Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Paying for College

One of the best ways to break the cycle of government dependence is through higher education. While many low-income families struggle to make ends meet, there are cheap community colleges, as well as loan and pro-rated tuition programs, to help every child go to college if they want. Having a college education opens many doors, and can mean a step up not just for the student, but for their family as well.

But of course, there are those who don't think the government should be subsidizing the education of America's youth. In Arizona (of course, where else?), lawmakers are considering a bill that would require all college students and their families to pay a minimum of $2,000 a year towards their college education.

It's a good idea in theory, but without exemptions for things like poverty, it will be disastrous in practice. Considering that low-income families are the least likely to send kids to college, and the families that would get the most out of it, I feel there should be an exemption for those pleading poverty to waive the fee.

But the thing that really gets me about this is that education spending, especially for college, should be a no-brainer for a group of politicians who want people to be independent of government support. A child coming from a poor family is more likely to be poor. If they received state subsidy as a youth, they're more likely to receive it as an adult. The only factor that has any effect on that is education. It is in the best interests of everyone to subsidize education for every student who wishes to go to college.

Consider the numbers. If a student must pay $2000 towards their education, it's a one-shot deal that saves the government 2k per student. If a person instead is forced to apply to the roles for welfare, food stamps, housing, etc, they could be receing $2,000 from the government in three months or less. And that can be for life. So, which costs the government (and by extension, the taxpayers) more? State college education, or social programs?

Personally, I think that college should be cheap or free for everyone. We need to promote a vibrant, intelletual community of youth who will bring us back to the forefront of the world in the coming years. The more people who are highly educated, the fewer will rely on the government for aid. It would fundamentally change America, but I believe it would be an affirmation of our greatest promise: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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