I wanted to express my opinion on making higher education free to everyone in the United States. This is a goal of Bernie Sanders that I wholeheartedly support.
The amount required to increase our educational spending to cover the remaining tuition costs of college is 62.6 billion dollars according to the Department of Education’s 2012 report. This sounds like a lot of money but compared to our GDP and what we have spent on wars or subsidizing already astronomically rich corporations this is not at all an unfeasible issues to tackle.
For example we averaged spending 665 million dollars a day for the war in Iraq. Free college education for our nation on the other hand would cost just one fourth of that amount.
But how can we fund it?
We could simply pay for universal education for all Americans by cutting corporate subsidies by 60%. I believe there is something wrong when we could make the choice between giving rich corporations 273 million dollars a day versus the cost of educating our own people for 171 million dollars a day.
Sometimes you do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. College tuition is out of control and college debt has now surpassed all other forms of debt in our nation. Education should never be an impossible dream and burden. Education should be something we strive for as a national identity in order to better ourselves and the lives of those who come after us.
Poverty is one of the largest hurdles to overcome when it comes to college education. Private high school student graduates enroll in college at an 85% rate while poor schools enroll at nearly 35% less than their more affluent counterparts. This gap widens when you are poor and a minority.
According to the census data 21% of African-American 30 year olds had a college degree versus 38% of whites at the same age. According to 1970 data this gap was 10% and has widened by 7% as Caucasians have outpaced African-Americans in their level of education attainment. Currently 6.3% of African-American men are enrolled in college while 4.7% are in prison.
Many students who are poor or are in the middle class that do make it to college are then entrapped in overwhelming student loan debt. The debt amassed in the current system of college education is staggering. Current student loan debt stands at 1.3 trillion dollars in the nation. More student loan debt is owed than either in credit cards or auto loans. Almost 1 out of every 5 Americans will default on their student loan debt.
America is supposed to be a land of opportunity. Free education evens the playing field and allows for a better future for our country. More importantly it stands as a testimony to the great will of this country and our aspirations for each other. We once dreamed of going to the moon and through some of the brightest minds in our history we got there. Imagine the things we could achieve if everyone had an opportunity to equal education.
Again, sometimes you do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
I believe universal education is the right thing to do.