Throughout the 2016 presidential election there has been heated debates in both Republican and Democratic primaries. A business mastermind took the country by surprise and total amazement with his “In your face” attitude during debates. Whether people agree with the ideas of Trump or not, there is certainly no denying the following he has gained just in the short time of his campaigning. On the Democratic side, there has been constant battles to gain microphone time on stage.
- One topic that has really stuck out to me is education. The backing that Bernie Sanders received from the millennials is astounding to me. We all probably know the words by now: Free Education. Those two words were powerful enough to gain the immediate attention of millennials across the country. It almost seems impossible considering the current state of the U.S. college education system. As of 2015, there is 1.2 trillion student loan debt in America. The average college student graduated in 2015 with $35,051 in student debt. The cost of one year at a top 15 school in the U.S. is between $40,000 and $50,000. Debt considered, the chances of getting a job straight out of college have also declined with the competitive job market today. It is not uncommon to see a 27–30 year old working a job they didn’t go to college for, only so they can make money to get by while they search for a job they were supposed to be able to get. Let’s go further into the debate:
- Countries with free education: Germany, Denmark, Sweden, France, Finland, and Norway
Arguments against free education in America have largely been justified by pointing to the higher tax rates in European countries and fewer participation rates than in the United States. Let me explain:
- The U.S. Defense budget is $581 Billion, more than the next six countries combined.
- Germany has one of the highest tax rates of any country, but their defense budget is somewhere around $36 Billion. The money is allocated to different resources.
- Finland has the same participation rate as the U.S. (94%) and sits at number 5 in the world in education, as compared to America’s spot at 14th.
The numbers don’t lie. People can argue for a lifetime on the subject of education, and education reform. The U.S. is in a situation where universities are losing their touch with students. Student debt weighs down the lives of college students across the country. It reduces the economic spending power of a large number of people in society for years on end. The response from Millennials still might not give Bernie the vote, and that isn’t what this article is about. Free college in America is achievable, if we choose to actually sit down and work the problem out. No more throwing it under the rug for the next administration to worry about. Let’s shake things up for once in our education system and try to solve this problem of student debt. It has been shown to work in other countries, but we have to take that first step. What if it doesn’t work? Fine. Learn from what isn’t working and adjust. Imagine a day when you could walk into a class and sit down to learn without the price of debt over your head. Free Education, maybe one day.