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Should Public Colleges and Universities Be Tuition-Free?

In his article “Should Public Colleges and Universities Be Tuition-Free?”, Bernie Sanders makes proposals to make higher education more accessible. Bernie Sanders, United States Senator from Vermont, was born in 1941 in Brooklyn, New York. He studied at Brooklyn College and the University of Chicago (Sanders). Sanders was the mayor of Burlington and taught at both Harvard School and Hamilton College. Since 2007, he has been a US Senator from the state of Vermont (Sanders). He is a supporter of democratic socialism and the Scandinavian model of social democracy. Realizing that student debt is a heavy burden, Bernie Sanders offers to make all public colleges and universities free of charge.

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Sanders’ main point is that the college accessibility plan should aim to open up opportunities for those who need it. He argues that public education should be free for families earning $ 125,000 per year or less, which is 86 percent of the US population (Sanders). Government has to carefully consider whether there should be some type of income test for free college admission. Richer Americans who can help their children pay for their education should not get the same degree of help as poorer ones. Many young people work hard but cannot afford to pay for college, and their parents have no financial funds to help.

Sanders uses pathos when saying that the government must invest in an educated workforce. In such a way, he wants to intensify an emotional appeal to an audience. He is committed to ensuring the sustainability of public colleges and universities with well-educated citizens. He is convinced that education should be universal and free. This is the position of the political mainstream, which has partially absorbed the socialist system of values. The division of labor creates inequality and injustice; from this, it follows that the only way to avoid this is in the universalization of a worker (Sanders). Thus, teaching the maximum possible number of disciplines and mastering various professions means investing in the workforce. Thus, all people will get the opportunity to do what they like and have more time for self-improvement and science. This state of affairs can be achieved only through the introduction of universal and accessible education for all.

I agree with Bernie Sanders as he gives a clear plan for how he will try to provide free education. To pay for this, he wants to close Wall Street tax loopholes that allow student loan banks to profit from debt. This policy will be funded by a tax on certain securities transactions and will not require the destruction of the rich (Sanders). The Scandinavian countries, France, and Scotland are not as rich as the United States, but they manage to do exactly what Bernie Sanders suggests. Germany has also joined many European countries in almost or completely abolishing tuition fees at their universities.

I also like the fact that Sanders wants to reduce or eliminate the cost of studying at already funded universities, but only if the students are eligible for admission. The colleges will not be suddenly filled with students who do not want to be there. They will have to maintain a minimum level of training to be able to continue (Sanders). Due to free education, it would be possible to teach poor children who do not deserve their plight. I believe that only in a just society people can make a solid contribution to the development of the country.

However, many people disagree with Sanders, believing that people should be realistic and pragmatic when looking for strategies to lower college costs, rather than making promises that cannot be fulfilled. First of all, according to the Labor Department, three out of four college applicants are wasting their time and money (Sanders). Only one in four receives higher education and gets a good job. There is a supply and demand problem, and if the college is free, this issue will get worse. Secondly, some people think that not everyone wants or needs higher education. Professional work does not require a college degree and is not vital to a country’s economy and quality of life (Sanders). People do not appreciate what they get for free, and the more someone personally invests, the more effort he or she puts into it. When a student has classes, an unpaid internship, and a time-wasting job, he or she will learn how to prioritize. This statement is reasonable, but with an insignificant share of free education, the country is doomed to ruin.

Proponents of free tuition believe that campuses are already overcrowded with students with little or no academic ability. Fifty years ago, only 7% of high school graduates went to college, and today the number has reached about 40% (Sanders). The quality of education has suffered proportionately, and it will get worse with free tuition. Moreover, community colleges are now affordable and many students are eligible for grants. If they want to create a better life, they would focus all their efforts on vocational schools, where graduates earn more than many college graduates. However, I think that talented people are born equally in families that are capable and willing to pay for education, as well as in low-income or large families, where education fees can be an unbearable burden.

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Some people do not agree with Sanders because most American college graduates never work in the field in which they study. Children receiving free education tend to lack appreciation for this and are becoming more and more dependent on free education and government handouts. This, in turn, creates overly liberal and selfish voters. Moreover, Bernie offers to use the Wall Street speculation tax to pay for public college tuition (Sanders). A speculative tax will make high-frequency trading unprofitable and immediately reduce trading volume. Thus, his plan may no longer collect enough money to pay for free education. This tax may also significantly destabilize US markets by eliminating billions of dollars in liquidity.

To sum up, Bernie Sanders does not have a plan to make all colleges and universities tuition-free. He offers a free education only in public institutions, namely community colleges, four-year schools, and universities. It is about restoring the democratic process, taking it out of the hands of the billionaire class, and returning it to the hands of the people. When viewed as a way to acquire skills and degrees, free tuition at colleges and universities is a good compromise. However, they should adhere to the high standards for student admission and teaching quality. Perhaps, if education is provided on a universal and free basis, society will not become better, safer, and more educated. However, to successfully move into the future, all people must have a choice. Therefore, the education system requires the availability of free tuition and more chances for young people to understand their interests and inclinations.


Sanders, Bernie. “We Must Make Public Colleges and Universities Tuition-Free.”, 2017, Web.‌

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