FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION?

Does anyone really believe that every high school graduate in America deserve a FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION?  Well, I don't.  To me, that's just another form of "Socialism".

I wanted a College Education after I graduated from High School too.  So, what did I do?  I enlisted in the U.S. Navy for (4) Years.....To not only serve my Country, but also, so that I would EARN the privilege of being able to use the G.I. BILL (which is a Gov't program for Veterans to go to college...which I received approx. $400.00 per month).  That barely covered my Tuition costs @ Texas A&M University.  I had to pay for books, transportation, food, housing, etc. out of pocket. So, my wife at the time, worked min. wage jobs (in a college town) and I worked full-time every Summer.  But, there were still many times when we had to sell some old text books just to be able to eat some days.  During the Summers, we lived in Austin, Texas...so, my wife could work on getting her Graphic Design degree @ The University of Texas at Austin.

I did graduate in May of 1977 with a B.S.L.A. degree in Landscape Architecture @ Texas A&M University....and the day I graduated...I didn't owe a single dime towards my education or living expenses.  I began my LA career 100% debt free.

And, I'll add this.  For most of the past (8) years, even IF a student earned a University Degree, there just were very few good jobs available.  So, what good is a Diploma IF there are ZERO JOBS available.  I know of a young LA graduate (from a major University), who told me 5 years ago after she graduated with her LA degree...that she spent (4) years searching for an "entry level LA job"....she said, she never found a job.

I believe that "some" assistance to High School Graduates might be possible...but, they should be students deserving of that help.  There are already many programs available for students seeking a College Degree.....Scholarships, Grants and I'm sure additional programs. 

In addition, if a student were to receive a FREE COLLEGE EDUCATION...just how much would they value it?  I'm guessing it would cost the U.S. Taxpayers a Trillion Dollars or more if the U.S. Gov't were to offer students (whose family earned under $125,00.00 per yr. - as Hillary Clinton has suggested).  Besides, there's always ways around that.  If a Father/Mother is earning $130k per yr., they just need to ask their boss/s to give them a pay cut for (4) yrs....to get the family income down just below the $125,000.00 max...then, (4) years later, after their son or daughter rec'd their College Diploma....the parents go back to their boss/s and ask for a "bonus" to cover their pay cuts over the previous (4) years.

Nothing is FREE people. 

If the Gov't is going to start handing out FREE COLLEGE EDUCATIONS...then, I'm going to send the U.S. Gov't an invoice for the (4) years I spent on my College Tuition.....PLUS, I'd like to have those (4) years of my life back..........Fair is Fair.

J. Robert (Bob) Wainner

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Well, the forum has been rather quiet lately, perhaps this thread will generate a bit of discussion.  I admit I've not ran any costs or looked into the subject with any scrutiny, but here's a few general observations:

1. I imagine there were discussions such as this when the idea of "free" K-12 was being discussed.  I don't know how schoolmasters of the colonial days and westward expansion were paid.  Same for the schoolhouse itself.

2. College tuition costs are, in my opinion, artificially inflated via student loans.  I paid for a significant amount of my education with the GI Bill as well.  Another perk of military service before college is that I was classified as independent after my discharge, so I was eligible for a number of grants that typical students aren't.

3. In today's economy, a high school diploma is not adequate to make a living.  If the purpose of providing K-12 education is to provide someone with the minimum skills needed to earn some kind of living, my sense is that the modern workforce needs more.

Again, not sure where I'm at on the topic.  I do not think that the current situation is going to work long term, and I'm admittedly skeptical of offering everyone something for "free".  I think many people are.  I do believe that there's likely a solution involving the allocation of existing (and perhaps new) taxes to the situation, but I also I believe in compulsory national service for high school graduates, whether it be in the military or in a civil service program.  I'm interested in hearing other viewpoints and hope that your post leads to a thoughtful discussion.  

Dave

Dave.....You have made some excellent points in your comments.  Well said!

I too believe that every High School Graduate should serve in either the U.S. military (for a min. of 2 years).  Doesn't necessarily have to be a "combat" position or job, but, service to the United States.  Then, after that service, offer those VETS a similar education opportunity like you and I earned.....like the G.I. Bill.

I'm pretty sure about this....ISRAEL has mandatory (2 yrs. of military service) for every citizen of that Nation....I believe when they turn 18.

I also agree that there could be "some" tax dollars earmarked for assisting High School Graduates get into a University to study for a 4 yr. degree (State University....not a Private University)...as another option here.  There is so MUCH Gov't wasted and fraud...thousands of empty Gov't buildings sitting empty...just inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.  Yeah, like that $14 million gasoline station we built in Afghanistan not long ago....that money could have helped a TON of students go to College.  But, our Gov't NEVER operates on a "budget" like we citizens have to.

Also, IMO, our Gov't could re-evaluate the financial aid it gives to every foreign nation.  I just thing we give too much and don't do enough for our own U.S. citizens.

Bob

There's no way just "taxing the rich more" would cover this. And since the lenient loan system has already fattened universities, proliferated faculties and led to crazy levels of building projects (at least around here), this proposal could have horrible effects. I'm thinking all the way to a situation where a junior college or 4-year degree has no more value than a high school one. I'm suspicious that the push to college for anyone will lead to greater lenience in academic standards as well. If we can all get free courses, why not "free" grades?

I think that the priority should be beefing up QUALITY and the RELATEDNESS of degrees to jobs, on top of a concerted effort to just grow more jobs. But if something so naive as the loose talk now is going to get traction later, at least there should be a sliding level of "free," with emphasis on what kind of graduates the nation really needs (to catch up in areas where we are already falling behind), and to also act as a disincentive for the highly romantic type majors. Sorry if that's all too blunt.

So many points have been missed that it's hard to know where to start. For those who feel compelled to close our eyes to the global community and fall back to a protectionist mentality, we may as well surrender to ISIS.
For those who are ready to move on with life and provide all the progressive opportunities we can offer to our citizens, should college be a free ticket to the future? Should all U. S. Citizens have adequate health care? Should our fellow citizen descendants of slaves be helped to a better standard of living (in the land of the free)? Should women be given equal pay for equal work?

There are other countries that support raising their citizens (and children) to a higher level. Should we not offer better opportunities for all of us?

I graduated in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia in 1977 on the G.I. Bill. I was not what you would call a competitive student. But that degree did pave the way for some excellent work experiences that also allowed me to live a full and productive life. It also provided opportunity to serve and mentor others. To that end, I feel there are plenty of ways that people can "earn" their education and raise their quality of life in this country.
Military service , civil service, peace corps, government internships, and local mentoring programs are available to all right now. If those were also ways to earn credits for college tuition, it would be a great way to "pay it forward" in service to others which I dare say that the next generation of citizens would do well to learn.
Whether mandatory or volunteer, service to our country teaches us things we can't learn in the classroom.
One last thing, we are part of a larger, very complex ecosystem that cannot sustain itself in a vacuum. Every relationship has a symbiotic responsibility to provide the best possible opportunity for future generations. We are not here to play God. We are here to help each other. If we selectively pick and choose the winners by some list of preselected criteria, we will miss so many great and amazingly talented individuals. Life would just be too dull to be enjoyed.
I vote for progress and I hope we can all connect in ways that uplift our lives in meaningful relationships.

Recommending service of some kind to get help (like the G.I. bill) is an opening to further discussion. But that was not the general understanding of the "free to all" idea that people having trouble with what they already borrowed seemed to mean when they demonstrated for loan forgiveness. I might have missed it, but didn't hear any offers to do community service in return. And everybody still needs to know that kind of program would not lead to "guaranteed jobs" or even much opportunity for majors in some fields. I don't see it as playing God to demand some practicality in such a system, for better outcomes to the student as well as "investors."

Absolutely right. No guarantees. Ever. When we graduated from college there were none then (1977) and there will never be any down the road. But if we show a demand for service/education/job opportunities, we can create a better opportunity to find jobs along the way. I think many people fail to realize that once we entered an international war that no one wanted but a very elite few who would profit from it, we hit a downward spiral that injured our economy to an historic low. To imagine a job that actually pays a wage equal to the previous marketplace is simply a daydream now. It was and still is an huge environmental shock to our collective ecosystem that has since spread globally. Which is exactly why opening the doors to higher education for all citizens is even more important than ever before. Education is the key to rebuilding a system that functions well enough to lift up the whole. There has never been a better time to solicit more participation in the economy, and that means lowering debts (no more college loans) and raising opportunities (bettering education). The marketplace of the future depends on the trickle UP effect of smarter, more prepared individuals to meet the demands of a faster, more advanced technological world that has not yet fully emerged. The more educated our workforce, the better we are prepared to handle the job of raising up the economy.

For the record, I agree that government waste is a big part of our problems. I also feel that flushing the baby out with the bath water is not a smart way to do business. Too many foundations of sound economic strength will be eroded by irresponsible actions. And - government is not alone in the responsibility for the downward turn. The age old factor of greed has further marred the free capitalist image both here and around the world. This is directly the result of a small list of individuals who have found deep-rooted avenues into government and corporate pockets. Like any invasive species in a community, they must be rooted out. But we need the government regulated laws to help do that. We need more pressure on legislators to do that. Not anarchy.

There's no free lunch! AND No quick fix! Education is an investment, plain and simple. If the United States of America wants a better economy and better opportunities than we already have (which is ten times better than any place on the planet), then we (collectively and thus government) must invest in education. Better educated people placing strategic demands on a dysfunctional system will turn the tide toward a more vibrant economy, which is by fact-checked accounts, already moving forward. So much has been accomplished in just 8 years that we have begun to rebuild even now. And our industry has been the recipient of many projects that have not only helped to rebuild our infrastructure, but have done it in more creative and effective ways than ever before. We are really lucky to be in a profession that can be part of the solution and not caught up in nay-saying our Country. We are already the greatest country in the world. We just have to get more people involved in it. Too many are focused on the wrong issues. We don't need tantrums. We need solutions. 

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