought up well since they are from wealthier families. But the same thing is now happening in colleges with inflation. I fear your prediction may come true.

    To be clear, I don't think of this as a problem of the availability of baccalaureates, but more as a problem of quality assurance of college and high school grads.
     
  22. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Uh, sure.... and do I think the barista and the administrative assistant should have an opportunity to advance into other careers? Yes. Yes I do. So I think college should be available to them.
     
  23. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I have a major problem with my tax dollars going to pay for a free college education for someone to be a barista at Starbucks. I have a problem with my tax dollars going to pay for someone to become an administrative assistant because the job now requires a bachelor's degree because there is a glut of adults with degrees and no job match for them.

    There are jobs that a college degree is absolutely needed and some for which a college degree is very beneficial, but many jobs don't require that level of education to perform.

    I wasn't talking about an administrative assistant that wants to switch careers or a small percentage that take the job on a temporary basis. I was talking about the fact that a college degree is now required for many administrative assistants which does not need skills learned in college to do the job. It is ridiculous for someone or the government to have to pay at minimum 40K to educate someone to do a job that the K-12 education system has already claimed to have provided the right skills.

    There are now law firms requiring clerks to have college degrees to file papers because there are so many people out there with degrees who can't find jobs. These people are getting paid slightly over minimum wage to do a job that 10 years ago didn't require a college degree. The job hasn't changed, just the number of people with college degrees without jobs.

    So, free college for everyone. No way. I don't want to pay for that. Also, an employer isn't going to hire someone who has had a job for 10 years out of their major in a position such as a barista or administrative assistant when new college grads are coming out with more recent knowledge.
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

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    Blaming universities because businesses are using possession of a college degree in screening for hires misses the point.

    Decreeing that the barista by virtue of being a barista is undeserving of higher education misses the point even more: what if the job is covering the living expenses (and, for the more fortunate, decent health benefits) while the barista is writing novels, composing classical music, starting a consulting business, inventing the next big thing in little electric batteries, moonlighting while awaiting a call as a minister, part-timing in community colleges as an English professor, or any of dozens other occupations that happen not to be remunerative right now, or at all?

    In fact, that attitude makes the unfortunate error of assuming that what really matters about a college degree in field X is whether one can find a job in field X and how much that job pays.
     
  25. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    If a college education is considered a way to promote the creation of the lifelong learner, then I am all in favor of everyone attending college if that is their desire. Are there ways to learn without going to college? Probably. Is there a boost for morale and self esteem from attending college? I believe so. Do you necessarily have to graduate from college to benefit? Probably not.
     
  26. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Remember when higher education was actually about getting an education rather than a piece of paper that means you can be employed?
     
  27. El sol

    El sol Rookie

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    If would be a slightly different yes for different countries, if not, states. There would just be too many conditions attached politically to make such moves. In the US, for example, where citizens seem obsessed with where their tax money is going while most of the it is going into military/wars, it will be a fool's game. The discussion itself will never lead anywhere.

    In other countries, similar scenarios would arise. But, in an ideal world, higher education should be free but will never be when we have many people who fail to see the bigger picture.
     
  28. GTB4GT

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    imo, it's because we have diluted the value of a HS education in the last several decades. everyone gets a diploma these days. so a college bachelor's degree is the educational equivalent of a HS degree 40 or 50 years ago.
     
  29. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Going to have to agree to disagree here. Just thinking about the difference between New York then and now, the math and science requirements are both much higher today than they were in 1970. Or... at least the requirements to graduate in 2002 were higher than in 1970. It's always possible the requirements have been lessened since then.
     
  30. teacherguy111

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    In England where I grew up… We have university payed for (loaned) by the government. We then pay it back only when we earn a certain amount. The amount is a pretty good quality full time job.

    I like this system as I know how the american system works…. 6 months after you graduate you get the first bill.

    I am not sure how the system england does affects the economy etc. But at least on an individual basis it works well.
    My sister said that she will only pay about 50 pounds a month. Then after 20 years I think it is forgiven. The money is taken out at source.
     
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