Negating value

Zac Hoffner

    Free college has been a topic of discussion since the primary debates began in 2015, and it was a policy Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed for heavily in his campaign.

    Although Sanders did not make it out of the primaries, the debates sparked a national conversation. Many Americans believe in what he was selling, and now, two years later, bills have been proposed at the state level across the U.S., including in New York and Minnesota.

    On Jan. 18, state Sen. Ron Latz (D-St. Louis Park) introduced the Minnesota College Affordability Act.

    According to the department’s press release, “This legislation will guarantee a tuition-free undergraduate public college and university education at the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities (MNSCU) for Minnesota high school graduates whose families make less than $125,000 a year.”

    I have a few concerns with this.

    The first question I ask is: how many students actually take the free education given to them in public high school seriously? I understand that many students put an insane amount of time and effort into high school, but that’s to prepare for college and to get scholarships and grants for their hard work.

    I come from a family that preaches hard work. I’m a firm believer that the harder you work, the more you will get in life.

    If student A works their tail off to receive grants and scholarships but their family earns more than $125,000, the only chance that they get free college is by putting in the work to get scholarships, which are very competitive and not guaranteed.  Student B, whose family earns less than $125,000, coasts through high school and pays the same amount for college that student A spent countless hours working for. I personally don’t think that is fair.

    The second question I would pose is this: who in their right mind believes parents making more than $125,000 dollars fork over $10,000 a year for tuition to their children, who at this point are making the transition into adulthood?
Part of making the transition into adulthood is becoming more financially independent and preparing for the future.

    America is one of the most individualistic societies in the world. It’s what is preached to children their entire lives: “Do what you want, do what makes you happy, do what makes you money so you can have nice things and live the ‘American Dream.’” So how do politicians all of a sudden think parents are giving their children all this money?

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but my college loans are in my name, not my parents. It is I who is racking up debt by going to college. It is I who decided to go to college and increase my chances to better my career.

    Latz continues in the press release, “Regardless of a young person’s economic background, all Minnesota students should have the opportunity to attend our public universities and pursue their educational goals. A college education is a necessity—it is no longer a luxury.”

    Excuse me, Sen. Latz, but to say a college education is a necessity is extremely out there. I know a lot of people in the Fargo-Moorhead community who are plenty well-off without having any post-secondary education at all.

    Would you like to know how they became financially well-off? It’s because of the work they put in outside of school.

    I am sick of Americans believing everything should come cheap and easy. I’m sick of Americans working harder for a hand-out than at work or school. I’m sick of Americans looking at what their neighbor has instead of counting their own blessings.
Too often I hear people talking about everything they don’t have and everything “that person” has. Do they ever stop to think the person they’re jealous of may have put more time and energy into what they believed in than they did worrying about what they   don’t have?

    I am all for helping people who are less fortunate—scholarships, reduced college tuition and grants for families and students less fortunate than those who fall in the upper percentile ($125,000 or more) are all valuable options. But to just offer free schooling won’t teach students anything, and I think the system would get taken advantage of.

     Offering free college will just contribute to the whiners and complainers who expect to get everything they want without putting in the work. It will further damage American society. I’m sorry, but just because you’re born doesn’t mean you’re entitled to anything.

    Students of any tax bracket should have the opportunity to further their education if they so choose. But not for free.

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