If college were free, would uninterested people be swayed into going?

If you're like me, student loans are killing you. Seeing the amount of wasteful spending and salary hikes for administrators and presidents the private schools I went to took part in doesn't help either, since it gives me pretty jaded glimpse at what my tuition dollars were actually put towards.
A lot of data out there shows that not only has the government passed the burden of the cost of college onto today's students (pell grant removals and unchecked interest rate changes) but the spending of money on amenities and salaries for presidents and administrators have led to colleges charging even more.
Knowing that college is just not for everyone, if drastic changes led it becoming totally free, do you think people who otherwise would not have attended would have been swaded into giving it a try? Or do you think individuals would still opt out simply because they would rather start working and couldn't wait to leave the classroom in high school? Would it be a drastically different pool of applicants wanting to attend college?

Updates:
I wonder if they initiated a penalty for dropping out. You don't have to pay anything if you graduate on time with at least a C average but if you drop out, then you have to pay. That may help weed out those who were never interested or dedicated, and their money could be used to fund the quality of the programs. I do see a pretty clear pattern in the answers here though.
It's too bad that congress doesn't realize that a bunch of broke 21 year olds makes for a bad economy.

0|0
7|4

Most Helpful Girl

  • As some one who got scholarships, grants, AND loans. I can say that it would make undergraduate life better. However, what I really need if free graduate school.

    The average student debt is 150,000 for the graduate program I have to complete to start my career.

    So, if college was free I wouldn't be a slave of the government for years.

    And I think President Obama is trying to make technical college free for 2 years which would be enough for so many Americans to get an associates degree and open up so many better paying career opportunities. Also, 2 free years could help someone earn half of their bachelor's degree.

    If college was free so many people would be able to better their lives.

    Students wouldn't have to choose between working to pay for school or studying for school.

    I think it's a wonderful idea. It would require change to set up a working system in which students received a free education and teachers were still paid. But it can be done.

    And if college were free, I would be the happiest woman in the world.

    0|0
    0|0

What Girls Said 6

  • It definitely would!

    0|0
    0|0
  • Where i live collage is free. So there are a few people who go right to work, but that is really a small amount of people... because collage is free eceryone attends it, it like normal prodecure (elementary, higschool, collage).. nobody really thinks a lot about it. U go or u dont.

    0|0
    0|0
  • They'd be stupid not to. It's hard to get a good job without an education honestly. And you can't make a living or enjoy any luxuries working a full time minimum wage job.

    0|0
    0|0
  • im sure they would!

    0|0
    0|0
  • I think more people will go to college if it were free and more managable.

    0|0
    0|0
  • Hell yeah! The expense is what's keeping me from finishing.

    0|0
    0|0

What Guys Said 4

  • That's not possible until we get our economic and immigration problem dealt with and reversed. And even then I'm not if it would make that much of a difference I mean half the people are living off of unemployment or disability and not because they have a problem or can't work but because they refuse to get a job and are lazy some are simply to fat to work. It's disgraceful really and I don't free college would really motivate them.

    But you also have to remember our best colleges in the country/world are way to exspensive for the goverment to be paying for it. And just nobody should be allowed to go these colleges as they are reserved for the best and brightest if you want to go to them you have to earn it.

    0|0
    0|0
    • Actually, most people "living" on unemployment had to have had jobs that paid enough to support them before they lost their jobs. I know that in Illinois at least, the department of employment security verifies what happened with current employers, and use various criteria to qualify or disqualify people for benefits.
      That being said, I was on unemployment and I assure you, it does NOT pay enough to live on. Since most employees in this country are working class or lower income, most people don't live on unemployment. Welfare is also a problem, since it isn't properly distributed. People with disabilities often work from home, or must prove that they are so disabled, they can't do anything. That is a cynical republican viewpoint that leads to a lot of very negative views, and in a way, disdain for the working poor.

    • Show All
    • Sadly, there is only so much the government can do to qualify or disqualify people. There are way too many people so they can't monitor what they are and aren't doing in their life. In a perfect world, there would be noone exploiting it, but this world is far from perfect.

    • Can't argue with you there it's a crass world we live in.

  • if they had the time and energy and motivation, i don't see why not :D

    0|0
    0|0
  • Apply now and pay to get rejected!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T24DPU-hkJM

    0|0
    0|0
  • Somewhat. There are a few things to consider, however:
    - Subsidizing college tuition is 'regressive'. That is, it generally transfers money from poorer people, who typically don't go to school, to those who, over their lifetime, will be wealthier. We generally avoid programs where poor people subsidize rich ones!
    - Subsidizing college tuition tends to lead to more 'wasteful' use of colleges. Colleges are incredibly expensive (and likely low value) ways of educating people. Students take on huge debt to go to medical school or law school or top MBA programs because they are confident it will increase their earning. Students are less likely to pile on debt to take on a PhD in a low demand field. Perhaps that's not a bad thing. Perhaps the fact there is an oversupply in those fields means we should NOT be bribing more people to enter them.
    - Even if tuition is free, it still favors the children of the wealthy or middle class. A major part of the 'cost' of pursuing education is the opportunity cost - lost income. You might work while in school, but can almost certainly earn more working full time while not in school. Whether school is free or not, hard working bright 18 year olds are likely leaving 10-15k a year on the table each year in not pursuing their best work option. For middle class kids, foregoing a few years of higher income is a no brainer. If your family is struggling to get by, free tuition doesn't change the fact you 'need to work to support them'.

    Ultimately there's a lot of reason to think -too many- students currently attend university, rather than not enough.

    My suspicion is we should probably let tuition fall more on students, less on the taxpayer, while simultaneously increasing scholarships for top students, and allowing them to stack with bursaries so the -most- promising low income students are paid to go to school in some programs.

    Of course there are some existing ways they can do so - i. e. through the military (full time not reserves). But more options like that might make sense.

    0|0
    0|0
    • Nice response. I however would like to inform you that we ARE letting tuition fall on students currently, and lenders like Sallie Mae (Navient I believe now) illegally bullied their way to the top by getting in bed with politicians and colleges who receive pay offs. In fact, ever since Sallie Mae and their gangster partners lobbied intensely to ensure that consumer protections such as Direct Loans and transparency in how tuition was paid were done away with, the way college is paid for has become a system of shameless profiting on the part of colleges, the government and lenders (whether or not they do things legally). This country does not realize that eventually, the student loan bubble will burst and send us into a great recession. But by then, the graduates and students will be unable to pay what they owe due to ridiculous interest rates. If the gov, schools or lenders suffer in any way due this, I'm sure they will get another bailout. America TRULY does not care about it's people

    • It's a mix, at public institutions, between students, parents and government. (Realistically at most private schools it's a mix of students/parents and a massive endowment)

      I actually agree with your concerns about the profiteering - but the answer isn't for the government to pay a higher share of tuition. in fact government subsidy of university along with government support of student loans is propping UP the system and hiding its real cost.

    • The solution is to bring back consumer protections that were taken away before and create a less opaque system that presents options to students and parents beyond just settling for "Preferred Lenders" that create kickbacks for the schools. The people in the WORST position to sustain the economic blow from all this should not suffer because leadership is so corrupt. I say let's all just not pay it. Civil disobedience.

Loading...