Millions of Americans start college with the goal of acquiring knowledge to start their careers. But once they’ve received their diplomas, a great portion of students will have thousands of dollars of debt to go along with that knowledge.
Data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that approximately 14.5 million students are enrolled in American public universities. And as of June 25, those students have added to the total $1.6 trillion student loan debt, according to the Student Debt Crisis Organization.
According to the U.S. Department of Education show that there have been approximately 43 million borrowers who have an average of $33,000 in student loan debt as of Dec. 31, 2018.
Leaving college with thousands of dollars of debt over your head, clouding your future, defeats the purpose of college in the first place. College is supposed to be a headstart on life and provide graduates with opportunities they couldn’t have otherwise had without college.
The idea of free college seems so foreign to Americans, but foreign countries, such as Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway and Turkey, have had tuition free universities for years.
As a nation with great amounts of resources at our disposal, we should put them toward figuring out a way to not have millions of recent graduates starting their lives on the back foot.
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has come forward as a proponent of cancelling all student loan debt and not only making college more affordable, but virtually free. Sanders announced a plan to make all two-year and four-year public and tribal universities tuition and debt-free while also eliminating all $1.6 trillion of student loan debt already accumulated.
Economists have said this plan, and others like it, are not impossible. Sanders’ plan would have “Wall Street footing the bill” by having a 0.5 percent transaction fee on speculative trading.
The removal of college debt would mean that taxpayers will have to cover billions of dollars which would lead to an increase in taxes and result in less money going to other government entities. But overall, the United States economy has flourished in the past from tuition-free college.
When the GI Bill, which provides all US military veterans with tuition-free higher education, was first introduced it leads to the growth of the middle class and recipients of the GI Bill provides billions of dollars of extra tax revenue for the decades following its inception.
The economy would receive an insurmountable boost if tuition-free university were provided to every American and not just a few million.