Should States Implement Free Community College Education?
Many financial issues surround community college education. Community college fees should be free to encourage students to start working towards their goals by joining the school. A free community college education is necessary to help students graduate. Some students are known to drop out of school due to a lack of school fees. Such students do not make it to their graduation after the stipulated years of completion of higher education. They are making the community college education free will, therefore eliminating the school dropout and increasing student motivation to join the school. The state government should support and implement free community college education for all students regardless of their economic status. The rate of illiteracy in the community will decrease because many of the students will have access to free higher education. Free education has been introduced as a solution for school dropouts.
Students can enjoy the privilege and freedom without fear of overwhelming school fees they may face. The students are also encouraged to honor the help and work hard to shape their life. On the contrary, the free community college education is currently facing a lot of ups and downs in raising the money to cover the budget for free community education. The issue has raised debates between the poor and the rich. Parents are finding it hard to ensure their children are at school. The issue has resulted in heavy taxation on lower and middle-class families. This paper will discuss a critical analysis of a significant issue in the finance of high education.
According to Miller et al. (2020), free community college plays an important role in ensuring that there is enough educated workforce. The students experience three years of academic support and other services used to manage the barriers to student success. The program requires the students to participate in program services and allows the students to increase the number of graduates (Miller et al., 2020). The study shows that there are many graduation rates with a proven model in community college.
Goldrick-Rab & Cady (2018) shows that community colleges are unique in graduating students from low socioeconomic statuses. The study further shows that there is an issue with the completion rates of the college. The college focuses on programs to facilitate completion rates at 38% of overall higher education (Goldrick-Rab & Cady, 2018). There has been a combination of declining state support, stagnant family income, rising tuition fee, and increased cost of living. The challenges are fueled by inadequate access to health care and transportation. The conditions result in a steep price when it comes to learning post-secondary.
Levin et al. (2018) stated that community college students face considerable challenges reconciling requirements and conflicting values. There has been pressure from state government policies, including logic of the institution and state funding behaviors that are deeply ingrained over decades. The practice and policies of states pushed political, social, and economic agendas onto the respective community colleges (Levin et al., 2018). Individual state characteristics should be accountable for the research community college’s education policies and design. The colleges respond to the state policy compliance with external forces and actions to adjust to state funding reduction. President Bidden did not propose how the government would come up with the funds.
Levin et al. (2018) explore the influence of governmental forces on public community colleges. The main keywords are enrolment, staffing, finance, governance, and curriculum. As a result of reduced state funding for higher education and recent moves by Washington to reduce federal spending, community college students have had to contend with a shrinking pot of money to aid them as they complete their degrees. The main role of community college is to expand access to post-secondary studies for many young students from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Building the community college was to provide equal rights to all state residents. The states provide grants and aids to the students in the college. The state planned to reduce the further underfunded, underdeveloped, and marginally viable colleges (Levin et al., 2018). Several states authorized collective bargaining, and the curriculum laws tend to be prescriptive. The laws affecting students in community colleges include tuition waivers for senior students, disadvantaged students, and veterans. The community college offered scholarship funds. The legislative activity focuses on administration and finances. The operations costs were being enacted across the board. Several states considered legislation to establish prepaid tuition funds and tax credits.
The American ideals of meritocracy and opportunity advocate for students to succeed in college. Regardless of the family finances and background. Huelsman (2018) states that public universities and colleges should be made available to more students through investing in affordable education to strengthen the individual’s opportunities and help the country grow out the economy. Students’ funding has been downward for years following a government downturn in business cycles (Huelsman, 2018). The degree of high quality has been linked to financial stability. The government and policymakers have abandoned their promises and imposed cuts on taxpayers’ support due to a small-government ideology. The public’s lower taxes and investment levels do not support degree credentials, and it is primarily a modest contribution of families. Today’s students are affected by the consequences of neglect, austerity, and lack of political fortitude. Indeed, today’s students face higher college prices than the previous generation. The scenario is different in various states’ commitments. The states with many working-class families and support seem strong also face tuition bills. The tuition bills make a very large portion of the family income.
Huelsman (2018) states that public investment in post-secondary of college education pays off for states, communities, and nations. Public support in higher education should be simply a matter of investing resources where shared values align. The data by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicates that the net public return for every student in the US is around $100,000 to $300,000. The tax revenue and public spending for student shows a persistent link of 3% to 4% for every investment. The other links are greater health outcomes, lower public assistance spending, and lower crime rates (Huelsman, 2018). The communities will only be productive if the government support is great in supporting high education. The students and families will have agency towards their own goals.
Many politicians have decided to base on an individualistic safety net. A well-organized political movement advocating for lower taxes and small government has changed over time. The conception of higher education coincides with the sharing of people of color and social services. The recession has negatively impacted the employment sector. There are fewer jobs, more workers, and more students, thus causing the graduates to return to school to make themselves attractive in the markets and gain more skills (Huelsman, 2018). It is difficult for states to balance their budgets during downturns when states receive less revenue. The government often reduces funding higher education together with other vital services to manage such instances. The funding effects is also experienced when families lose jobs or receive pay cut while spending more on their savings is a clear indication of underfunding students’ tuition. The government can either increase aid available to needy students or decrease it. It will help the students to have a quality, affordable option.
The federal government can pass a law that pressures states to increase public college funding to share responsibility. The federal movement has devised a path for students of color and disabilities in the free community college. The rising cost of attending has drafted the maximum Pell grant. The student loan program has been linked to the increasing college prices and federal government response on pushing the burden on rising college prices on the students (Huelsman, 2018). The government offered the students subsidies on interest rates and various repayment options. This approach of giving loans will make students encounter hefty loan obligations. A student’s loan is a good debt borrowed against one likely future success. Working-class students of color are more likely to have trouble repaying the loans.
College students have been feeling deliberate in policy decisions. Public institutions that cannot rely on research grants, endowments, and donations resort to maintenance and laying off faculty members. The center of budget and policy has reported that most states have pre-recession funding levels to help post-secondary education students (Huelsman, 2018). The institutions that once relied on state funding have engaged in other activities such as increasing tuition fees and cutting programs. The institutions respond to a financial crisis as states decrease education funding and college. It is heartbreaking that state-funded services relied much more on tuition and fees. The erosion of the per-student spending recession happened just as the socioeconomic and racial make-up of the college has changed.
The American College Promise Act (ACPA) ensures free college tuition fees for low-income students. The federal government accounts for 20% of the tuition fee. The student’s number keeps increasing in community colleges, and the government must act within the clock to ensure that all the students receive free tuition fees. The ACPA will increase the number of students and reduce their debts (Huelsman, 2018). The taxpayers are expected to pay less. The cost of highly educated labor rises faster than the inflation rate.
President Joe Biden delivers a promise to offer free tuition for a community college to students across the country. If the plan became successful, he said he would boost the US and the middle class to compete with other countries (Sáenz et al., 2018). Joe Biden’s plan will cost $45.5 billion to offer two years of free tuition for community college within the states for a 10-year plan. It would be the largest investment of Joe Biden in higher education (Miller et al., 2020). A student receiving a Pell Grant could only afford 41% of a two-year public college. College tuition has risen dramatically recently. The free tuition for community college can lead to a higher college enrolment and combat the affordability gap (Huelsman, 2018). It also can lead to high wages for students of color and low income.
Settling the bill still needs tuition assistant through expanded need-based financial aid. The community, college enrolment rate plummeted during the Covid 19 pandemic. The undergraduate is 44% blacks, 55% Hispanic, 41% white, and 45% Asian. The students who enrolled in the community college came from families earning less than $20,000 annually. The gap keeps widening for the households who cannot afford to attend 1 to 5% of the college year. The rising cost of community college has led to the state and localities’ efforts to experiment with free tuition college programs. In 2015, President Barack Obama made two years of college free education by calling for legislation to make public universities and colleges free (Miller et al., 2020). According to Obama, tuition cost was reduced to zero for all students across the social class. The project will cost around $ 60 billion for ten years.
This time, the effort to make community college free will fail due to Biden’s administration spending priorities disappointing progressive groups. The expansion of Pell Grant’s education for low-income students is still at the table being negotiated. Biden had hinted about removing the free community program from the final bill. Joe Biden’s campaign trail emphasizes tuition-free community college, which he addressed as the backbone of America and key to his economic agenda and a way to rebuild the middle class (Miller et al., 2020). Higher education has considerably expanded in many countries. Virtual education has increased during the pandemic, increasing the participation rate. There has been an increase in the inflow of international students. Public spending has gone up across OEEP. Higher education financing has been staggering due to budgetary pressure and the financial crisis causing reforms.
Gurantz (2020) states that the rising income inequality had reinvigorated a national dialogue between adults with and without a college degree. The issues encompass the growth in a post-secondary institution, adjusting for inflation. Family income is a strong indicator of post-secondary success. Post-secondary pricing has prompted a trend as to whether college should essentially be free or not (Gurantz, 2020). The rising tuition exacerbates inequality in college costs. The program structure and aid allocation are necessary for the financial aid’s effectiveness. The academic merits have increased post-secondary completion and attendance due to grants. The federal tax benefits do not impact enrollment. It is vital to consider how aid is allocated. Most are allocated as scholarships.
During Covid 19, the National Center for Statistics (NCS) integrated a data system for post-secondary education to identify not-for-profit degree universities and colleges. The learning institution enrolls more than 20,000 part-time and full-time students. The counties with large university and college websites were used to draft a fall class start date. The instructi0onal format was given to schools in each county. Schools with similar start dates instructional format was assigned (Leidner et al., 2021). The plan has little impact on existing students. Free tuition beneficiaries have to look for concessions in the future to increase the maximum Pell Grants. States must adopt a free college system to avoid debt pilling up among students. The bill will help the historically excluded communities and allow students to obtain their college certification without the fear of facing a lifetime of debts.
Joe Biden has hinted that the future workforce requires more than a high school degree. In his presidential bid, the plan is a priority for Biden and will allow more than 6 million students to earn a credential for free. Today, over 45 million students in America have borrowed over $1.7 trillion in loan debt from federal states (Leidner et al., 2021). The age bracket of loan borrowers are 25 to 34 year—the lean hinders young individuals from purchasing homes, saving for retirements, and expanding their businesses. Truly low-income students, for whom financial barriers to college access are real, already receive grants that typically cover all community college tuition virtually. In conjunction with that, there is strong evidence that students do better in college when they have to pay part of the cost.
The loan can be repaid in 20 years on $4000 monthly. The trend in college education is worrying, with an increasing tuition fee of about 250%. Previously students could work through college and pay for their education. Today it is impossible since the wage cannot afford to pay college education which has increased eight times its original fee (Leidner et al., 2021). The cost of higher education is widening the gap by fueling the system of generational wealth, race, and gender. The student debt cancelation will build back a better equitable economy. Those who get higher education tend to have more opportunities in their lives, and higher incomes tend to be healthier. The White House stated that the state government would have to fund 25% of the tuition costs, while the federal government would sum the rest (Miller et al., 2020). Any college experience has a measurable benefit compared with no post-secondary education.
Higher levels of education correspond to lower levels of poverty and unemployment. College graduates tend to have more positive perceptions and low incarceration rates. From a budgetary view, there could be concern about how much money community colleges will need to keep their doors open for students looking to get two years of education for the cost of zero. The young children of college graduates show a higher readiness for learning. Financing a college student requires a system of financing such as loans and grants. The national system of a minimal educational grant has proved to supplement and will be calculated using an individual budget. Pell Grants are available to public and private undergraduates for a four-year college.
Goldrick-Rab, S., & Cady, C. (2018). Supporting community college completion with a culture of caring: A case study of Amarillo College. Retrieved April, 12, 2019. https://www.actx.edu/president/files/filecabinet/folder10/Wisconsin_HOPE_Lab___A_Case_Study_of_Amarillo_College__print_version_.pdf
Gurantz, O. (2020). What does free community college buy? Early impacts from the Oregon Promise. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 39(1), 11-35.
Huelsman, M. (2018). The unaffordable era: A 50-state look at rising college prices and the new American student. https://doi.org/10.1002/pam.22157https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/83995/UnaffordableEra.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Leidner, A. J., Barry, V., Bowen, V. B., Silver, R., Musial, T., Kang, G. J., … & Pevzner, E. (2021). Opening of large institutions of higher education and county-level COVID-19 incidence—United States, July 6–September 17, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 70(1), 14. https://dx.doi.org/10.15585%2Fmmwr.mm7001a4
Levin, J. S., Martin, M. C., López Damián, A. I., & Hoggatt, M. J. (2018). Preservation of community college logic: Organizational responses to state policies and funding practices in three states. Community College Review, 46(2), 197-220. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0091552118758893
Miller, C., Headlam, C., Manno, M., & Cullinan, D. (2020). Increasing Community College Graduation Rates with a Proven Model: Three-Year Results from the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) Ohio Demonstration. MDRC. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED603027.pdf
Sáenz, V. B., García-Louis, C., Drake, A. P., & Guida, T. (2018). Leveraging their family capital: How Latino males successfully navigate the community college. Community College Review, 46(1), 40-61.