NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Opinion: The complexity of higher education

I’ve seen the idea recently floating around that colleges should be free.

On the surface that seem like a great idea, but if you look deeper, does everyone deserve to go to college?

I will not lie college is expensive with everything from textbooks that cost hundreds of dollars to scary fees for high-cost courses and their Learning Management Systems (LM.) What I think makes college different than other forms of education such as middle school or high school is that college is the survival of the fittest. In college your education is as good as you make it, either way the college ends up with your money if you pass or fail.

What motivates me to do well in college is a fear of failure, my parents pay for my college education, and we have made a deal that they will pay for me just if I pass my classes. If I fail and have to retake the class, I have to pay them back.

By having a little bit of skin in the game it forces me to do my absolute best. Now if we took that away and made college free it would turn into high school again, people would slack off because there would be no consequences for their failure.

Also, not everyone in society is meant to go to college. The reality is that not everyone is meant for college, some people just work better in trades or in self-employment, it wouldn’t make sense for them to waste all their money on a college education.

The United States needs their minimum wage workers to have a functioning economy.  Some people go into companies without a college education. The end up working a minimum wage position but after years of working there they gain the necessary experience to move up to a better paying job. After reading what I just said you must think I am privileged and ignorant. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think college should be completely free and the current cost for some schools are ridiculous. I think the government should either reduce prices on state schools or they should introduce more programs like the GI bill but for other government agencies. So, if you serve the government, they will pay for your college depending on what school you go to.

Another reform that should be made is to the textbook market.  As I said in the opening the prices student pay for textbooks are ridiculous. The teachers should be able to distribute and pay for the parts of the textbook they need instead of buying the whole thing.

Overall, I think everyone should have a chance at college. I think their succusses should be decided on how much they are willing to work for a good education. Our current education system is flawed but it also promotes survival of the fittest mindset. If you are really motivated to go to an Ivy League school and don’t have the money you can work for it, get good grades, study hard, play a sport, doing stuff like that helps your chances of getting in. If you don’t want to go to college then don’t, you shouldn’t be pressured by society to go down a specific path. You probably won’t go far without a higher education but there is a lot of alternatives to college, such as trade school (which costs significantly less money).