Why College Tuition Should Be Free

Why College Tuition Should Be Free

No, it has nothing to do with me being a millennial.
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Yes, I am a millennial. No, I'm not entitled. Yes, I believe that college should be free. Just hear me out.

By making college free, people who couldn't afford to go to college would be able to go. If you are able to succeed and pass classes in college, then you should be allowed to do just that regardless of how much money you and your family currently make. It's as simple as investing in our futures; what could be so bad about a well-educated country? Nothing!

If college graduates no longer had to pay off their student loans after graduating, they would be able to contribute more money to the economy. Free college has succeeded in Germany, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, Slovenia, and Norway. Our nation's student loan debt has exceeded $1.2 trillion, a debt that well surpasses credit card and mortgage debt. Another thing is that college tuition would be free for people who can't easily afford it. Families above a certain annual income would still be required to pay for tuition.

Students would be able to focus more on school and wouldn't have to figure out where to get the money for their next semester of college. The only cost would be room and board, which would be much more manageable. Students who don't get funding from the government or whose parents can't afford to cosign their loans would still be able to attend college. It is a matter of fairness and equality. If we want the best and smartest people to succeed, then what is known as "the great equalizer" should be more accessible.

If the government and tax payers were to pay for public universities and colleges, there would be more inspection into where tuition money is going. Universities wouldn't be allowed to run their institutions like a business. Less money would be spent on unnecessary items such as increases in the president of the college's salary, increases in athletic funding, among other things.

Now to address two of the biggest complaints I hear from people who disagree. The first is that "college students should have a stake in their college education." The government would have expectations of all students that plan on attending college. If they want the government to pay for it, they would have to maintain a certain GPA to remain eligible for this benefit. They would also be expected to graduate within the normal time frame--four years. This makes students just as invested in their education.

The second of the two biggest complaints I hear is: "'Free college' isn't actually free, it still needs to be paid for. Where is that money going to come from?" Our country spends more than $601 billion on the military, which is more than the next seven highest spending countries combined! The U.S. could pay for the tuition by lowering the military's budget by $47 billion, and the remaining $23 billion would be paid by the states.

Overall, making college tuition free for those whose family make under a set amount of money per year would open up the "great equalizer" to those who can't afford it by making it more accessible. College students would be able to contribute more to the economy, and our national college debt would be much lower. My view has nothing to do with being a millennial. I am not entitled; I believe that anybody who can succeed in college should be able to go. Money should not be a limiting factor when it comes to obtaining a college degree.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

SEE ALSO: To My Closeted Self, I Have Something To Tell You

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. (Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.)

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town. Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community. I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK. What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives. What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all. Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back; same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others. As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being. My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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I Am Proud To Stand #NewnanStrong

This past weekend's events brought our community together, and this surge of support should make our citizens proud.
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In my 19 years of living in the Newnan community, our small town has always been quiet and fairly innocuous. Aside from the rush hour traffic on Bullsboro and the depressingly early time that the downtown square shuts down on Sundays, there has never been much conflict or turmoil in our little corner of Georgia. Therefore, when news broke of the National Socialist Movement, a white nationalist group, obtaining a permit to rally in Greenville Street Park, citizens in Newnan and neighboring cities were shocked.

As the April 21 rally drew near, I was overwhelmed by the response from the community, as those opposed to the group’s message banded together in support of love and equality - directly targeting the Neo-Nazi movement and their ideals. As downtown businesses braced for the possible violence that the day would bring, most business owners opted to close their shops for the afternoon, to stay at home or to protest the rally.

The citizens of Newnan refused to let the rally to dismantle their way of life, and declared that the Friday before the rally should be a community day - hundreds gathered to support their local economy, and help local businesses earn some of the revenue that would be lost due to Saturday’s circumstances.

As authorities laid down barricades and braced for the rally and its attendees, locals took to the sidewalks with chalk drawings, sharing messages of love, hope, and compassion. Quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr., notable Bible verses, and trending social media statements were carefully scripted across bricks and benches, tagged with #NewnanStrong.



Thankfully, the day of the rally came and went, with little conflict. The turnout for the National Socialist Movement is reported to have been only a couple dozen - meanwhile, hundreds of Newnan community members showed up, vastly outnumbering the controversial group, and making it clear that their message was unwelcome in our town.

I am astounded by the overwhelming outpour of love and support from all of my Newnan neighbors, and am thrilled to see their message continue to thrive; on social media outlets, many are coordinating to send thank you notes to the authorities and community members that helped coordinate such an effective afternoon of activism, keeping those involved safe, and our beautiful downtown square standing strong.

I hope this atmosphere of unwavering love and support will continue to uphold our community - and based on what I have witnessed not only this weekend but in all my life here in Newnan - I am sure that our city and all of its citizens will continue to stand Newnan Strong.



(photo credits to various Facebook users)

Cover Image Credit: Facebook User

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