‘Free College’ Isn’t Free, And That's Not The Only Reason To Oppose It
Politics and Activism

Fact Is, 'Free College' Isn't Free, And It Would Do More Harm Than Good

It's not what you think.


If you don't live under a rock, you're probably familiar with calls for tuition-free college, specifically from 2016 and now 2020 presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. This notion of "free college" is severely misunderstood.

What is the cost of 'free college?'

Chart from National Center for Education Statistics representing the number of students enrolled in public, four-year universities


As you can see from this chart, there were 10,574,547 students enrolled in public, four-year universities during the 2016-2017 school year. According to Student Debt Relief, using data from College Board, in-state students pay $20,770, including room and board, along with other fees. Additionally, out of state students pay $36,420, also including room and board, and other fees. These numbers are estimated averages for the year 2018.

The number from our chart, 10,574,547, is representative of the 2016-2017 school year, while our tuition cost averages are from 2018. While we proceed to formulate our cost estimate, we will have to understand that this is not entirely indicative of the price, only an estimate, and will probably end up being smaller than the actual number.

According to the Washington Post, 72% of college attendees remain in-state. We will be using this number in making our calculation.

It is important to understand, in making this calculation we are using only public, four-year university students, a subset of all university students. My estimated cost of college education for this number of students at this type of university per year is $265,971,006,144. Let me state that this is per year, and according to Student Debt Relief, the cost of public universities is increasing yearly at an average rate of 3.2%.

Also, we must assume that with the institution of so-called 'free-college' there will be an influx of students enrolling in public, four-year universities.

With this in mind, it is fair to assume that the cost would be significantly more than my estimate.

Who's going to pay?

The American tax-payer, of course. Bernie and his cohorts will tell you that the greedy, evil corporations, taxed at a high rate will fund it, but that's just not the case.

Watch the video above. In Sweden, for example, there is federally subsidized, tuition-free college. Contrary to what you may think, the taxes in a country like Sweden squeeze the poor and not the rich. Why is this?

The poor are loyal taxpayers, the wealthy are not.

Not only are big businesses crucial to a healthy economy, but there aren't enough of them to allow for a substantially lower tax rate for the poor.

Instead of our poor having a financial strain lifted in the form of free college, they will receive an undue financial burden. The poor will suffer more, and the middle class will become smaller.

What happens to vocational education?

There has been an existing shortage of skilled workers in the United States, specifically welders, electricians, machinists, and things of the like. With the Institution of tuition-free college, this problem will loom much larger.

According to Career Profiles, "Right now, 53% of skilled trades workers are over the age of 45." These skilled workers also tend to retire earlier because of the physical demands of these jobs. Young people are not joining these careers at the same rate that older skilled workers are having to retire.

Why aren't young people becoming skilled workers? According to a Forbes article discussing this shortage, "American high schools have largely shifted their focus to preparing students for four-year colleges rather than vocational school." More and more students attending university drives costs up and simultaneously drives student debt up. According to the NPR radio program "All Things Considered," "While a shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades, the financial return from a bachelor's degree is softening, even as the price — and the average debt into which it plunges students — keeps going up." There is less to be gained now than ever before, from a college degree.

As more and more people choose university, the value of a degree will continue to deteriorate. With the institution of tuition-free college, more students will be enrolled in public colleges than ever. Degree values will plummet. Schools will be forced to drive costs up to provide ample space and resources to students. The quality of university education will decrease significantly. We will experience an even more severe shortage of skilled workers.

The absence of skilled workers means the detriment of homes, buildings, and infrastructure across the country.

Final Thoughts.

As you can see, not only will tuition-free college come at a cost, it will come at a cost to the poor. Other notable effects are the significant decrease in quality of public universities, and the even further demise of the American skilled workforce.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

13 Father's Day Shirts Under $30 To Gift The Dad Wearing The Same Two Every Day In Quarantine

You've been begging him to change it up, and now he won't have a choice.

Let's be honest: most of our dads are wearing the same shirts today that they probably wore while changing our diapers and holding our hands as we learned to walk. Sure, we love them for it. But whether you're quarantined with him wearing the same two shirts on rotation every week, or every time you FaceTime him, you know what he'll be wearing before he answers the phone, he needs to add some new items to his wardrobe rotation.

And you know dads — they'll feel guilted into using practically anything you were to give them. But these shirts are sure-fire ways to get him to switch up his wardrobe, and he'll be more than excited to wear each and every one of them. Plus, most of them are under twenty dollars, so no harm in dropping more than a couple in to your cart and letting Dad have his pick of his favorites.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Hollis Tuttle To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less

My Boyfriend Has Changed Since Quarantine Began, And I Don't Know What To Do

"All he says is 'I love you,' which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Dear Swoonie B,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year, which has been the best year of my life (as far as i know). Well we go to different schools and are both very involved in sports and school activities which makes it hard to see each other. During this quarantine it is especially hard. Since we haven't seen each other in over a week things are kind of tense. He won't really talk to me much and I always check in on him to make sure he is doing well and to just see how he is, ya know being a girlfriend. Well apparently that is driving him crazy and I don't understand how. I'm not being controling or clingy, i'm just checking in on him. While this is happening, I also have noticed how he just doesn't really care anymore. I'll leave him paragraphs of sweet love letters to wake up to and I encourage him throughout his day but I just don't get it in return. I love him with all of me and I obviously care about him a lot. Also, I've compared how he talked to me before all of this has happened. He was so sweet and caring, texting me a lot and telling me he loves me and just making sure everything is OK but he doesn't do that anymore. All he says is "I love you," which is great and all but OMG I can't get anything else out of him. He is a little stressed at home with trying to find another job to pay for his car, constantly having to do things for his mom, being responsible for his siblings, and managing school. I know thats a lot but im doing a lot too right now and going through a lot of the same stuff he is but It seems to me he just does not care and i don't know what to do. Please help me or give me some advice on what to say, what not to say, what to do, what not to do. Anything at this point will help. Thank you!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "these are unprecedented times," I'd be rich. But that's because it's true!

Keep Reading... Show less
Tower 28

On paper, Amy Liu appears to be one of the most intimidating women in the beauty business. Not only did she launch her beauty marketing career at legendary Smashbox Cosmetics, she went on to lead luxury, high-end brands like Kate Somerville and Josie Maran — just to name a few.

But sitting down to meet Liu for the first time in an underground New York bar over a year ago felt like meeting a friend I'd known since childhood. As she walked into the bar in a chic red dress, it was impossible not to feel her immediate warm presence. When she talks about her history as an entrepreneur (and truly, at heart, she always was one), you don't get the sense that she's selling you anything, though with her impeccable taste, I'd use anything that had her glowing review attached to it.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sixth grade was the year that you were allowed to participate in a school sport. This was what my friends and I had all been waiting for since we started middle school. I had already made the cheer team with my friends, but I had to wait to start that in the winter since we cheered for basketball. I really wanted to have some sort of activity in the fall, but I did not know what to do. Somehow, I decided to run cross country. Not really sure how I decided on a sport where it was quite literally just running. A few of my friends were doing it as well, so I knew it was going to be fun.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Working Out Every Day During Quarantine Helps Me Feel A Sense Of Control

Physical activity helps my mental health in a world that feels uncertain.

Before the pandemic, I exercised a handful of times a week at best. In quarantine, I've been exercising every single day. I don't want this article to be another spiel about how exercise "changed my life," and all the other cliches that health gurus use to convince others to work out more. Rather, I want to reveal that exercise is a tool that works for me because it boosts my mental health when I feel like the world is spiraling out of control.

Keep Reading... Show less

To say that 2020 has been a bit of a roller coaster is an extreme understatement. Who knew that this decade was going to start off like THIS!? Not me, not you, and not that sweet old lady who lives down the street. One thing is certain though — while the world may be a mess right now, you can still fuel your body with food that keeps you happy and healthy. Thankfully, as we are all spending more time inside, you can get healthy snacks delivered straight to your front door! Amazon has never been more convenient (and tasty).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments