Last week President Obama addressed the issue about the always-pressing employment rate in the United States. Obama opted that a potential solution would be enabling the first two years of community college tuition fees, free for students.
Post-secondary education is a goal many high school students strive for. The goal of a parent is to save up over the years so they can afford to send their children to college. For the middle to lower class families who struggle to send their kids to college, some of those prayers may have been answered as of last week. According to the Huffington post if all the states joined this venture “nine million students could benefit — saving on average $3,800 in tuition per year for a full-time student. That means the program could cost in the billions of dollars”. For taxpayers however is this possible 60 billion dollar price tag worth it?
Now what if this idea was carried across the border to British Columbia, Canada, would the response be positive or even more controversial? Local taxpayer and UBC alumni Ross Fraser questions this idea “As a tax payer what is it going to cost us… I’m concerned what it is going to cost us as a society, where would the money come from, how much would they increase our taxes? In the modern day era receiving a post secondary education is no small fee. Parents save up to a decade’s worth of salary in some cases in order to give their children the education they need to be successful long term. “The government has always paid something towards tuition, now they’re paying less that’s why the tuition fee is more, it didn’t impact my decision at all when I went to school, but it would now because its more expensive”, Ross stated “Everyone’s thinking, what’s in it for me?” That’s the central focus, what does the general public gain from this potential change in the education system, besides of course more taxes to pay.
The ultimate belief behind this idea is to educate students and provide higher-class employment opportunities for the citizens who aren’t fortunate enough to afford post secondary education. However after speaking to former college student Tiffany this may not be the case “The way it would affect employment, is if you have more higher educated people looking for those type of jobs, there may not be enough to supply that increase” There is a point to be made on that stance, the more kids you educate, the more competitive it becomes for higher class occupations. Another point of concern lies among the competing universities and colleges. Among the emergence of a tuition free community college, stems a decrease in students paying a heavy tuition fee for more prestigious schools, when they may still receive an education free of charge. “It could affect the supply and demand at the higher level universities, if kids are opting out and choosing the free option” mentions Tiffany. This would certainly concern competing schools.
What is the student’s perspective on this issue? They’re the ones receiving the education would they prefer to receive a less prestigious degree if it’s free or would they rather pay a heavy tuition? BCIT Business student Eric Schultz gave me his take
“I would prefer to stick to a more prestigious education… I think especially with where we live geographically, and the jobs that are available I think it would be more beneficial to have a higher education”. Though this student believes in a higher education especially in the competitive market that is Vancouver British Columbia he is also sympathetic to those who cant afford a high-status of learning, “if I couldn’t afford such things, I think it would be a lot better to have the free tuition for the first 2 years”. This issue clearly proves controversial, however if put in place who is to say whether or not it will be effective, and beneficial for our society.