Staff Editorial: Why Free College Isn’t Viable

Rambler Staff

Every election, countless politicians campaign off of free college for everyone. To those who are going through that situation, particularly the millennial and post-millennial generations, many of them jump to it and cheer for free college without realizing the catastrophic economic consequences. We believe free college is not viable.

In terms of basic economics, nothing is free. Like if you’re getting a buy one get one free deal the store has to accommodate that by raising the price of something else. If suddenly all public colleges in the country were mandated free and all tuition was paid off, it may seem free, but in reality, everyone would have to pay for it through taxes or other means. And this wouldn’t just be a small 1-2% tax increase, it would be an immense increase of 10% or more to everybody’s taxes. If colleges don’t have any money to pay back to the government, the government loses a lot of its income, and thus taxes have to be raised. Exponentially increasing our enormous national debt. But, this isn’t the only reason.

When students go off to universities, they often have to very particularly pick what classes to take to get their money’s worth. If college is now free, this devalues the nature of a college experience, and a lot of classes are no longer worth it if you aren’t paying for it. Not only does this devalue what classes students take, but this also devalues the worth of a college degree. If everyone is educated, this makes it harder for businesses to choose a candidate. If anything, the free college will increase unemployment rates and/or homelessness in a counter effect that hurts everyone. It doesn’t just hurt the people, but the colleges too.

Colleges make millions of dollars a year. College tuition certainly isn’t cheap, and many fail to realize that colleges are a business, and it is expensive. If colleges are no longer making their money from students, they will financially struggle. They will get financial assistance from the government like public high schools, but if hundreds of colleges are requesting hundreds of millions of dollars because of their lack of student income, colleges will go bankrupt. This has an inverse effect of going back and hurting the students too because dozens of colleges will shut down due to financial troubles and bankruptcy.

Despite the immediate relief of having free college, sit down and think about the real effects it would have on every way of life. It will come back and bite everything because of its indirect effects on everything from taxes to devaluing of a degree, to hurting the colleges themselves. Tuition is expensive and in many cases, ridiculous, but there are more viable means of lowering tuition than eliminating college costs altogether. Free college isn’t free.

Staff Vote: 8 yes, 1 no, 1 was unavailable.