Free college, a cheaper option?
Free is one of the best words in the English language. Free is also most definitely a college students go to. Free food? Count them in. Free entertainment, movie, concerts and so on? They are on their way.
So why would free college be any different?
As a college student, college at no cost sounds like exactly what we want. Not only is that extra cash in my pockets, but less stress and anxiety and no panicky sweats as I look into four-year universities and student loans putting me in debt before I leave my parents house.
How inexpensive is free really? According to Bernie Sanders proposal, tuition would be costless. Only tuition for some colleges is really the cheapest part of the experience. So therefore, free college could end up costing students anywhere around $10,000.
“But at some colleges, it’s room and board that hits your wallet the hardest,” says CNN Money article, “6 things to know about tuition-free college” written in 2016.
The article also mentions that the $4,000 that would be covered by the proposal would be in the hands of the U.S. and state governments. Basically, higher taxes. Taxes would be the new cost of college. The other $10,000 is still a looming number over students’ heads.
College without tuition costs has already started for some students. Specifically, community colleges in New Jersey. For the state, 13,000 students are on their way to being tuition free says New Jersey 101.5’s article, “For 13,000 in NJ, tuition-free Community College starts this week.”
“Community College Opportunity Grant program pays for whatever tuition and approved educational fees aren’t covered by federal and state need-based aid and merit scholarships,” New Jersey 101.5.
The program in New Jersey helps the handful of students paying out of pocket or dealing with loans. This is the target because of the large number of students already going essentially for no cost after the grant money FAFSA gave them.
Other institution seemingly thriving is University of Michigan. This 2018-2019 school year, Michigan has reported applications from low income students in larger numbers than normal.
The campaign starting the change is, High Achieving Involved Leader and promises students four years of no cost tuition and other college fees. The perk behind this campaign is that the students are guaranteed acceptance instead of only a chance.
“In some cases, the students enrolling at Michigan wouldn’t have gone to college at all had they not had been contacted,” wrote The Atlantic in the article, “A Guarantee of Tuition-Free College Can Have Life-Changing Effects.”
The mysteries behind essentially complimentary college seem to be who is paying and well, who is going to benefit from it. At the end of the day, students who apply for FAFSA do receive aid and grants. Some receive so much they are already going to school for free.
The rest of the students might be drowning in debt and multiple jobs just trying to cover in rapidly increasing interest rates. Maybe taxes increase a little bit, but the extra option given to students figuring out their lives is worth it.
With this proposal, college still will not be completely free and not every student will be accepted in the beginning. They will still have to make decisions on living accomodations and for the most part that is one of the biggest challenges being faced today.