If you're a college student right now then you probably have the grand price of tuition on your mind or the fact that you're going to have to pay back loans after you graduate. Debt is so common among college students and I strongly believe that college tuition should be free for public colleges and universities.
College tuition is free in countries like Finland, France, Germany, and Greece, where citizens are able to get the education they want for free. It turns out that Germany eliminated tuition because they believed that making students pay $1300 per year was discouraging Germans from going to college. In fact, according to Edvisors, "About two dozen countries provide free tuition or nearly-free tuition at public colleges and universities to their citizens." Education is such an important part of life and it is a great privilege, but I simply believe that it should be a privilege given to students who really want to learn and obtain a degree.
According to a summary from The Institute for College Access and Success, in 2012, 71% of all students graduating from four-year colleges had student loan debt. That number represents 1.3 million students graduating with debt, which increased greatly from 1.1 million in 2008 and 0.9 million in 2004. The numbers have continued to increase and increase for student loan debt.
In fact, in 2018 Americans owed over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt. This number was about $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt. How is it that student loan debt is higher than both credit cards and auto loans? College is typically a part of everyone's American dream, but instead, it seems to create a nightmare for families and students.
As student loan debt has been increasing, so has college tuition in itself. Overall, the price to live has increased greatly in the past 20 years. According to an article by CNBC, students at public four-year institutions paid an average of $3190 in tuition for the 1987-1988 school year, and that average has risen to $9970 for the 2017-2018 school year. This statistic shows a 213% increase.
Bernie Sanders is trying to play a huge factor in making this social change. His belief system is surrounding the idea of making higher education more affordable for working-class families. One of his quotes says "We need a revolution in the way that the United States funds higher education." He is pushing to make college tuition free and debt free. On his website, Bernie quotes, "It is insane and counter-productive to the best interests of our country and our future, that hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and that millions of others leave school with a mountain of debt that burdens them for decades."
He is emphasizing the fact that so many people want to go to school and learn, but because of the high price tag and the debt that can follow it, many don't and in a way are forced to settle for less. In all honesty, his thinking is the thinking that we need today. The thinking that will help students and create less debt.
According to an article from The New York Times, "We used to be No. 1 in the world, in terms of the percentage of people who graduated from college and universities. Today, we are No. 11…" It's sad to see how that has changed and how it has been having a real effect on people. This debt among college students and their families can indeed create problems and even mental health issues, such as depression, as many studies have shown.
According to a report on Student Loan Hero, in a survey of more than 1000 student loan borrowers in which they dug deep on the psychological effects of student loan debt, more than 70% reported suffering from headaches due to the stress of it. The truth is that you will be worrying about paying back your student loan debt because it never goes away. Even right now it is accumulating interest, and if you do file for bankruptcy, it still doesn't go away. It may take you time to pay, or it may take no time to pay, but overall, you will have to pay it back.
College tuition should start being free or at least cut down a bit because one way or another, college education is a right.