In today’s high-tech, global economy, education provides young Americans increased opportunity to enter the workforce and establish pathways toward rewarding careers. Because a well-educated workforce is essential to economic progression and the running of a modern society, it is in the best interests of the government to invest in the education of the nation’s future workforce.
Public schools in the United States provide free tuition for kindergarten through 12th grade, funded primarily from local and state taxes. A growing movement, mostly of young Americans, is advocating for extending free tuition beyond 12th grade. There are over 18 million students enrolled in the United States at nearly 5,000 colleges and universities, charging as much as $40,000 a year for tuition fees, not including living expenses.1 On average, it is 400% more expensive to go to college today than it was 30 years ago.1 According to Mark Kantrowitz, the average student debt for the class of 2015 is about $35,000.2
The crushing debt and rising tuition costs are becoming increasingly burdensome to new college graduates and may deter some from pursuing college educations. Rising college tuition costs will adversely affect lower income families disproportionately, creating more permanent socio-economic divides between social classes in the United States. However, opponents of free college education argue that an influx of federal money may encourage administrators to increase the spending per student, increasing the overall cost of tuition.3 By offering free tuition to upper and middle class students, compounded by the increase in student applications which would accompany free tuition, rationing of strained public budgets would ultimately result in less resources for those who truly need financial assistance as well as a lower quality in education overall.3 Finally, free education is not free, it simply shifts the costs from the student to the taxpayer.3 Rather than recent graduates living frugally to pay off their personal school debts in a few years, they’ll be paying increased taxes for the rest of their lives to cover the tuition costs of all who follow.
Congressional Record – Senate
January 21, 2016
Congressional Record – House
April 22, 2015
Congressional Record – House
January 9, 2015
Funding College Education for All
S.Res.143 - A resolution supporting efforts to ensure that students have access to debt-free higher education
Sponsor: Sen. Schatz, Brian [D-HI]
Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Latest Action: 04/21/2015 Referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
Introduced in Senate: (04/21/2015)
Summary: Expresses support for efforts to:
H.R.4385 - College for All Act
Sponsor: Rep. Grayson, Alan [D-FL-9]
Committees: House - Education and the Workforce
Latest Action: 03/23/2016 Referred to the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training.
Summary: This bill directs the Department of Education (ED) to award grants to states to eliminate tuition and required fees at public institutions of higher education (IHEs).
It also amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to:
Free College Tuition
Should the federal government cover the costs of college tuition?
President Trump has never advocated for debt-free college education programs. However, he has been a proponent for relieving the current generation of the financial burdens accrued from skyrocketing college debt. Speaking to a Ohio crowd in October 2016, Trump stated that we have to “make sure that those who have graduated college and those who are soon to graduate can find a good job to start a good career when they do… First, we will lower the cost of college and solve the student loan crisis… Tuition at public four-year institutions was 40 percent higher in the last school year than it was 10 years ago.”1 Trump also stated that too many young Americans leave college buried in debt. “Students should not be asked to pay more on their loans than they can afford, and the debt should not be an albatross around their necks for the rest of their lives… That is why under my student loan program, we would cap repayment to an affordable portion of a borrower’s income–12.5 percent and if borrowers work hard and make their full payments for 15 years, we will let them get on with their lives.”1
20 U.S.C. § 1015a : US Code - Section 1015A: Transparency in College Tuition for Consumers
Supreme Court of Alaska
Janet Hudson v. CITIBANK (South Dakota) NA, Alaska Law Offices, Inc., and Clayton Walker
Decided: December 16, 2016