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Free college tuition would decrease the worth of a degree

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In an interview with CNN Sunday Bernie Sanders said, “This is not fantasy — this is reality” about his efforts to make college tuition free. Some may think free tuition would be the answer to every student’s financial problems. The reality, however is free tuition would only create more problems and would not help students work toward keeping good grades or help them stay in school.

Sanders said it is unfair for students not to attend college because they cannot afford to pay for it.

“How is it starting at college that hundreds of thousands of bright young people are unable to go to college because they can’t afford it?” Sanders said.

Having free college tuition would decrease the hard work it takes to go to college. Students work for scholarships to pay for their postsecondary education. Some save from their part-time jobs in order to save for college. Without this hard work, going to college would not be as significant in a person’s career path, but the work required to attend would be equivalent to attending high school. Those who cannot afford college should have more access to scholarships rather than a general free tuition.

Additionally, a college degree would be the equivalent to a high school degree: anyone can receive it if minimal work is used. College is about work. Whether it be through studying to keep good grades for scholarships or through part time jobs to pay for college, these are the experiences students don’t always receive in high school.

According to a Charleston Gazette-Mail article, West Virginia has a 24 percent college completion rate for a four-year degree. West Virginia also ranked eighth lowest in college completion rates. If students did not have to pay for their tuition, there would be no incentive to stay in school. In high school, students are required to stay until they are 16 and then they may decide to leave if they choose. With free college tuition, students would have no incentive to commit to college because they paid little for their education. All a student would need were the required textbooks and housing if they were not a commuter. A student would still have to pay for college, but it would not be as expensive. But the motivation to commit to college would decrease because there would be less money spent and less important to stay. 

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