The Eagle Dispatch

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The Eagle Dispatch

The Eagle Dispatch

The Cost of Free Education

Created by: Landon Skeens
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

With rising inflation the price of college tuition is gaining a new high. Within the previous two decades the cost of post-secondary education has risen by 62%. ( According to an article written by Melanie Hanson, of the Education Initiative, “the average cost of attendance for a student living on campus at a public 4-year in-state institution is $26,027 per year or $104,108 over 4 years” (Hanson, para.1/2). In rural areas, such as Beckley, West Virginia, this presents a challenge. With only a $29,000 average income and 317,000 families on food stamps extra expenses are not an option for mountaineers.  Scholarships, grants, finical aide all become critical for high school students looking to expand their knowledge. However, even with these benefits pupils suffer crippling debt. Noticing this, countries such as, Finland, Germany, France, and Greece have wavered the price of college and associated costs. Known as the greatest country in the world, the United States of America has not followed this idealism.

According to the Association of Public and Land Grants, an uprising of 87% in annual salary is present in those who have higher education. Based on this data one could conclude that free education could cause a great incline towards an improved economy. Statically the average annual income would rise, declining the population of those on government assistance. The new taxpayers would be able to support better road conditions, fund programs such as disability, and pay toward state workers salaries. Additionally, individuals who took advantage of national school fee waving fees and therefore earning a higher income could better support their family’s health.

Contrasting these positive attributes universities would lose the ability of selectively, professors and resources would  become funded through state departments, taxes could obtain new peaks, and student populations would overcrowd the campus. This has been demonstrated through european colleges participating in subsidized post secondary education. Currently France’s economics distribute a 50% higher tax rate than that of the USA. These increased taxes support the salary of educators, help with purchasing equipment, and covers associated costs. Adding to the opposing argument of free tuition is best, the American Institute of Economics conducted research to reflect a phycological effect. “[…] people usually don’t put as much care or effort into things they get for free as they do with things they are paying for. When it comes to college studies, those with a monetary stake in them will predictably bear down much more than will those who are paying nothing from their own pockets. Over the decades, we have seen a sharp decline in the number of hours college students put into their coursework and it’s easy to imagine a further decline in effort by students if they are attending college for free.” When attending a free of a charge college, students depreciated the value and energy spent on post-secondary education. In turn, they demonstrated poorly in terms of academics, not graduating within time-demoting the university.

Currently testing scores for the SAT (Scholastic Academic Test) and ACT (America College Testing) along with grade point average are determining factors when selecting who is accepted to college. If free admission takes places standards for these test results would have to decline. Since government buildings are considered public, segregation of intelligence, character, and legacy could not be permitted if state funding accorded to post-secondary education. The pressure of specified studies would be available to the population. An unknown philosopher defines this pressure as a privilege, not a right. College should be brought to only those who have the capacity to excel in academically challenges. Free education would promote an idealism that university is for everyone, opposing common beliefs. Additionally, technical jobs such as plumbers, electricians, mechanics, HVAC (heating ventilation air conditioning) repair, would become unfulfilled, causing a high demand with even higher costs.

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The issue of rising college costs in the US is complex, with no easy solution. While tuition-free education may seem like a viable option, there are potential drawbacks that need to be carefully considered. It is important for policymakers to find a balance between making higher education accessible to all students while also maintaining high academic standards and ensuring a skilled workforce for the future. Collaboration between government, educational institutions, and other stakeholders will be crucial in addressing this challenge and finding sustainable solutions for the future.

Sources used:
Hanson, Melanie. “Average Cost of College & Tuition”, November 18, 2023,

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About the Contributor
Landon Skeens
Landon Skeens, Editor-Chief
A current junior at Woodrow Wilson High School, Landon Skeens serves as Editor of the Eagle Dispatch. Throughout his time at the school, he has enjoyed many extracurriculars: drama club, theatre, newspaper, band, and chorus. However, the arts have always remained a constant in his life. During moments of freedom, Landon can be found reading psychological thrillers or classic works of literature. If you ever need to find him, don't worry just look for an iced coffee-filled Stanley. "Writing is tremendously important to me. It is not only an expression of myself but a physical manifestation of years of work, slowly improving my craft. The written has much power, influencing the reader’s perspective of topics.”
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