The Promise Of Free College (And Its Potential Pitfalls)

from Brookings

The price of college is rising, making college feel out of reach for a rising share of Americans. Families can borrow to be sure, but with total student loan debt now above $1 trillion nationally, the situation seems unsustainable. Meanwhile, we face a long-term decline in our international ranking on college attainment and the disparities in college access by race and income—disparities that financial aid and loans are supposed to address—seem larger than ever. It is no surprise then that in the campaign for U.S. President in the 2016 election, nearly all candidates of both major political parties raised the issue of college affordability.

Increasing financial aid to students is one obvious potential solution. Once limited to discussions of the size of need-based aid programs such as Pell grants and state-based merit aid programs, new forms of aid have emerged. Place-based “promise scholarships” provide funds to students attending schools in certain cities and states. Others have proposed changes on a national scale, increasing and redesigning financial aid to eliminate student loan debt, called debt-free college, or going even further by eliminating tuition, fees, and/or some share of living expenses—free college.

More here.

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43 Responses to The Promise Of Free College (And Its Potential Pitfalls)

  1. Victor Prieto September 26, 2018 at 8:42 pm #

    As a student who is a big chunk of the $1 trillion student loan debt, I can certainly appreciate a drop in tuition. Although the performance requirements were a suggestion to remove going forward, keeping them provides an incentive for students to actually be engaged and dedicated to their education. Yes, I know the article stated that the complete opposite is what ultimately ends up happening. My suggestion is to take a more selective approach for who is even eligible for these performance requirements. Selecting students randomly with some poor qualifications (2.5 GPA and attending 90% of classes) will result in a broad selection of high school students. Coming from a family who pushed me to graduate high school with a 3.6 and missing class was not even a thought, I have gone on to be very successful in my four years of college as well. Refining the criteria for students who are eligible for financial help assists in selecting quality students who are more invested in their education to begin with.
    I do not like the idea of college being free for everybody either. Again, I was rewarded a hefty scholarship to a university due to my excellent performance in high school. Making education free for everybody is absurd as it would cost $75 billion. I have not stopped hustling throughout my academic career, and I will graduate being able to pay off my student loans. A reduction in tuition would be very helpful, but education is an investment in yourself. Investments are not free.

  2. Alexis Pateiro September 27, 2018 at 11:49 am #

    I can relate to many students who will graduate from college with a decent amount of debt due to student loans. As a high school student, I spent a lot of time focusing on my studies in order to get a decent scholarship to go to college. My parents always pushed me to do my best so that I would get a scholarship to avoid as many student loans as I could. The cost of college tuition is ridiculously high nowadays and I believe that government should consider either increasing the amount of scholarships a student can get or allowing a student to get more money in financial aid. I pride myself on doing well in school to keep the scholarships I received from doing well in high school, however, those scholarships will still leave me with a good amount of debt, considering I did not get much in financial aid. I believe the guidelines in receiving financial aid and the process of it is not worth much, due to the cost of tuition. I tried to receive financial aid because my parents are both disabled, and their income would not cover the cost of my twin brother and I going to college at the same time. We paid an accountant to help us fill out the forms and I barely got anything in return, maybe $1,000 out of the $28,000 we had to pay in tuition. I actually had to start commuting to school because the cost of housing and dining were increasing the amount of loans I was taking out.
    Even though, college tuition, in my opinion, is obscenely high I don’t think it should be free. Like I previously mentioned, there needs to be a balance; the government should lower tuition to about half of what it is now or make financial aid accessible to more students. I also think colleges/universities need to focus more on the students who are trying academically to do their best. If colleges were to make their tuition free to everyone it would not be fair to those would worked hard to get into college with a scholarship. I believe making college tuition free would permit many students to not take schooling seriously. Also, making college tuition free would cost way too much money ($75 billion) to give everyone this opportunity. I believe that the only students who should get this opportunity if they decide to make it free, are the ones who perform well in high school and strive to do well in college.

  3. Peter Duca September 27, 2018 at 1:03 pm #

    The education system in this country seems inconsistent. While we encourage our youth to get a college education, we do not implement and encourage high schools nationwide to adopt programs related to prepping for applying to colleges, giving many students a disadvantage early on in the college application process. More consistent regulations across all public high schools in the country need to appear in order to build a culture where students are encouraged to apply to college and are prepared for a college experience upon graduation. Thankfully, my public high school district had great resources to help me prepare for college, but I am aware of students even at Rider who did not have the same experience that I did. Being prepared for college, and in some cases being able to apply for college, comes down to where you come from and how good your high school district is, which is inconsistent with the message of equal opportunity that our nation promotes.

    I agree with the article that performance based measures are not viable when deciding who to allocate financial aid to. People who need the financial aid are typically from lower-income areas where high schools are less developed and academic performance is low. Performance based financial aid will never be distributed to these candidates as their performance will be lower due to their financial situation and high school district. While institutions may feel that the risk of students dropping out of college is reduced when candidates have a higher performance, the study in the article found that receiving performance based aid did not incentivize students to complete college or perform better. This type of financial aid causes more of a disparity and reduces opportunities to lower-income students who need the financial support.

    Overall, I feel that the education system is inconsistent and change certainly needs to be fostered. While having “free” college may seem to be the answer, I argue that financial aid systems need to be revised and high schools need to become standardized across the nation. “Free” college would reduce incentives to become a college athlete or become academically strong due to the lost need for scholarships, and it would also eliminate many of the tax benefits taxpayers use to fund for education. There are many benefits to the current education system, but consistency and equity need to be created in order to increase the number of US high schoolers who attend college.

  4. Eyal Kleiman September 28, 2018 at 3:47 pm #

    This article brings to light a very interesting point which I was not aware of. I come from a town where my high school had counselors and advisors who were there for us to help us begin our paths to a college education. Whether that was with helping with college entrance essays or just the overall application process, there was someone pushing us towards the idea of going to college. It wasn’t even a question at my high school, going to college was something that the majority of us students knew we were going to do. So when I read this article and I read the fact that Milwaukee schools have very low levels of academic performance as well as a lack of counselor resources, it opened my eyes to the problem at hand. This article does relate to me very closely because I apply for FAFSA every year for financial aid. It is the reason I am able to go to school and while I may have some debt when I graduate the reward of education and experience I will have make having debt an acceptable collateral. My original plan was to go to a four year school after graduating high school but the high prices of college meant my family could not afford to send me at the time. Instead, I went to a community college and applied via FAFSA for financial aid and ended up completing my associates degree almost free of charge. I completed my associates degree in 5 semesters so I had to pay for one semester of college out of pocket but the other 4 were completely covered by financial aid. This was tremendous to my family and I and I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now if it wasn’t for government aid. I know this article talks about avoiding performance requirements because many students are deterred from meeting said requirements and it puts a strain on students, but for me it was motivation. It gave me a target to reach and inspired me to work harder inside and outside of the classroom.

    • Eyal Kleiman September 28, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

      I think in general, college is talked about in a negative light nowadays. I think many people do not see the benefits anymore of paying tuition for a college education and in some ways I agree. The price of college has only gone up over the last decade and it is truly causing a disparity among young people who are choosing not to go to college and those who do. “Without substantially reducing the price of college, there is no plausible chance that we will ever approach the goal of equitable access to college education…” A great change in our country needs to occur to make college education more accessible to everyone. Free college might just be one way to solve that.

  5. Michelle Vekshteyn September 28, 2018 at 6:15 pm #

    The price of a college education is definitely an absurd amount. Every semester the tuition goes up, and I know that I am always shocked at the number on my bursar account. Years ago the price was not this high. Almost every single adult over the age of 40 that I have spoken about college with has made it a point that their entire tuition cost under ten thousand dollars. this is about half the cost if not less than half of one semester here at Seton Hall. Of course, not every family is financially stable enough to pay each semester in full, which requires loans and debt. In this article, it states that the, “student loan debt [is] now above $1 trillion nationally.” It almost seems as though college isn’t the education for the rest of our lives, but rather the debt and constant extra worry in the back of our heads for the rest of our lives. Although there have been a few attempts at solving this issue, they do not seem to ever work or benefit the entire population of college students. Financial aid is not given to families with a certain household income. Even though families have a higher income than others, still does not imply that they have the money to pay off thousands of dollars in college tuition. There have been proposals for a free college experience. Of course they would not be able to provide all students with a free college education, so they launched the “Degree Project” in Milwaukee where, “Students in 18 randomly selected high schools were promised up to $12,000 to pay for college, at essentially any in-state institution. These funds were sufficient to cover all tuition and fees at the local two-year college—making it a form of free or debt-free college.” While such a project seems beneficial and great, these students also need to fit certain criteria, which does not give equal opportunity to all students. It was motivational but not enough.
    The article mentions two ways of potentially helping the design of this program. The first one is to “avoid performance requirements” and the second one is to “use free college and other forms of financial aid to catalyze changes in high schools.’ This is exactly what I was saying. There is not an equal opportunity amongst high school students to receive these grants for college education. Giving these rewards should have the intents to, “support and reward students who have the best chance to succeed in college, and therefore the smallest likelihood of dropping out with debt, but the result is essentially the opposite.” Students that are already in high income homes tend to do better in school since they can afford private tutors, etc. so having students granted free education would only benefit the ones that are already doing good without support. Hopefully this program keeps being tested with different variables being changed until there is some way to benefit all college students.

  6. Cassie Sibilski September 28, 2018 at 6:18 pm #

    It is no secret that college is obviously an extremely expensive thing to do in life. Tuitions for some four year colleges can reach significantly upward of $50,000, and that is per year! Not to mention if the kid has to dorm because then that’s another added cost. And then on top of that there are all of the textbook expenses as well as any other supplies the student may require. Because of these mounting costs that are on the rise every year, college definitely needs to become more accessible to everyone nationwide and a solution definitely needs to happen so this can occur. I think that the plan outlined in this article that was a trial of what they could possibly do sounds like a good idea. Having something in schools to motivate the student’s attendance and performance sounds great. Combine that with the fact that they could earn tuition money for college and it sounds like a plan. But it has to be executed correctly in order to work. A program like that would also have to be tailored to fit all of the high schools nationwide in order for it to be fair to all of the students in the US. There would also need to be appropriate counseling available to all students on applying and getting into colleges as well. I think a program like the one described in the trial run would be good, but overall would need a lot of work done to it to make it the best that it could be and to be able to function properly and get the desired result. A lot of people just suggest to make college one hundred percent free to everyone. While that sounds great, it would ultimately cost the government a lot of money, $75 billion per year according to the article and Bernie Sanders. That is a lot of money every year and would no doubt just keep increasing as the years go on. A better solution seems to be to get college tuition costs to decrease by getting colleges to use their resources in a more cost effective way. Doing this combined with making financial aid more widespread would help the problem of how expensive college is.

    • Mackenzie Greenfield September 28, 2018 at 6:36 pm #

      It is not surprising to me that the Degree Project described here did not have the benefits expected/wanted. It seems to be an attempt to use a small fix for a big problem. As the article indicates, many of these students were likely not prepared for college and so it is no surprise that there was only a slight increased persistence in the two year colleges and no significant effect in the four year colleges. A recent article (https://www.businessinsider.com/us-ranks-27th-for-healthcare-and-education-2018-9) indicates that the US now ranks 27th in the world in healthcare/education (human capital) compared to 6th in 1990. The article also points out that that according to recent findings by the Pew Research Center, the US ranks 38th out of 71 in math scores and 24th in science scores. I agree with the suggestion that part of this decline may be due to decreased funding for elementary and high school education. Some of that funding provided for college education might have more of an impact if it was applied to improving the foundation that will allow students to succeed in college. I think we have to be careful about providing funds to students for college who may not be able to attain a degree in the end. We will receive no return on our investment in these students and that will be an economic challenge for the US.

      I also think the small amount of funds available could have had a role. If a student who started at the four year college began struggling in their courses, they may have easily given up because they were not going to be able to afford the subsequent years anyway. Maybe the two-year college had greater persistence because they could see a finish line. I also think it is important to support these students when they start college – especially those who may be marginally ready for college. There may have been more of that type of support system at the two year institution.

      I certainly think that the price of education may prevent some individuals from being able to attend college, but it is just one of the pieces. All pieces will need to be addressed for a successful outcome.

  7. Amanda Nitting September 28, 2018 at 8:23 pm #

    Not too long ago Brookings wrote a different article entitled, “Free College for all will Power our 21st-Century Economy and empower our Democracy.” In that article, it discusses how free college in the past was stressed especially after World War II. Also, it discusses New York University’s free medical school idea and the implications from this university’s decision. The article, “The Promise of Free College (and its potential pitfalls)” lays down facts and a potential solution to the student debt issue that United States students are facing. According to this article, “total student loan debt is now above $1 trillion nationally” (Brookings). This number is expected to continue to grow if nothing is going to be addressed. However, one solution that comes to mind, like the article suggests, is to increase financial aid.
    A project that has been proposed by Milwaukee Public Schools in 2011 known as the Degree Project is directed to aid students in paying for their college tuition. According to the article it states, “Students in 18 randomly selected high schools were promised up to $12,000 to pay for college, at essentially any in-state institution” (Brookings). Although that is a good amount of money to receive, this program requires students to have a minimum of 2.5 GPA, graduate on time, have a ninety percent class attendance rate, and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. These requirements are obtainable for some students, but it does not seem like it will be enough to solve the student debt issue. However, this Degree Program could be used as an incentive for students to work hard for their grades and give them better opportunities.
    When I was applying for college, a program called the New Jersey Stars Program was offered to me and other students due to having certain academic requirements. Under this program, a student was able to attend his/her community college for free for the two years and then transfer to a state college for free for the following two. This Degree Program seems similar in that it could help provide students with the financial means to attend college to get a good education. It is also known that the United States is falling behind in academics when being compared to other countries. With that being said, part of that problem has risen due to the issue of the price tag of college. Since the Degree Program has not been implemented but it was a trial, the more research that is spent in this category will hopefully yield effective change.
    Overall, this topic is constantly in circulation and through trial and error, there needs to be optimism that a useful outcome will result. One of the most recent ideas were proposed by 2016 Presidential nominee Bernie Sander’s to give students free college, but it would cost seventy-five billion dollars per year. This is extremely expensive which makes an implication that it is inefficient and not plausible. Although an increase in financial aid seems reasonable, there also needs to be something else that will reduce the price and debt. The Degree Program is a good step in the right direction, but there are flaws such as it only applying to a state school and even though the requirements give students motivation to perform better in school, in some cases it might not be good enough.

  8. Gabrielle Bram September 28, 2018 at 8:27 pm #

    Almost every college student that has loan debt can relate to this article about the elimination or lowering of tuition costs. The articles states that there are one trillion dollars in student loan debt in the United States. Students should not have to worry about paying back thousands of dollars in student loans just to receive an education. I think the Degree Project had good intentions but will not solve the high college tuition problem. Studies showed that the project had little effect on completion of four-year colleges and did not help prepare students for higher education. I can understand the academic requirements to receive the scholarship, but it does not benefit most students. There are some students that had low grades in high school but succeeded very well once they got to college.
    The article discusses public high school preparation and curriculum for college. I personally attended a private high school and was prepared very well for college and gained a lot of useful information from my high school advisors. My high school required every student to submit at least one college application and guided students through the process. Many intelligent students today are decided not to attend college because of the high tuition fees. Politicians continue to try to find a solution for student loan debt, but it continues to be a problem with no reasonable solution. The article discuses Sen. Bernie Sanders’s proposal for free college, but it would cost seventy-five billion dollars a year, which would most likely not be possible.
    I currently read the article “The Case Against Free College Tuition” by Richard Vedder and the article includes statements about how free tuition contains three main problems “the poor academic track record of community college attendees, the potentially very negative economic growth implications from financing so-called free college, and even some fairness issues.” I do think that college should not be free because it could cause many problems, but tuition for college should be more affordable.

  9. Matthew Brown September 28, 2018 at 9:21 pm #

    I think the issue with college is that colleges can charge whatever they want as long as people attend. I think the solution lies on the high school level. High Schools should teach instead that the value of the education does not lie in the price tag but in the success post grad. In this day and age, a bachelors degree is a bachelors degree. There are so many people with bachelors degrees that they are almost worthless, so it does not matter if one gets it from as long as they have it. Especially in the business world. It does not matter that I almost got a bachelors from American University because I networked at my current university and landed myself a prospective job upon graduation and saved money in the process. I also do not think that the value of money is not taught enough in high school. Looking back, I wish I fully understood the concept of compound interest and made my decision to go to my first university more wisely. A lot of the debt comes from the accrued interest. I also think a viable alternative would be a tuition freeze. The tuition you pay freshman year is the tuition you pay senior year, regardless of inflation or other intermediary tuition hikes. At the end of the day, I doubt there is much the government can do to limit the student debt. Forgiveness programs won’t work as the money has to come from somewhere, and just forgiving the billions of debt student’s have would end up costing the taxpayers more in the long run anyway. I truly believe the solution to the student debt problem lies in high schools teaching the time value of money, students choosing cheaper schools for their bachelors degrees, and students choosing majors that have a higher likelihood of employment, especially if they are financing their education through loans.

  10. Nicole Faerber September 28, 2018 at 10:01 pm #

    Education is a right and not a privilege. There is much discussion about free college as there should be. College is expensive. For example, at Rider university tuition alone is over $40,000 a year. College is getting more and more hard for everyone to afford. My best friend’s father is a doctor. Therefore, they get no need base money. Without any scholarships, the family has to pay approximately $30,000 to attend the University of Delaware. To a doctor or not $30,000 in one year is still a lot. Times the $30,000 by the 4 years people typically stay in college, and you get the cost of $120,000. College degrees are now becoming a requirement in the workforce. Therefore, if you want a well-paying job an employer wants to see a degree.
    The idea of free college is a dream, a wonderful dream that many including I hope will come true. As stated in the article it is believed that performance requirements should be avoided. I have mixed feelings about this. All through high school, I knew I needed scholarships to be able to afford any college. I worked hard in all of my classes to graduate with honors. I worked hard to get scholarships so I could make college a reality for me. Without the pressure, I would have slacked off. I would have done the bare minimum. My best friend did the same except she was able to afford tutors for extra help. My friend got better grades than me and in higher classes, due to the resources, she had available to her. For that reason, I believe that if college can be free for everyone there should not be requirements. Until then I believe that anyone who can get above a certain overall grade for high school should be rewarded free college. However, I do agree that the promise of free college will increase the drive that high school students have. If someone is giving you an opportunity to live a better life at no cost to you, most people will take.
    A lot of people believe that people who actually need help are getting it, and others are just whining. However, with college prices skyrocketing, many are people either not going to college or going into debt. Debt that will take years to pay back if they even can. The fact is that finical aid offered by schools is not enough. FASFA greatly overestimates what people can contribute. If education is supposed to be a right then why is there a price tag on it?

  11. Monique Edward September 28, 2018 at 10:43 pm #

    The idea of free college is appealing on the surface; however, if a person does the proper research, it is evident that free college will not work. The article stated that it is better to avoid merit and performance-based requirements because it limits the effectiveness and equality of financial aid. This means that students will not be able to receive as much money for college, which increases their attendance and graduation. This solution does not help student success because the students do not have as many incentives to obtain a degree. For example, a student that has to pay for his or her education will make sure that he or she finishes so more debt does not accumulate. Therefore, students that go to college for free will not be as persistent to finish a tough course because they have the option to withdraw without any financial ramifications (Norton). Even though I think college should cost something, does not mean that I think the price of college is reasonable. The amount of debt that recent graduate has is at an all-time high. Although inflation is higher now than 50 years ago, college was much more affordable. I have heard 60 and 70-year old says that they paid for college while working a part or full-time job. Now, millennials are facing much more financial issues than previous generations (Sanchez).

    There is old adage that says, “There is no such thing as free lunch.” This holds true in all facets of life. Nothing is free! The government cannot provide free college because everything has to be paid for. If this burden is taken off of the backs of the students who are going to college, it will fall on the back of someone else, which is likely the taxpaying public. Suggesting that the government should pay for education is really stating that individuals, many of whom have not gone to college to take value from the system in this way, should pay for the education of the other 60% who have not yet paid into the system at all. This idea has very profound implications for the purpose of education and government. If society collectively expresses the country’s values, this will indicate whether college should be free and who should pay for it.

    Norton, Vince. “Why Free College is a Bad Idea.” Norton Norris Incorporated, 16 March 2018, https://nortonnorris.com/free-college-bad-idea/

    Sanchez, Claudio. “How the Cost of College Went from Affordable to Sky-High.” NPR, 18 March 2014, https://www.npr.org/2014/03/18/290868013/how-the-cost-of-college-went-from-affordable-to-sky-high

  12. Olivia I. October 4, 2018 at 12:35 pm #

    Free college is a concept that is practiced in many other countries. In the U.S., many families struggle with paying for college. As a result, many students don’t end up going or don’t complete their degree. This article discusses an experiment in Milwaukee, in which students were given money to cover some of the college expenses that can add up over time. However, the experiment had some restrictions that kept many students from participating, which negatively affected the results of the trial. I feel that this experiment could have been more successful if a larger group participated in the study.
    I feel that the idea of free college is one that could be practiced in the United States if it was successful in a larger city. I feel that education is something that everyone should be able to have access to and not only be for those who can afford it. Even though there is financial aid for most universities, sometimes families could use an extra sum to cover expenses, but this could be eliminated if college was free for all. Attendance rates would go up for universities, and many kids would be able to get the education they deserve.

  13. Nora Trapp October 5, 2018 at 3:16 pm #

    To start, I am a European citizen, I am from Germany. Because of this I feel my views on this topic may be different as I am from a country that approaches the topic of education differently than in the US. In Germany all public universities are free, top public universities that are ranked among the best in the world are free of cost to not only German and EU citizens, but to any individual that wishes to pursue an education in Germany, regardless of their nationality. Unlike other countries in the EU, Germany is one of the only countries that offers this. For example, the Netherlands offers very low tuition rates (about $5000 per year) for every Dutch or EU citizen. However, if you are a citizen from a country outside of the EU then you will be charged international fees which can be as high as $20,000. Comparably to the Netherlands, the United Kingdom also follows these same requirements for international studies, and until recently international fees may now also apply to citizens of the EU. I may be biased in saying this, but I truly believe that Germany has developed one of the strongest academic institutions in the world. In a sense, we follow the notion that you cannot put a price on education. Of course public universities receive money from the government as well as donors in order to sustain the university; however, the difference between Germany and the US is that in Germany they are able to successfully follow through. It seems that a problem in the US is that it is hard to find a solution than can be financially sustainable for the American economy. When many students accept loans to be able to attend a university, they do not always realize that they will spend nearly 10-20 years of their life paying of these debts. In fact, in some cases students may even spend the rest of their lives trying to pay off this immense debt. The idea that anybody should have the right to an education is clearly present in the US; however, it seems that the true possibilities of turning this dream into a reality are questionable.

  14. Vincent A October 5, 2018 at 3:27 pm #

    It is inevitable that a good portion of American families struggle to mustard up the tremendous amount of money it takes to send their children to college. As said in the article, total student loan debt is now about a trillion dollars. Despite this rising number, it seems that universities are still increasing their yearly tuition. In the world we live in today it is crucial for an individual to obtain a college degree in order to find high end jobs and be successful. With that being said, I really do think that colleges are taking advantage of that. Parents will do whatever it takes to send their kids to college, even if it means spending around fifty thousand dollars a year or taking out loans that go beyond that. This just shows how important education is in America.
    The degree project seems like the first step in helping families afford a college education, but the issue with it is that they only go to 18 high schools in the nation, excluding the thousands others. Yes, it is a good start, but this is an ongoing problem, and unless the degree project can grow rapidly, or if other projects are established, then this problem will continue to happen as long as colleges continue to be as expensive as they are. The two key lessons learned, avoid performance requirements, and use free college and other forms of financial aid to catalyze changes in high schools, are very important is this is what it will take to help American families in getting college educations.

  15. Christopher P. October 5, 2018 at 6:24 pm #

    In my opinion, a college is a fallback option for some who dreams or passion doesn’t go as planned. The fact that as young as we are paying up to fifty thousand dollars if not even more in loan debt is just mind-boggling. While reading the article, it explains how college is becoming more expensive to attend for some students. Also, how they are trying to find a solution to make college more affordable for some. Other benefactors have to are taken into consideration for college affordability to work.
    The author does speak of the trial run conducted in MPS (Milwaukee public school). They promised 18 kids twelve thousand dollars for college. The twelve thousand could cover a two-year college but only a year of a 4-year college. Most kids can apply for multiple scholarships, but the possibility of acquiring them is a rarity from personal experience and hearing from friends as well.
    So as a college student myself we taking out a loan is something I try to avoid as much as possible if needed. The article mentioned while trying to make college affordable avoid performance requirements. I agree because some students may feel discouraged even to attempt for college because their grades may be off by a little bit. Let’s say they get into college. The student(s) cant get the extra financial help they need because there is a performance minimum to receive additional financial support. It likely won’t happen because the purpose is to aim for higher income families which I disagree entirely.
    Overall I like how we are progressing towards having college be affordable. Some people may be, but due to there circumstances, they can’t afford to go. Making college accessible can make it possible for that person to succeed in the future.

  16. Nicholas Stefanelli October 5, 2018 at 7:28 pm #

    Should college be free? It would be nice, but colleges and universities really do need a lot of money to function. Professors, librarians, security officers, cafeteria workers, janitors, and lawn maintenance personnel are not going to work for free. Buildings do not build and maintain themselves with out putting money into them. Computer labs, multimedia classrooms, high-tech lab equipment, and recreational facilities cost a fortune. While there may be some room for cutting back on expenses, as it is, most universities cannot even cover their costs on student tuition alone but rely additionally on donations, grants, federal aid and other outside funding for scholarships, new buildings, to supplement faculty pay.
    In addition, if college were free we would be paying for it through our taxes his rest of lives even if you are your kids did not even go. This seems like a good idea in theory but there are many stipulating factors that show why it is not. Think of it this way if all college was free, what is separating them all from not all being the same. If Wharton and the Stillman School of business were free what would separate them. They both would cost nothing and both would have the same type of teacher’s because they are not going to fun one school more than the other is. In conclusion, then everyone would go. People that pay for college want to go to pursue a higher cause in life. It would be like giving everyone free money, and when people try to hire people, there would be no competition for the best or the competition would be so high we will have a shortage of jobs.
    Altogether, I feel that college is something we all need to pay for. On the other hand, I feel that student loans are excessively high and that the government should step in and help lower the cost somewhat. I remember my parents telling me they when to school for less than 3,000 dollars only 30 years ago. That a big difference from 50,000 dollars in which we all pay here if we did not have scholarships.

  17. Gabby O October 8, 2018 at 11:57 am #

    This article stood out to me, as I assume it did for the other commentators, because I am a part of the current $1 trillion total national student loan debt. Although I am thankful enough that the price of college never necessarily discouraged me from thinking about attending, the rising cost of college is a big issue that should continue to be addressed. I believe that taking this issue to the national scale is necessary for any significant change in the price/debt of college to occur. I agree with proposed national changes such as increasing and redesigning financial aid to eliminate student loan debt; however, taking it a step further and offering free college might be too far out of reach. Similar to most if not all college students, I love the idea of going to college for free. However, I don’t believe that it is reasonable to believe every single college/university will one day have zero cost to attend. I agree with one of the comments above which stated that “colleges and universities really do need a lot of money to function.” Colleges/universities require a lot of full- and part-time faculty and staff members, as well as general campus maintenance such as building renovations/creations, electricity, air conditioning/heat, etc. Without any money coming in from students, it is very unlikely that college campuses would be able to function.

    The study examined in the article, The Degree Project, was eye-opening to read. Although the project did not achieve the success it hoped for, the evidence found can be used to aid future projects and ensure greater achievement among such projects. The two key lessons cited from the study can also help future projects to avoid making similar mistakes. The first lesson is to avoid performance requirements. At first, I was against this lesson, mainly because I believe some level of performance requirements help to motivate students. However, based on this particular study and where it was conducted, I understand that the performance requirements restricted many students from the beginning, making the overall impact of the study smaller than it could have been without performance requirements.

    However, I am more intrigued by the second lesson: use free college and other forms of financial aid to catalyze changes in high schools. I strongly agree that high schools should be required to include certain college prep courses in their curriculum, as well as provide structured support and encourage students to attend college. I was fortunate enough to attend a high school that encompassed all these things. I was able to take several college prep courses, along with AP courses and duel-enrollment courses during high school. As a result, I received 27 college credits during my four years of high school, which counted as a whole year of credits at my university, meaning that I can graduate in three years instead of four. Automatically I am saving money and decreasing my student loan debt just because my high school invested its resources in ensuring students were prepared to continue their education after graduation. A lot of my current classmates and friends in college remark that they wish their high schools were similar to mine when I explain my situation. My personal experience is why I am a big advocate for all high schools to have similar opportunities available.

  18. Rableen Sudan October 9, 2018 at 8:31 am #

    I come from a high-middle class neighborhood, my high school was not only motivating but was one of the best experiences of my life. They provided their students with every resource they could put forward, for us to have a bright future. I know I am lucky, but I never really thought of other school districts like Milwaukee Public Schools, where they do not have the resources of counselors to help guide them towards their success. This article really opened my eyes, because I truly believed that every school district had counselors at the very least to help their students learn about the importance of college. Moreover, I now understand that not all high schools have the same resources to make it happen.

    Yet, I personally believe that the government does need to take some sort of action to motivate and help the students get through college. The article discusses The Degree Project, which really did seem like a temporary fix. It helped motivate students, increased high school attendance, but never had an impact on performance and if the students did further their education by going to college. I believe that the Degree Project, although a good idea, needs to be fixed or executed properly. Also, many individuals want universities to be free or paid by the government. However, the question of who will be paying for free Universities will be raised.

    As a current college student, I can relate to the problem at hand. Universities are already really expensive, and just getting more and more costly over the years. I know that by the time I graduate, I will be thousands of dollars under debt, just like my friends. Yet, I believe that Community colleges should be at a lower cost, if not free. This gives a chance to low-income individuals to really prove themselves and their potential, as well as gives them a chance for an associates degree at the very least. I know the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), really does help individuals receive their associates in community college for a reasonable cost if not free. I know this first hand because I did go to Community College for the first two years since my parents couldn’t afford 4-year universities tuition plus the dorm cost, food plan, and other supplies that are needed. The money adds up really fast and they knew that Community college would be the ideal option. Moreover, in those two years, I met many individuals that were in the same situation of money being the issue. Yet, there were people that I met that were the first from their family to attend a college and that for me came as a surprise. One of my friends said that FASFA actually allowed her to go to community college for basically free. This gave her a chance to prove her potential in the next two years and with her hard work she was able to receive an amazing scholarship that allowed her to go to a four-year university.

  19. Daniel Campbell October 9, 2018 at 7:05 pm #

    Upon reading this article, I had only little understanding of how high school affects college application rates. It is rather a surprise that high schools don’t have the same college application program that my high school offered. By comparing my high schools college preparation programs and incentives to that of MPS, it is clear that my high school would have had a better outcome of the Degree Project. It is also clear that it’s not so much what the program provides to students, but the ability to pair the program with the respective high schools collegiate preparation programs that generates the more desired results. Overall, the effectiveness of individual high school programs have a larger influence on college registration rates than that of federal or state programs.
    By adding performance based measures to programs that are meant to increase college application rates do that opposite of what is intended. It’s not unusual that providing performance based restrictions on programs will severely decrease the amount of people who qualify for the enrichment program. If the designers of a program such as the Degree Project desire better results, they must first make the availability per student larger. If the program had more time to develop like other state and federal education programs, it would definitely show better results. This is because programs need more time to develop and work out problems such as the ones the Degree Project has. Once the small issues such as the one mentioned above have been worked out, the program will have better potential.
    The most important aspect of making the Degree Project work is making sure the high schools have strong college advising programs. If high schools such as MPS had better counseling services and better academic performance, the Degree Project would have had much better results.
    Free college will not stop or reverse our country’s decline in educational attainment relative to other countries. College is always going to be expensive and the best thing we can do as a country is make it easier for different demographics to obtain a good high school education. Developing better college preparation programs for individual high schools is the best way to reverse this trend of less Americans getting a college education in comparison to other developed countries.

  20. DF October 12, 2018 at 9:43 pm #

    College is undoubtedly becoming more expensive every year. The tuition for my college has increased tremendously from an already ridiculously expensive rate. The idea of making college more accessible is a great idea as many people feel that education after high school may be too expensive and having crazy amounts of debt for a degree does not seem worth it. Being able to provide free college is a great way for more students from poorer areas and less fortunate families to be able to attain this next level of education. You always see the success stories of the athletes and geniuses from low income areas being able to attain full scholarships for their abilities on the field or in their research. But not everyone is able to perform the same way and instead have a harder time trying to get into college to receive a degree in their field of study. Any people dream of being financial advisors or lawyers but never have the funds available to make these dreams come true since college may not be very logical for their family’s finances.

    The article claimed one way to make this more accessible was to take away the performance requirements. But I believe if someone is going to provide funding for your schooling you need some sort of requirements. There is no point in funding a person who is just going to skip out on classes consistently and gets poor grades. The students need to be held accountable for their work just like other scholarship programs with requirements. This can start when school systems, like the MPS, start to provide their students with learning curriculums that prepare them for college and secondary education. Teachers and other staff from the school districts should try to get the best out of their students. Colleges also need to make their schools more affordable as well, many schools tuition rates increase every year, I have personally seen this cause many students to drop out of college or not even attend in the first place. College to many seems like a scam, the only way to stop this is to make it more affordable for everyone and allow them to achieve a greater education without the future stress of high loans they have to payback and large interest rates.

  21. Aaron R October 19, 2018 at 8:03 pm #

    I feel that the increase in overall cost for attendance is the primary barrier that stops many children from entering higher education. On various occasions, I have spoken to individuals that would love to pursue a college degree but just don’t have the means or support necessary from either their families or the colleges that they seek to attend. As time passes education is becoming a necessity for the majority of high paying careers and unless there is a reworking of education systems such as financial aid certain communities will be cut off from obtaining these positions. The article mentions the lack of effectivity from performance standards as the structure for new degrees. I feel as though the major issue with a performance-based assessment is that it is cutting off the students who need the assistance the most. Often the students performing in the top percentile will find their way into college but it’s the underachieving students who may have had limited resources, that need the extra push into college to give them another chance or even just a simple platform for them to excel.
    Another issue that I feel is relevant across the spectrum of college admission issues is the concept of “ too little too late”. Instead of trying to push students into college at the end of their high school careers the funds should be implemented to improve the school’s curriculum so that students are adequately prepared for college and have the exposure they need. A student who has been failed in high school will not be inclined to attend the next level and even if they are funneled in through incentives such as free college they will not have the background necessary to succeed. Though, if we can give students the resources they need and provide an educational experience that allows them to prosper they won’t need to be incentivized or required to work harder though scholarship requirements.
    The real issue at hand is not being tackled early enough thus pulling students, who have great potential, away from higher education. Students not only need help to cover the cost of colleges but need help to be prepared for the challenging work they will receive while attending college. As similar issues, such as the wage gap, continue to increase we have to rework our education system so that it does not contribute to the gap increase or continue to push students away from seeking new opportunities or pursuing their desired careers. Lower cost is only the start, but to avoid unintentional pitfalls as the article states we must address the other significant issues as well.

  22. Conor October 19, 2018 at 9:30 pm #

    College tuition prices have gotten completely out of hand, plain and simple. This may seem like a hasty comment, however when taking into consideration that “students at public four-year institutions paid an average of $3,190 in tuition for the 1987-1988 school year, with prices adjusted to reflect 2017 dollars. Thirty years later, that average has risen to $9,970 for the 2017-2018 school year. That’s a 213 percent increase.” (CNBC) I could go on for hours about how it is vital for our country to make drastic changes to higher education institutions, however I felt this article pointed out an extremely important point. The problem doesn’t stop at the college level, it trickles all the way down to general public education K-12 throughout our country.

    I believe lawmakers and the individuals within a position of power in our country need to focus more on the public education system. The future of our country lies within the generations that follow ours, and between the current state of tuition cost and the attitudes that may follow said roadblocks for many individuals it causes too many young people to believe they do not have a chance to gain a higher education upon high school graduation. Personally, I view college in its current position as a perk solely provided to young individuals due to their parents ability to financially plan to be able to afford it. The sad fact is that not everyone is lucky enough to be raised in such an environment, and in turn it causes them to already rule out the possibility before even giving it an attempt. Everyone deserves the same chances and opportunities as the next person, because it only takes one individual to make historic contributions to our society.

    CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/29/how-much-college-tuition-has-increased-from-1988-to-2018.html

  23. Erica L. October 25, 2018 at 2:27 pm #

    One of the great benefits in living in the United States is that we have the freedom to go to school and attend any school we would like. However, the expense factor plays a huge role in limiting our choices of what university or college we can afford to attend. One thing I know for sure is that it is very hard now a days to get a job without a bachelors or master’s degree. What is sad is that many people get discouraged from attending a college or university because they can’t afford it and they cannot afford to be in thousands of dollars in debt. I do not think college should be 100% free, however, I believe that there should be more money available for scholarships and merits for people. I also believe that in order to have more people enrolled in colleges and University’s they have to drop their overall tuition prices. I think that both University’s and the scholarship programs need to come together and work together by dropping tuition prices and increasing the amount of scholarships that students can obtain. I personally like that they have requirements that the students have to meet in order to receive the scholarships. I think the student that does this things deserve the scholarship because it shows that they are interested and motivated to further their education. I think that for the other students who might not want to do these things should be motivated by the requirements because it will put them in a better position in the future by gaining an education and by gaining money to help pay for their education.

  24. Nicholas Russo November 2, 2018 at 8:26 pm #

    In research conducted Europe in general, and very much as an example Sweden, stand by the belief that education should be available to all no matter where you were born or in what situation. This has it’s obvious downsides and upsides. There are small fees in some schools but those are around the 800$ range for an entire 4 year program. For this to be possible, taxes are alot higher than in the U.S, especially income taxation. Schools are also completely without sports programs and a lot of other things because it’s there to educate and nothing more. As someone said, why most swedes are basically united on this political topic it’s rarely, or dare i say never brought up in parties campaigns. Is because this is how it’s always been and most believe that the equal possibility for education will in turn make the countries economy stronger through an educated population. University professors are paid poorly in Europe. This could be compared to the U.S., of course true, but the fact is that in Sweden it’s one of the most well paid professions under the governments control. I can’t say I know a ton of how the loaning system works but I can tell you that it mostly boils down to that the capitalistic train of thought that is that if can’t promise that you will, or have already, worked for it, you dont deserve it.

  25. W. Velazquez November 9, 2018 at 2:48 pm #

    The words free college almost seem like an oxymoron. You would not think that you can attend a college for free if you did not receive a substantial scholarship that covered all of your expenses. Even with scholarships students and their families find it difficult to pay tuition. I understand and acknowledge that making colleges free for everyone would be financially difficult. At the same time, I think that colleges should be more affordable. Programs that assist with college tuition should be rolled out across the nation. These programs can help those who would like to attend college but are not financially able. Having the requirements to receive the awards the programs would offer is a good idea. They can be used to determine which students want to further their education. Having programs that offer assistance when it comes to further your education shows students that an education is possible for them and if they want it they have to work hard.

    I think that there is a large group of students and parents that are not aware of the resources available to them. Some families think that college is unattainable due to the price tag on the college or university. What they do not know is that there are programs to help people like them. It is a fact, college is expensive. When you calculate the tuition costs, the room and board fees, meal plans, class materials like school supplies and textbooks, the amount are significant. At times it may not seem worthwhile attending college if you already have a job and are making decent money because you do not want to go in debt just to receive an education and earn a position in a company so that you can spend the next couple of years paying off your loans. The current promise of free college sounds amazing, but I think it is far-fetched. What can be done and should be done is redesign college prep programs so that more people are aware of and participate in them.

  26. David S November 9, 2018 at 8:18 pm #

    Although free college does sound appealing, it definitely isn’t a realistically attainable goal. Nothing is truly free when it comes to the cost of something. There is always a price attached that is not visible to others whether it is the cost of production of the cost of a trade-off of another service to accomplish a lower or zero cost. Increasing financial aid could help reduce the cost of college greatly if not completely make it free. Also there is argument about whether or not granting free college to students will negatively impact the motivation of college students to succeed. The idea that college students would lose motivation to be hardworking just because they don’t have to pay for their education is constantly being over thought and serves as the go-to reasoning for why there should be no free college. However, students would work just as hard since they still need to have strong academics to graduate. While I do think free college would be great, I just feel that it is not entirely realistic without having repercussions on the economy.

  27. Erica Glover November 9, 2018 at 8:27 pm #

    After reading the article “ The Promise of Free College( and its potential pitfalls)”, I cannot personally relate to students who will have a lot of debt after college, but for students who do end up with thousands of dollars of debt right out of college I feel for. As the article states the prices of colleges are rising making college feel out of reach for many Americans. I cannot believe or even fathom that total student loan debt is above 1 trillion dollars nationally, that is absurd. The prices of college being so high is a big issue for people who cannot afford it and a way to help, would be to increase the financial aid. The article goes to explain the idea of redesigning financial aid to eliminate student loan debt, known as debt free college. There is also the idea of going even further by eliminating tuition, fees and even living expenses with an overall free college. I find this idea a good opportunity to those who truly cannot afford to go to college. I also found it nice that they make requirements to receive free college; the student must graduate on time from high school with at least a 2.5 cumulative. The free college for those with low income will definitely benefit them. Although it may not address other major hurdles students face in attaining credentials, such as those who lack family and social safety as their wealthier peers do. I also find the idea of free college definitely rewarding for low income students and really shows a model for supporting the success of young students.

  28. Kent Flores November 15, 2018 at 2:37 pm #

    In the report “The promise of free college (and its potential pitfalls)” by Douglas Harris, Raquel Farmer-Hinton, Debbie Kim, John B. Diamond, Tangela Blakely Reavis, Kelly Krupa Rifelj, Hilary Lustick, and Bradley R. Carl, we go through scenarios in which programs are implemented to lower the cost of colleges and even making them free. The topic of free college has been arising throughout the american culture due to the amount of students who are existing college and drowning in depth or the amount of students who decide to drop out due to financial reasons. The report explains that in the past, there have been programs that give the top students extra funds in order to pay for college, but the results did not lower the dropout rate, it only minimized the debt in which those students graduated with. As of right now, there is no solid answer to solving the debt crisis, and the most appealing solution was presented by senator Bernie Sanders who stated that the US can deem college free and pay for the it every year with 75 billion dollars. The problem with this solution is that many more students will decide to go to college than is necessary in our society. This surplus of students will bring down the value of a college degree and will also start to increase the amount of money needed to pay for all these students. These students will also be out a job while in college, and therefore lower the amount of tax being collected from those that would have not attended and choose to work instead. In my opinion, we should not focus on lowering the dropout rates, but rather we should focus on eliminating the debt on the students who graduate. There should be a program that eliminates anyones debt who graduates with a certain amount of requirements. One this will create an incentive for students to try harder in school, and it will also help those who graduate get a head start in their finances and be able to spend more time getting a good job, rather than finding any job that just pays for their student loan debt.

  29. Santiago Gomez January 25, 2019 at 8:42 pm #

    Free college may sound like a great idea, but it really cannot work. Just like Communism, sounds great on paper, but really cannot function well. The problem I have with free college is, it will affect the taxpayer. Having free college will impose much greater tax increases who truly work for their money. It may seem free, but when you look behind it, we the people are the ones still paying for higher education. I do not understand why people fight to have a free college education. Since the creation of FAFSA, it has helped eliminate the burden of paying for education for families who need it. So, in a way the government is trying to make college education a little more feasible, but to the point where students want to take their education seriously. I personally think if a college education were to be free, people will not take it seriously. It seems like it’s part of our American culture to attend a university after high school graduation. It’s the next chapter of our lives to attend a university. It may seem like a stigma to not attend a university because there are few who see a price tag has a brick wall. But there are always different alternatives to take if you cannot attend. On an economic standpoint, if a college education were to be free. It will flood the job market with many qualified candidates with a limited number of openings every year. Plus, they are competing with those who are unemployed who may be qualified also who are seeking a job. I personally think college should remain has it is. As it challenges us to always push our limits.

  30. Dean Elnagar February 12, 2019 at 5:40 pm #

    Although the idea of free college sounds amazing, it just isn’t very realistic. There are way too many fees and costs that go into running a college to where free college is unmanageable. Plus, free college would just increase taxes and no one likes to pay more taxes. I do however agree that a plan needs to be put in place to help the affordability of college. The Degree Project that was launched for Milwaukee Public Schools was definitely a good start but the program needed a couple tweaks. In the article they mentioned getting rid of performance requirements which is where I disagree. I feel that if there aren’t any performance requirements then high school students will just take advantage of the free tuition. The program needs to make it required for students at the high school level to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA to qualify for the loan. This will ensure that students are actually working hard for the loan and it isn’t just a handout. The affordability of college is something that is holding back a lot of young great minds. There are plenty of kids out there that are really smart and could have a future but are stuck with their hands tied because they can’t afford it. A program similar to The Degree Project would not only be great for the kids that couldn’t afford college but it would help the students who were able to attend and graduate college and were immediately sunk in student loan debt. The total amount of debt for students is officially in the trillions which is something that I never thought would even be possible. It’s time to act on a plan to help resolve this issue before this number increases even more.

  31. Joe Cangelosi February 14, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

    Free education has always been a hot topic of discussion especially the last couple of election cycles. In theory free education sounds great but people don’t stop to think what that actually cost. Obviously grants and loans help ease the burden of high tuition cost but that does not actually help the primary problem of high tuition. One of the problems in my opinion are the fact that many high schools push the students into picking big universities that usually have high tuition cost. Instead schools should be exploring different options for each individual student instead of forcing them into a situation that they are not prepared for. Some of these different possibilities for students coming out of high school instead of going to a big state university is either trade school or community college. Sometimes this different path is geared more towards students who are completely unsure about what they want to do as a career. Its a low cost solution for students to discover what they are interested in instead of wasting more money for classes that do not interest a particular student. I think that even with the increase discussion about this particular subject, we are far behind from solving this rising issue of high costing tuition that seems to only rise throughout the years at an alarming rate that could make college too expensive and out of reach for some students that could have the potential to succeed if given the opportunity to attend college.

  32. Divyaa Sarin February 15, 2019 at 7:32 pm #

    I always heard the idea of college becoming free for many years now, however I never realized this was eventually going to happen. After reading this article, I was quite surprised because many students face issues with paying tuition. By getting rid of tuition, colleges are able to lessen student debt and give more opportunities for more people to get an education. This is a benefit for students and families, however this lessens the incomes of professors. Due to this, it is likely that the number of professors will decrease as well. Not everyone has the chance to go to college, if colleges were free, people would definitely go. However, it is important for the universities to get their income’s as well. I think the government should use our tax’s that we pay for as the incomes of professors as well as the overall university.

    Today, we are able to go into universities for free if we get the proper scholarships. However, getting scholarships require a lot of hard work and are difficult to maintain. Colleges regulate the determined educational students and reward them with these scholarships. Not everyone has the same work ethic and can’t achieve certain GPA’s to achieve scholarships. Therefore, scholarships should be removed and I think in order to ensure equality we should all be able to go to college for free. Our grades should determine how far we achieve in college.

    Personally, I have had friends that were very intelligent and ranked high during senior year of high school. My friends all got into ivy leagues like Cornell, Yale, and Harvard. However, since tuition was very expensive, they were all not able to go. They all go to community college now due to the high tuition. I think that’s unfair because these students have the knowledge and are deprived of their opportunities due to their incomes. We go to college to learn how to make decent incomes in the future because most of our incomes aren’t high. College’s should not judge us based upon our incomes and deny us the opportunities to achieve success in life but instead, help us prosper.

  33. Matt A February 22, 2019 at 4:37 pm #

    College in the United States is obviously outrageously expensive. While some states are trying to implement a free in state tuition for new students, it still is not enough for everyone else. I am one of the many high school graduates who didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation, and the amount of debt I would have collected without having a direct idea of my goals in life was not something i was not willing to do. I think community college should be much more considered for multiple students who are struggling with decisions. The first two years of some ones education is practically the same anywhere you go. I don’t believe 4 year universities should be totally free, but community colleges instead should be. Of course a free education would be fantastic, but I think that having to pay a little bit of money really motivates students (especially the students who are paying for it themselves) to strive for more and become excellent, high earning GPA students. Without that motivation and money to do well, there wouldn’t be kids wanting to do well.
    Another reason why tuition should not be free for universities is the cost of maintaining the buildings and paying professors who deserve a good wage. Almost all of the money that is used to run these schools are coming from tuition costs. Although it is too much money, Professors deserve to get paid a good salary for their amount of work and growing of our new generation and preparing for their jobs.

  34. Luke Tyler February 22, 2019 at 5:50 pm #

    At this point in the US, it is no surprise that there is an incredibly high price tag that comes with college. With this problem, the government and many colleges are working to find a way to reduce the burden of debt on students. The reason why colleges are taking approaches to this issue is because student loan debt often causes students to drop out, which in turn looks bad for the ratings of the college. To lower the out of pocket cost many universities are providing more randomly selected merit scholarships to those who meet a certain requirement. While this idea may seem good on paper, the awards given do not actually cause a catalyst for the system. This happens because in regions where there is a lack of resources, not many students are able to meet the requirements that would actually give them this aid. One important factor that should be addressed is the infrastructure of high schools. By making information on college and post-secondary education more available, inner city schools can begin to develop more ways of making college accessible to all. While colleges give out scholarships, it is never likely that they will reach the students who need them the most.
    Seton Hall developed their own program, Upward Bound, that helps those in lower income households by giving them guidance on success in high school and the transition to college. Another program that offers more incentives is the NJ Stars program, where graduating in a certain percentile of your class would result in free community college. There is a feature of the STARS program that would allow more students to have this opportunity. The program is available to all New Jersey high school students which allows for a larger range of participants. Also because the program relies on the rank of the student in the high school class, the system doesn’t rely on using a GPA scale to show the value of the student. Community college also may be better suit for first generation college students, because they aren’t faced with tremendous debt and they can ease into higher education. In a similar blog post, Purdue University is beginning to implement their own system as a way for students to pay for schooling after graduating. This would happen from taking a percentage of their income for a couple of years after graduation through ISAs (income sharing agreements). Purdue’s implementation of payment based on income is possible to be adopted by more institutions. While merit scholarships do not drastically change the nature of student loans, the NJ STARS program and the Purdue “Back a Boiler Program” could begin to take effect nationwide. Overall through the diversity and adoption of these new systems on paying for education, the student loan crisis can possibly be prevented.

  35. Deep Patel February 28, 2019 at 7:20 pm #

    This article that talks about the promise of free college and its potential pitfalls is relatable to all college students in the United States. The price of college is at an incredibly high rate, however it is extremely tough to get to a good education and a good job without a college degree. The rising cost of college is turning into a bigger issue every year as rates keep increasing year to year. Every student wants to continue their education after high school but hesitate because the money to pay for a four-year degree is outrageous and can cost a student years of debt. I definitely agree with the idea of increasing financial aid to students as it will help decrease loan debt. When hearing the idea of free college sounds like music to everyone’s ear, however it will not be good for the US government to offer free tuition to every college student. Student loan defaults will increase, and the completion rates of college will decrease. If college was free everyone will go to a college and getting a job will be so competitive and most students will have a tough time finding a job after college when it is already tough to find one as of now. Additionally, property taxes will increase as college will be free the government will have to get money somehow and the only way to do that is to raise taxes on the working people. Students will be going to college when some are not ready for the vigorous workload and schedule which will hurt graduation rates for some schools. Therefore, free college sounds amazing, but it does not help solve student loan debt and will skyrocket taxes for the workforce.
    The rising cost of a higher education is one of the most difficult realities that American parents and students face. There can be a middle line in this debate. Students should have the opportunity to take college prep classes in the high school system or allow them to take classes at a nearby community college so they can bring in credits to a four-year University. I know my high school allowed us to take AP classes for college credit but you had to take the AP test to get the credits. If high schools allow students to take some college classes in high school for free they can bring in college credits and possibly graduate a semester early which can save them thousands of dollars. Additionally, maybe increasing the financial aid that the government offers can help pay for college. Right now, to get good financial aid your family has to be in the lower class or does not make a decent amount of income. I think the government should give more money to the middle-class family and tax the high class to fund for the financial aid. A little increase in tax will not hurt as much as paying thousands of debt for college students. Therefore, I am an advocate to make college cheaper but making it free might not be the best option.

  36. Matt March 1, 2019 at 11:07 am #

    This article was very interesting. Being a student myself, I believe student debt can impact a scholar’s life for the rest of their life. Graduating with thousands in debt is an outcome every college student fears. And I do think universities across the nation should increase financial aid. Increasing financial aid would greatly impact student’s life. It could even give them more time to study and less time to work at their occupation. However, I still think hard work should be rewarded. And I think performance requirements are necessary to a student’s success.
    Furthermore, I think performance requirements are necessary because it prepares you for the “real world”. In sales almost every sales person has a quota they need to reach. If the quota is not obtained the sales person may lose his job and income. In the “real world” there are always performance evaluators. Teaching a student that there are no consequences for bad performance is setting them up for failure. I was always pushed as a student to maintain a good GPA. I was fine with working very hard as long as I knew the hard work was going to get rewarded. Because I worked hard I was able to go to the university I want, and obtain scholarship money. Knowing how competitive it is to get into a university pushed me to become a better student.
    Also, performance requirements definitely push a student to work harder and be more involved academically. In high school I was able to make the wrestling team. However, the school had a required GPA to stay in the starting lineup. I didn’t just make sure I maintained the GPA, but I made sure I exceeded it. If someone is passionate about something they are going to go above and beyond to be successful.
    Lastly, having performance requirements will show the goal driven students. If someone is paying a substantial amount for a university, they better be goal driven. Universities also look for the goal driven qualities when admitting students. A college will definitely want a goal driven student than someone who just does the minimum.
    In my opinion, I think more financial aid should be given out to students. However, I think students should work hard to obtain the financial aid. Because being successful is all about working hard and obtaining goals.

  37. Claudia Ralph March 1, 2019 at 11:24 am #

    I come from an environment where attending a four-year higher education institution that your parents pay for is completely the norm. Typically, most people complete their degree and move on to work in a big city, living in suburbia, thus repeating the cycle of the path that they were put on. The notion of free college in this environment is constantly dismissed. The price of college though, has become exceedingly expensive. While I am a fortunate that my parents are able to support my two siblings and I in college all at the same time, many are not as lucky. It isn’t just tuition that we are talking about either, it is room and board, textbooks and any extra expenses that are accumulated in college. Why have we not made it easier for students to exploit opportunities that make it easier to attend college? This is an idea that is explored in the article and had a very good solution: to divert funding and opportunities to students that have a greater chance of graduating debt free or even graduating at all. I would be curious to see how much money the US government is wasting on federal aid for students who ultimately drop out of school.
    Another solution that is not emphasized nearly enough where I am from is the idea of going to a two-year school and then moving into a four-year institution. New Jersey has a great program that supports students that are looking to do something of this nature and then move on to a state school. A decision like this would also have to come with an appropriate amount of counselling that would redirect students and their families from who would benefit from this type of program away from what is considered “traditional” four-year institutions and into this model.
    I personally do not think that the United States is anywhere near offering free college as a norm. Nor do I think this is a feasible idea in the type of governmental system we are working in. College degrees are a commodity and college is not for everyone. We need to first try to combat our debt problem before we try to tackle the idea of making college potentially free.

  38. Danielle Calorio March 11, 2019 at 1:45 pm #

    When I see anything about free college, it never fails to grab my attention. Mostly, because I am currently a college student and I know student debt is dreadfully something I will be dealing with upon graduation, which is drawing closer and closer. It is a scary thought knowing not only is your entire life changing and moving forward, but now you are stuck with these large amounts of debt. I went to a community college first, got good grades, and transferred after I got my associates, and still, I am going to have an unwanted amount of debt because my family could not afford it. Personally, I think college should definitely be more affordable and it was nice to see that the Milwaukee Public Schools were doing some research to try and ease the burden on their students. Although the program didn’t work as it was intended to, they definitely learned some critical factors to solving the education crisis going on in our country. The article mentions that, “The Degree Project had some impact on students’ motivation, college expectations, and steps toward college, such as applying to more colleges and FAFSA completion.” That is a great first step and an important part to the college process. The more you want to and are excited to do something, the better you will do. If you are dreading applying to schools, filling out FASFA, and going on school visits because you know you will have to pay unnecessary amounts of money and potentially be in debt for a majority of your life, then you probably aren’t going to get very far. They did end up concluding on to why their project did not perform as expected, and that was: the performance requirements reduced possible candidates, the small-scale design, and the city of Milwaukee itself. I think schools all over should start doing more to help their students attend undergraduate schooling if they would wish. This was a great example of a city trying to help, and if more cities took their point of view, there could be a lot more potential for students succeeding in college and beyond. Not everyone wants to attend college, which is great, but I don’t think financial reasons should ever be a reason for not attending.

  39. Janessa Smith March 15, 2019 at 10:50 pm #

    I believe this article has a strong chance with making this happen, since I’m a college student and know how expensive college is. Honestly, I would start a petition to make this promise of free college so the next generation of incoming college students will not be in as much debt as this generation. I believe that if colleges get rid of performance requirements then people would be more motivated to go and stay in school.
    When I was in high school, I had to decide what college to go to based off of my mother’s income, how much the colleges I applied for were offering me with scholarships and how much financial aid was going to be given to me. If the federal government is willing to increase financial aid to everyone, not just low-income households, then more students would be willing to proceed with higher education. Some high school students after graduation go straight to full-time employment because they did not save money, cannot afford the tuition on their own and parents cannot afford to help. Colleges can also provide better scholarships for every student applying to help with affordability.
    I agree with eliminating performance requirements. My first semester on campus, most of my friends dropped out due to the lack of performance requirements which resulted in losing financial aid. The first semester of classes is kind of tricky; if someone gets one C for a final grade, the GPA that person receives automatically drops lower than a 3.0, and some scholarship requirements require the student to have higher than a 3.0 GPA, so eliminating performance requirements would decrease dropout rates dramatically. There are consequences that I believe students should not interface when not meeting requirements. I understand why colleges have these requirements, but it would help students continue an education without having to stress if these requirements didn’t exist. Students give up when they don’t feel motivated, and when someone doesn’t hit the requirement for financial aid and financial is taken away, that makes the person want to give up because they believe it isn’t worth going forward or they just can’t afford the next semester. The Degree Program stated in the article that there is quantitative and qualitative evidence that “performance requirements made matters worse” and it creates positive educational goals for students and improvement on academic performance.
    Being a college student with multiple loans, I would love a decrease in tuition, or free college in general! Decreasing tuition or making it free would definitely have a change in high schools. If making college cheaper or free, it’ll motivate high school students to apply for college; there wouldn’t be second guessing if someone can afford to go. It would also eliminate half of the $1 trillion student loan debt that is becoming more of an issue nationally.
    I truly think that everyone should have an opportunity to go to college, especially because almost every professional job is recommending or requiring at least a bachelor’s degree. Sooner or later, it is going to be required to have a bachelor’s degree to work for any job, not just professional. If a law can be passed to make tuition a whole lot cheaper or just make college free, everybody will have the chance to go to college.

  40. Kevin Metz May 3, 2019 at 7:36 pm #

    The pursuit of a college education comes with a price. At this day and age, that price has become increasingly high. This makes college seem more out of reach than ever before as student loan debt is above $1 trillion across the United States. When it comes to presidential elections, this is a frequent issue that is addressed. Many solutions have been considered such as eliminating student loan debt or even eliminating tuition with hopes of increasing students’ motivation to attend a college or university. However, free college tuition does not seem in close reach. This article discusses the Degree Project in which a certain number of students were promised $12,000 to go toward college. Although there was an increase in FAFSA completion and college application, there was no effect on students going directly to college after high school. Personally, my motivation to pursue a college education came from my family. Since my sister attended a four-year university, my parents expected the same from me. Knowing this, I was made aware of the importance of academic preparation from a young age as mentioned in this article. Regardless, college tuition is a stress to all post-high school graduates. Often times, this causes people to not even consider pursuing a higher education. It is inevitable almost every college student graduates with some form of debt. Therefore, free college tuition would not only be a financial relief, but it would also increase students’ motivation to attend. Receiving a college education has become nearly essentially in today’s society which is why more students should be able to see a college education in their future.

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