Should College Be Free?
President Obama wants to give Americans two
free years of community college, in part to help boost the economy. Critics argue that
the country is already in a huge amount of debt and can’t afford such a program. They also
question the effect that this plan will have on the economy. So, what value does this program
really offer and how important is it to make education free? According to the White House, higher education
is the best way to climb the socio-economic ladder. They see education as a way for low
income students to break into the middle class and they see growing the middle class as a way
to fix our economy. A White House report states, “The benefits of postsecondary education
are well documented and have major implications for economic growth, equality and social mobility.”
A fact that many studies on both sides of the aisle corroborate, including reports by
the left leaning Economic Policy Institute, the centrist Brookings Institute, and the more conservative
Heritage Foundation. However, it’s important to note that the
education-economy relationship has been extensively studied for decades, and no consensus has
yet been reached. Studies in the early 2000s assert that factors other than increased education,
may be more beneficial to economic growth, factors like improved personal health and inherited
riches. So there is some cause for more study. Supposing the White House is right and the
U.S. economy will benefit from having more college grads — Why make higher education
free? Well, Obama wants to lower our nations average student debt, so that college grads
have more spending power, which will naturally put more money directly into the economy.
And there is some evidence that a free or low cost college system could work. Thriving countries
like Germany, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, have already adopted similar systems that
offer free or low cost higher education. In those places, GDP is high and unemployment rates
are low. So, if the U.S. wanted a model to base a new system off of, there are available options. On the other hand, the world’s most expensive
universities in America and the UK dominate the top ten spots on world university rankings.
So, there’s something to be said for both the free educational system and a costly private one. Even without Obama’s proposed legislation,
it’s worthwhile in the long-run, to get a college degree. Higher levels of education correspond
to improved health, a longer lifespan, higher rates of pay, and lower rates of unemployment.
Children of the highly educated also experience benefits of greater health, cognitive abilities,
academic achievement, and lower chances of poverty as an adult. To learn more about the state of higher education
in the US, watch this video about “What Happens If You Don’t Pay Off Your Student
Loan Debt”. Thanks for watching, and subscribe to support TestTube Daily.