Middle School Editorial: Free College
January 27, 2020
With the 2020 presidential elections coming up, student debt and free college are certainly some of the most talked-about topics. In 2018, 44.7 million adult Americans were struggling in student debt. Altogether, student loan debt totaled around 1.47 trillion dollars.
In recent years, colleges have been charging more and more for education. Tuition inflation is around 5.65%, compared to the average inflation rate of 2-3%. Higher tuition forces students to take out loans, the average loan being $50,000, which are especially difficult to pay off during college—many students will not have secure jobs for years.
Canceling student debt is on the minds of a few democratic candidates, specifically Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Taxing the wealthiest Americans or stock bonds should provide funding to forgive each student loan, perhaps even making university tuition-free or reduced, making it easier to get a higher education without worrying about money.
Warren’s plan allows children of families with lower household incomes to receive free tuition, and as the household income increases, the less of the loan is forgiven. Sanders proposes to cancel all debt, regardless of income. Will this work, though? Canceling student debt and making public college free would cost a lot, but both candidates say that this would help the economy, for example by lowering unemployment rates. On the flip side, people speculate Sanders’s plan would benefit the wealthy and increase the racial wealth gap.