Free college opens wrong doors

February 6, 2015 Editorials Print Print
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Community Writer Katie AxtellPresident Obama’s last two speeches hit on a specific topic that people all over the country are talking about: free 2-year college for everyone who “works for it.”

While many would argue it’s a good idea and something that can benefit this country, I disagree.

It’s true that higher education is expensive and can cause enormous debt, but those who reach, work and make the effort for it can get through college with little to no debt.

According to debt.org, an estimated $46 billion in grants and scholarships is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, as well as an additional $3.3 billion in gift aid from churches, foundations and non-profit groups.

The money is out there, but many students don’t want to put forth the effort to apply for scholarships or grants.

With Obama’s proposal, if the funds come from the state, there’s a high chance taxes will increase. If the funds come from the federal government, the outcome is the same: higher taxes.

Where the money is coming from is just the tip of the iceberg. To afford college expenses for thousands more students, state and federal funding in other areas will decrease.

A larger need for teachers will open up and in turn will lead to even more expenses to pay the expanding faculty positions. More jobs will be created, but at what cuts to the salary?

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows a -22.8 percent change in spending for each student in Oklahoma alone since the recession in 2008. Their list of cuts are “ … eliminated course offerings, shut computer labs, and reduced library services, among other cuts,” according to the website.

Obama’s proposition states that students will have to be willing to work for free college, but with each new generation there is an ongoing issue of more people not wanting to work for even the simple necessities in life. Many are dependent and accustomed to handouts. This would be another of those handouts.

I have found that the more I put into working toward a goal or an accomplishment, the more I can appreciate it. A free education will take away the struggle and effort to obtain something to be proud of.

Working toward expanding financial aid opportunities is more beneficial than free college.

Having an education is one of the most important things in life. Employers look for individuals who have accomplished a better knowledge in the job field. They look for the ones who strive for better and work hard.

Graduating from college is something that should make someone want to stand upon Pride Rock and hold up your baby cub of a degree with pride. Having a long line behind you waiting to hold up the same as you makes it insignificant.

Working for a degree and allowing it to grow into something amazing because you were able to get through the hard times and show you’re passionate and driven to better yourself is not attainable from something handed out for free.

Nothing in life is free. There are always hidden costs and catches buried between the lines.

We as a nation don’t lack the opportunity to achieve a higher education. We lack the drive and will to go after what is better for us as a nation, a community, and an individual.

To contact Katie Axtell, email communitywriter@occc.edu

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