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How to Reduce Tuition Rates

Over the past few election cycles, we have heard a slogan, a rallying cry for the youth and Left. Cries to “Abolish Student Loans” and for “College for All” can be heard all the way from the 2016 presidential election when Senator Bernie Sanders first entered the Democratic Primaries. This slogan has been a frequent focus of attack by the Right. Many top Republicans have ridiculed such policies, equating them to the underlying philosophy of laziness and entitlement that pervades the Left. 


But the truth is that the Left does have a point. College tuition has dramatically risen over the past few decades, and the need for higher education has risen right alongside it. Now a bachelor’s degree is no longer as meaningful as it once was, as now only thirty-five percent of students get a job that actually relates to their degree, all while degree prices increase exponentially.


Still, making college free would be a travesty. Not because the price tag associated with this policy would be $80 billion to $800 billion, but because most of the costs associated with college are nonsense. 


Professors sell books for hundreds of dollars each. There’s no-stop construction and remodeling of campus buildings. Diversity quotas end up costing the college millions in discrimination suits. Unpopular courses like basket weaving or gender studies have to be subsidized by students who aren’t even enrolled. A bloated administrative bureaucracy adds costs. All of these structures would be funded by taxpayers if tuition was paid for by the state. 


The solution is very clear. We must cut out all the redundancies. This way students can afford college without burdening society with the unnecessary expenses listed above. But cutting things out is not the only thing we can do.


We can expand the number of students who go to the armed forces and vocational schools. Both are very cheap or even free options for higher learning that provide good-paying jobs after completion. Also, every high school in the nation should provide and push AP courses to its students so that students can earn and then transfer college credits to save money and time. 


We also need to create an economy where secondary education can still ensure one’s place in society. This could be done via high school internship programs or apprenticeships. We can also work to bring back entry-level blue-collar jobs, which have a low bar to entry but with good pay. Think construction workers, police officers, longshoremen, truckers, factory workers, etc. This type of work is necessary given our abysmal infrastructure, but more importantly, they’re necessary for those who simply can not get or do not want a white-collar job that requires years of education. 


At the end of the day, a lot of the issues in the economy and market are caused by underlying economic factors and trends. Therefore the state should focus more on tinkering with those underlying factors instead of making things free or cheaper. 


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author. 


Sources:

“What Is Free College and How Much Would It Cost?” Peter G. Peterson Foundation, www.pgpf.org/blog/2022/06/what-is-free-college-and-how-much-would-it-cost. Accessed 14 Aug. 2023.

Wong, Alia. “Ahead of Supreme Court Affirmative Action Case Ruling: Do Harvard, UNC Discriminate?” USA Today, 20 June 2023, www.usatoday.com/story/news/education/2023/06/20/harvard-unc-affirmative-action-case-claims-investigated/70329657007/.

“Why Is College so Expensive?” The Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/business/cost-of-higher-education/. Accessed 14 Aug. 2023.

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