College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967

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Free tuition is terrible

Why New York’s free tuition program is short sighted

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Students can only stand to laugh with self-deprecation as the prospect of paying off their mountainous amounts of debt stares them dead in the eyes. Based on statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, from 1984 to 2014 college tuition prices have risen on average by 260%. This staggering figure forces us to beg the obvious question: why have prices risen on a practically exponential scale?

Many people believe that colleges are overcharging students due to the evils of capitalism. These colleges have become just like a corporation, and must be broken down like a Bernie Sanders wet dream. At least with public colleges and universities, people who ascribe to this camp want all public college’s tuition to be completely free for everyone, and have the government subsidize the tuition instead of it burdening student’s wallets.

The state of New York recently passed a new program which gives students in certain financial brackets the freedom to go to any state New York school for completely free. These students must be full time, and after graduation they must reside in the state for at least two to four years under the state’s discretion. Families who make under $100,00 will be the first who see this benefit, then the year after the cap will increase to $110,000, and in 2019 the cap will solidify at $125,000.

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has been working with state’s legislators in order to create a budget which could sustain such a blunt hit to government spending. There are an estimated one million families who are eligible under the first financial bracket, and there will be about 200,000 current students who will have this paradigm benefit their wallets.

Cuomo and his legislators estimated that this plan would cost the state, at a conservative figure, $163 million in the first year of this program. On top of that, they added another $19 million towards assistance grants for students who choose to go to a private school.  Students who choose this route will receive a maximum of $3,000, which is barely scratching the surface of their piling debts from a private institution’s tuition rates.

Who will pay this extra $182 million dollars? The taxpayers, of course. Who else would be able to provide these funds? The main way the government makes their money is through taxing people until they die and pass on the fruits of their activism to their children, and from their children to their children. So on and so forth.

Is taxing the people of New York a solution to rising costs of college tuition? With the rise in government subsidized loans, there has been a large increase to the cost of tuition. Due to the rise in demand of a high education via the influx of student populations pouring into them, colleges raised their costs to meet both demand and to run their colleges as they are supposed to be run: like businesses.

Should colleges be run like a business? Shouldn’t higher education be all about focusing on the students and not about killing their future financial life as they run head first towards grad school in any STEM or social science of their liking?

Most people would say no, that colleges should not be run like a business. It kills the entire idea of having education be available for all who wish to expand their state of mind. However, most forget the number of postcards, emails and miscellaneous college advertisements they see in their everyday lives.

Colleges are competing for student populations, and due to that they must run like a business. They must compete with other universities for student populations, as well they must provide a good price point for their cost over education versus others in their same bracket.

Schools with higher demand for acceptance will raise their tuition costs in order to meet with demand. That’s a large reason as to why Northern Illinois University, with around a 15,000-student population and in the middle of farm-town America, cost less to go to than the more appealing in both education and location University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, which has around a 30,000-student populous.

With the almost guaranteed increase in demand of a higher education in the state of New York due to this new program, prices are bound to increase at a staggering rate over the next decade. Students who do not fall under this $100,000 bracket will be paying higher prices due to universities needing to charge all students evenly, whether under or above the family budgetary threshold. Students over the $100,000 cap will see an almost immediate bump with the rise in student population over the coming years.

American Colleges cannot run for free under the guise of wanting to be more like Europe. We cannot fixate public college’s price points at an artificial level. By doing that, we would be undercutting the quality of education the student receives via artificial deflation of tuition.

Higher education in the U.S. does not need any more government assistance to help lower income individuals earn a degree. What we need are real world solutions to the cost of tuition that aren’t as short sighted and obviously politically aimed at public admiration as the front led by Governor Cuomo.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Free tuition is terrible”

  1. Newt on April 28th, 2017 12:59 pm

    This article would make sense if a college education wasn’t priced as a luxury while valued as a necessity.

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College of DuPage's student newspaper | Est. 1967
Free tuition is terrible