Growing up my family had very little money. My mother had two children, held a full time job and depended on public assistance programs just to make ends meet. At the age of fourteen I applied for my workers permit and began my life of employment. By eighteen I was working three jobs to afford things that I needed and to assist my family. I knew that I was not internally driven enough to receive scholarships and would not be able to make enough money to afford college on my own. I also believed that I should never accept a handout unless I was willing to earn it or pay it back. I made the decision to join the military for five years so that I could receive the Montgomery GI Bill which pays college tuition as a benefit for serving your country. They also have great programs that pay college tuition while you are serving on active duty to be able to earn your degree while you serve. The great thing about the military is that while you are receiving all of these benefits you are also being employed, earning a paycheck, free healthcare for you and your family, free housing and a stipend for food. All of these things are monetary issues that plague families across the country.
I am not trying to sell the military to anyone, nor am I trying to make anyone else’s life sound better or worse. I am trying to say that there are many other paths to go to college without expecting the government to give you a free handout. The path that I took is one of many that a person can take to go to college. I feel that we are beginning to live in a society where the public feels entitled to assistance from the government, which is funded by people who actually pay their taxes, for programs that they themselves can achieve if they work hard or are willing to sacrifice for. I believe in programs that offer assistance but not handouts or programs that are luxuries not necessities.
The program that President Obama proposed in his State of the Union Address, offering two years of Community College to everyone, would cost at a minimum 80 million dollars of Federal and State funding over ten years. Where would the money come from you ask, from tax payers pockets. Everyday people that are they themselves struggling to keep their heads above the water financially, will be paying for this program through the taxes the government collects every year. Instead of spending the money on a new program how about improving an existing issue riddled program, our primary and secondary education systems. Why not spend the money on improving the quality of education, the learning environments and the underpaid and overworked lives of the teachers that give their heart and soul to teach their students the building blocks of education that will assist them throughout the rest of their lives. Many of the classrooms in public schools are overcrowded, affecting the quality of education and attention that the students receive. Due to budget cuts many teachers need to pay out of their own pocket or request additional supplies from students that are needed in the classrooms. There are continuous news reports across the United States on unhealthy and deplorable learning environments in run down public schools that children have to attend.
College is not for everyone. Many would attend because it is “free” that would benefit more by attending vocational training, on the job training programs or internships. Going to college would delay the individual in getting their foot in the door and learning valuable skills for jobs that do not require degrees. We have a high dropout rate of students that pay for colleges now in their first two years. If young adults feel no obligation or responsibility to attend because it is free or drop out, the hard earned taxpayer’s money would yet again be wasted.
The free two year community college program is a waste of taxpayer’s money. It creates more issues than it fixes, doesn’t fix existing public educational issues, reinforces entitlement behaviors and can be very detrimental to those that would be better suited for other career paths than college. The government should spend their time trying to fix the broken public programs we have now instead of forcing new ones on hard working Americans.
I agree with you where you say that our current public education is in many cases low quality. Teachers are not appreciated and all students are not motivated to learn. I do not however believe this initiative to be a “handout”. There was a time when high school was not free and you had to pay to go. It was not a handout for the government to allow people to further educate themselves. It was seen as necessary to have a more educated population to make better decisions about the future of our country.
Back to motivation, although not fully inaccurate, I think you have an incomplete idea about the rate of college dropouts. Do people drop out only because they can’t handle the atmosphere or is it because they simply cannot financially afford to continue? There are scholarships and grants, however they are all limited as far as how many people can actually attain them. Research shows that the reason majority of students drop out of college in the first 2 years is because of the financial struggle and burden. The students who have college cost handled and paid for by various sources are the ones who are more likely to drop out due to unbalanced social life or inability to do the work. Do we want people to have to earn the right to have an education or do we want to promote a better chance to climb the social ladder?
Now this is not to say that all students should just be automatically enrolled. There should still be an application process to ensure the seriousness of the students attending the institution. This being based on scholastic merit will encourage students to study better in high school, rather than wonder what’s the point? Social mobility in America is very difficult. To rise from the bottom to the top isn’t as easy or commonplace as we have seen in movies or the every so often stories of success.
The benefits of free higher education will greatly outweigh the cost that we as a society we would pay, afterall we’ve done it before with high school. When splitting the cost between the 3 million american’s it will come to a mere few cents on the floors of our cars so that the boy with an american dream has the ability to pursue it.
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I understand that many ideas which seem good on the surface are sometimes not completely thought out to its completion. The logistics of good intentions often reveal its flaws. With that said I recently attended a TN Promise meeting which offers Tennessee high school seniors a community college education. This money comes into play where FASFA leaves off. For those kids who qualify for full support the don’t access this money at all. In my eyes this helps out those who work everyday, are maybe married and need help sending their kids to College. If my tax money helps I’ll gladly give it.
I agree with your blog and they the way you put it.Going the school for two year for free is great but people will try to take control of it. Only because FASFA is set up. If student is allowed to receive FASFA many of student will just take the money and not come back to school. That the bad thing about people going to school for free. The way i would fix that is student would receive there FASFA in the middle of the semester then the begging of the semester. Only because people will not own up to staying in school. I like when you said ” Many would attend because it is “free” that would benefit more by attending vocational training, on the job training programs or internships.” because it will give people the confident to be something in life
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