The ability to get an education to pursue your dream career should not be a privilege, but a right. We’re all guaranteed the right to be able to pursue happiness, but with the kind of financial barrier that student loans and tuition put on people, that’s a right that most people can’t afford anymore. Free college would give us back that right to pursue happiness, lower the wealth gap, lower unemployment rate, and help to fill some of the many careers that are understaffed and overworked with new employees.
The average cost of college now is $25,290 per year for a public in-state college, $40,940 per year for a public out-of-state college, and $50,900 per year for a private college. Which means these are the average prices for a degree in the US:
An associates degree would be between $50,580 and $101,800 for the two year program.
A bachelor's degree would be between $101,160 and $202,320 for a four year program.
A Masters would be between $151,740 and $305,400 for a full six year program
And the cost of college has been steadily getting higher for decades now, while the cost of living and the number of jobs requiring a degree have gone up exponentially, too. Only 37.5% of Americans age 25 and older have a college degree of some kind, but 65% of all jobs in America require a college degree. College has become a privilege, despite over half of the jobs in America requiring it.
Unemployment rates reflect this pretty well. 4% of people with only a high school education are unemployed, compared to the 2% unemployment rate in people with an associates degree or bachelor’s degree, and only 1% unemployment rate among people with a master’s degree or higher.
There’s a clear line in the racial demographics of college education too, with people of color being less likely to be able to afford to attend college and therefore making up less of the number of college graduates and having less job opportunities than white Americans. An average of 35.2% of white Americans over the age of 25 have a college degree, but only 25.2% of black Americans and 18.3% of hispanic Americans over the age of 25 have a college degree.
With free college, no one would have a financial barrier to getting an education and starting their dream career, or even studying for the sake of learning. Free college would stimulate the economy and workforce, and give it a renewal that it hasn’t seen in decades. Free education for all would help empower people to make the changes that they want to see, as well as participate and organize direct action for the causes important to them. Education is not only a fundamental need for many people and careers, but should be seen as a fundamental right as well, available and accessible to all people.