Is It the Government’s Job To Pay For Our Education?


Saamiya Ahmed

Ruby Berger ’20 supports the idea of public colleges being free but is skeptical if it would be practical.

As Bronx Science students start the college process, they may start to worry about how they will be able to afford it. Colleges nowadays are becoming more and more expensive, so money can be a large concern when applying. Everyone wants to go to the best college they can, but nobody wants to graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

Recently, a Teaneck High School student, Yusra Subhani ’19 was admitted into Mount Holyoke College, but had to turn down the offer because of the cost. Even though Mount Holyoke was her dream school, she simply could not afford to go there, especially as an undergraduate. She now attends a community college and plans on transferring to a four-year college later. Everyone should be able to obtain a good education without risking living the rest of their lives submerged in debt. Just a few generations ago, tuition was less expensive, and it was possible to graduate from college debt free. According to CNBC, the average student loan debt has been steadily increasing over the years; just two years ago, most millenials were around $10,000 in debt, whereas now more than half of the college class of 2018 graduated with an average of $30,000 in debt.

Saamiya Ahmed
Raitah Jinnat ’21 argues that college tuition prices are becoming too expensive.

Many states have been implementing plans to assist lower-income families, but New Mexico plans to make college completely free for all state residents going to an in-state public college or university. This should be considered an important step in the right direction that will hopefully spark change in the country as a whole.
However, some people, even in Bronx Science, believe that the current tuition prices are reasonable. Mr. Dimoulas, a biology and forensics teacher, said, “By making college tuition free, admissions will be much more difficult.” Another common criticism is that everyone would have to pay more for this additional cost. Some argue that if the government is the sole funder of public colleges, colleges will have tighter budgets and limited opportunities.

Saamiya Ahmed
Biology and forensics teacher Mr. Dimoulas does not think that free college is doable because of the negative effects it would have on admissions.

Despite these criticisms, most students believe that college education should be free, and that it is in fact the government’s responsibility to cover the costs. If we are expected to become successful adults and take on challenging occupations such as doctors or lawyers, then we should be given the resources to do so. Every student that I spoke to agreed with me that college currently costs far too much and that there needs to be some plan to fix it. Raitah Jinnat ’21 said, “The system is simply not fair,” adding that she thinks that tuition prices are becoming ridiculous.

Ruby Berger ’20 also supports lowering the cost of tuition, but she is concerned that colleges may be left with inadequate funding. She said, “Without any tuition the school wouldn’t be able to pay for things like renovations.” This is a valid concern and any state that adopts a similar plan to New Mexico’s should first make sure that there is proper funding for state colleges to maintain the quality and variety of programs. Recently, many state schools have faced steep budget cuts that led to cuts in programs and increased tuition. State governments need to invest in public universities and not force them to do more with less. We already provide free education for grades K-12, so why shouldn’t that be expanded to colleges and universities? For the most part, the K-12 systems have been successful in ensuring that every American child has a basic, quality education that gives every American child a good start in life. Now that college is essential for most jobs, everyone should have access to it. Private K-12 schools exist alongside public schools so there is a choice. Similarly, this choice should be available at the collegiate level. Students should have the option to go to public college without accumulating large amounts of debt.

“Without any tuition the school wouldn’t be able to pay for things like renovations,” said Ruby Berger ’20.