For every American citizen to prosper in the 21st century, they require quality and affordable education beyond high school. A keen look into the past shows that many people earning postsecondary credentials and college degrees are characterized by quality life, higher earnings, and civic engagement. In other words, most people with college degrees are associated with positive outcomes in life (Bartik et al. 1). In the future, almost every job in the US will require a college degree or some level of postsecondary knowledge. Therefore, a college education is essential for the country’s development today and in the future. From this point of view, the country should prioritize “college for all” as its national aspiration. However, several obstacles are preventing the achievement of this goal.
Policy Issue (Free College Education)
The United States of America is characterized by many success stories that have produced positive outcomes for different people and nations. The future and success of the nation depend on these success stories. These success stories emanate from US citizens who acquired free college and postsecondary education in the 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, and 1940s. Several colleges and secondaries were accessible to students in the early decades. Imitating the education system of the 1970s, 60s, 50s, and 40s will help the nation prosper in the future. For example, SUNNY and CUNY, famous higher learning institutions in New York, were free until the 1980s (Bartik et al. 2). Several other universities were accessible to students, including, Community colleges in California, state universities in California, and the University of California. Free education will contribute to the development of different sectors of the economy, including civic health.
My Stance on the Free College Education
A free college education will empower women and minority groups to seek education (Bartik et al. 2). The outcome will be a nation where the population can work hard, advance their careers, afford mortgages, and buy cars. College debt will not be a burden, and the United States will once again lead the world in the number of college graduates. Many people are overburdened by enormous college debts that demean quality education. The stagnant graduation rates, escalating higher learning costs, and the hefty college debt prevent many people from higher learning. We need to bring back the free educational practices of the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
Evidence Contrary to the Free College Education
The path to free college education still appears rough because of counter-arguments about its benefits. Many people will argue that my policy of free college education will not be beneficial to the future society because they believe in the limited positive externalities of higher learning. The primary beneficiaries of college degrees are graduates who attract lucrative jobs. Additionally, there will be arguments that limited external benefits of university degrees will lead to misallocation of public funds through expensive college degrees (Bartik et al. 3). Instead of allocating funds to free college education, many will argue that better returns can be obtained through vocational training and primary education. Some people will consider the opportunity costs of spending the money elsewhere, and others will feel that the benefits of a college education are exaggerated. Others will argue that students value education more when they pay tuition fees. These beliefs and arguments will discourage efforts towards a free college education.
Leaders Who will Help Implement the Free Education Policy
Several leaders have contributed towards the course of a free college education. I would involve leaders like Bernie Senders and Elizabeth Warren in my free college education policy. These leaders have shown efforts towards a free college education policy, and they will be resourceful in implementing my policy. In 2015, Bernie Sanders made a call to make community and public colleges and universities accessible. Elizabeth Warren also opted for the tuition-free public universities bandwagon. I would also have the current US president, Joe Bidden, join my free college education bandwagon since he endorsed the idea of free tuition in 2015 (Bartik et al. 5). I would not have leaders like Pete Buttigieg join my policy since he is opposed to free tuition in public colleges and universities. They instead advocate for the expansion of Pell Grants that would reduce the cost of higher learning to low-income families.
Bartik, Timothy J., et al. “Economic Costs and Benefits of Tuition-Free College in Illinois.” Employment Research Newsletter 28.4 (2021): 2.