Millennials are the most educated generation ever, despite the incredible cost of attending college in the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, about 40% of Millennials between the ages of 25 and 37 have at least a bachelor’s degree - while 25% of baby boomers and 30% of Gen Xers had the same level degree at the same age. As time goes on, it seems that higher-education degrees are decreasing in value, while increasing in cost.
Around the world, countries have found solutions to offer their citizens free education. In France, Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden, college tuition is free for all national students, but here in the United States, we exist, above all, in a capitalist structure that overflows into our medical and educational systems. As early as pre-school, there is a public-private school tug-of-war that parents play when choosing school options for their children. The public school system is often looked down upon, and the mindset in the U.S. is: the more you pay, the better quality you get.
The average amount of student loan debt for a 2016 college graduate is $37,172. Instead of offering every American citizen, a piece of the educational pie, only those born into financially stable households can consider going to college. This is something Bernie Sanders wants to fix with his plan for free education – a socialist idea that terrifies many politicians and billionaires in high power. Free education is a dream for the progressive: the people who believe in equity and innovation instead of historical wealth and reputation. Currently, our world is in dire need of innovators as we are up against global warming. Without all hands on deck, it is predicted that our largest global cities may become unbearable by 2050. In this light, perhaps we need free education. We need all kinds of minds to figure out a way to save the earth and save ourselves.
If America moves to tuition-free college policy, taxes, unanimously, will rise. In a study done of all 35 OCEG countries in 2014, the United States paid the 4th lowest amount of taxes. Countries that offer free healthcare and free education including Denmark, France, and Finland, are in the top four of those tax paying countries. Eliminating cost for U.S. college education would also change the definition of what a good education is, and in turn, would reconfigure our entire job market. Private schools running on endowments and tuition, in theory, would die out. The United States as a reputation-centric country: a country that views names like MIT and Columbia as the upper echelon of success would change entirely. This free education framework would mix up the pool of opportunities, and more people would go to college, equaling an even more competitive job market. If the United States adopts free education, it could fall from grace as the best place in the world to get an education, and with the number of adults over 50 still working, we could see a rise in unemployment rates. Or, the U.S. could rise as one of the greatest educational powerhouses in the world, promoting equal opportunity, collaboration, and stability. What do you think?
Salisbury, Ian; “This Chart Shows How Much Americans Pay in Taxes vs. The Rest of the World”, http://money.com/money/4862673/us-tax-burden-vs-oecd-countries/ 2017/07/19
Anderson, Ellen; “The Pros and Cons of Tuition-Free College”, https://www.collegeraptor.com/find-colleges/articles/affordability-college-cost/pros-constuition-free-college/ , 2019/10/11
Johnson, Holly; “How Much the Average American Pays in Interest Every Year” https://www.thesimpledollar.com/loans/blog/heres-how-much-the-average-american-pays-ininterest-each-year/, 2019/10/29
Adamy, Janet; Overburg, Paul; Millennials Approach Middle Age in Crisis https://www.wsj.com/articles/playing-catch-up-in-the-game-of-life-millennials-approachmiddle-age-in-crisis-11558290908, 2019/05/19
Hess, Abigail, “Here’s How Much the Average Student Loan Borrower Owes When They Graduate” https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/20/how-much-the-average-student-loanborrower-owes-when-they-graduate.html, 2019/05/20