Would you pay higher taxes to make higher education free?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18 Comments

  • Chris - 6 years ago

    Anyone voting yes doesn't understand that higher taxes better education. It just means that someone is skimming more and more money. This will also necessarily make the cost of tuition EVEN HIGHER.

  • Andrew - 6 years ago

    Taxes are already high. They will continue to raise, as they always have. Governments always spend more than they take in, and always raise taxes. Programs put into place rarely expire; they live forever. There is no incentive for those that pay taxes to make more in a progressively taxed system. There is in incentive to finish school and work, in a free tuition system.
    There is no incentive for schools to compete with one another, when they are funded entirely or mostly by government funding.
    Keep raising taxes. See how all socialist societies end up. Don't learn from history. Reinvent the wheel.

  • The problem with rising tuition costs in the US lies both with the government and of course with the colleges. The government, at both state and federal levels, is retracting its funding for public universities all throughout the country because of government spending cuts. The state of Arizona, for example, lead the pack by cutting 48% of its university spending between 2008 and 2014. Alaska and North Dakota were the only two states that didn't cut university spending during that period.
    In 2009, the federal government bought up around 10% of private student loans to "save" lending companies during the recession, but then turned around and doubled the interest rates (an average of 6%) on those new Department of Education loans. By doing this, those students are inevitably paying a form of tax. To simply put it, the federal government is paying off its debt by taking advantage of students.
    The problem with the US colleges and universities themselves is that they are slowly placing more emphasis on other things, such as athletics, than they are on education. They raise their tuition to build brand new stadiums and sports facilities and give full scholarships to the best athletes. The University of Michigan is paying their new head football coach, Jim Harbaugh, at least $7 million a year for his vital role at the university. In Germany, they don't mix sports with universities the way we do in the US. In Germany, you can play intramural sports for 10€ a semester if you want to, but your not forced to pay an extraordinary tuition rate if you don't participate, as is the case for most students in the US. Of course everyone in Germany is supporting the upkeep of the universities and their facilities through taxes, but you're not forced into debt to "invest" in your future, as is the case in the US.
    Universities in the US need to get their priorities in order and focus on education, as do the universities here in Germany. I did my master's degree at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main and feel that I have already gained a return of (time) investment (a semester only costs ca. 350€ max in Germany), whereas in the US, I took out over $100,000 worth of student loans to get a private college bachelor's degree and couldn't even find job after graduation.
    In my opinion, the trend in the US will continue until people actually stand up and dissent. The government should not be involved in education in the US because when they get involved, tuition rates rise at ridiculous rate, as is currently happening. Therefore, I would be against government taking over education in the US. The colleges should raise tuition proportional to the average income in a state.
    American's should be against high tuition costs because they're costing us the lives of our future.

  • TroubleBruin - 6 years ago

    I would support some free higher education, especially for high achieving students, but schools would have to reign in the costs of education and provide better linkages with employment. I fully belive in the liberal arts model of education, but today's economic climate means that students should be given a chance to learn applicable skills that will put them in a good position in the market. Even one Life/work skills general education requirement in lieu of some of the admittedly bogus GEs could fulfill this, along with more aggressive partnerships and internships in industry.

  • Chelsea - 6 years ago

    We are not a generation of entitlement. We are a generarion of compassion and artistic passion. We are a generation that breeds creativity and acceptance. We promote life, happiness, and opportunity. You might have heard of these things, just some of what our beautiful country was founded on. I do not believe that it is the position of anyone to tell a student or graduate that their education or major was not or is not useful. It is not what you study but how you apply what you have studied. It is not how "useful" your chosen path is, but how passionate you are about taking that path. Education is an opportunity, a right, and a tool to be used to build a better America. It should not be capitalized on. Students and Americans should not be taken advantage of while trying to create opportunity. These are my beliefs, as a part of what you call this "generation of entitlement." Life is not black and white. Life is not a retail transaction, a marketing scheme, or something to capitalize on. Life is opportunity, and we've got no right to take that from anyone because of income.

  • Irene Meadows - 6 years ago

    You all realize that only a select number of Germans get to even go to college. They determine in 5th grade whether or not you are on the university track. So how would you like to be paying 50% of hour income to the government yet you aren't the one who gets to go to college for free?

  • SA - 6 years ago

    Perhaps the question should be twofold: (1) Do you pay taxes? (2) If you answered "Yes" to the first question, would you like to pay more so that others can get a free college education?

  • Bill - 6 years ago

    Generation of entitlement! Get your education like all previous ones. Work for it and earn it. Don't rely on others to provide for you. .

  • Stephan B. Feibish - 6 years ago

    You destroy free market mechanisms when you have the government tamper with prices. And having the government run a program is sure to create waste and inefficiency,

  • Stephan B. Feibish - 6 years ago

    You destroy free market mechanisms when you have the government tamper with prices. And having the government run a program is sure to create waste and inefficiency,

  • Stephan B. Feibish - 6 years ago

    Anything that's free gets abused.

  • Ann - 6 years ago

    For this country to prosper, we need to educate our own children rather than rely on importing educated workers from abroad. Back when security came from owning land, land was given to homesteaders. Now education is opportunity. Let's make it available to more than a fortunate few.

  • Sheila Martin - 6 years ago

    I spent a year living and teaching in Slovenia where higher education was free. There were some problems that I believe could be addressed. Students took too long to graduate because they had little incentive to finish. It was actually harder for them to find a job after they graduated than before, because labor contracts for students were more flexible. They were also able to repeat classes and exams over and over until they passed. So some did not take their classes seriously. Most had to leave the country to find jobs because of the stagnation of labor markets there. Germany is a different case--they recognize that their thriving labor market needs a diverse workforce to succeed.

    The US in the post war era experienced an economic boom by making higher ed cheap and available to almost anyone. Even in the late 1970's, higher education was much cheaper. My family was middle class with eight kids and my parents had no savings for higher education. My tuition was $600 per semester, and I received state scholarships that helped. It all ended in 1980, when my need based scholarships ended and I had to take loans and work study to make ends meet. Still, my debt when I finished was minimal compared to what students do today.

  • Roger - 6 years ago

    Evidently NPR readers need only hear the word "free" to get excited and vote yes. I cannot imagine anything run by our government being as efficient as Germany's system. It would be a giant waste of money and provide little return. We do need to make changes, but asking people who already paid to pay for everyone else too is not only unfair, but also immoral.

  • Robert - 6 years ago

    I hope that, if any policy-makers are looking at this poll, they will realize that it is too simplistic. I voted to make college free, but my addendum would be, "For qualified students." So: Free for engineers, doctors, nurses, scientists, teachers -- students in USEFUL majors. Since we have too many business, pre-law, art, and theatre majors, THOSE would not be free. And you have to be qualified for college. In my youth, that meant only the top third or so of the population. Let's face it: Not everyone should be getting a college degree! For the rest -- free vocational training, but let's make college still COLLEGE. That also means some breadth of coursework -- no majors where you take eighteen courses in how to cheat your clients and employees but can't write, don't know basic science, and have never read Chaucer. Grand summary: Make college free -- but make it worth attending, too. We've forgotten BOTH halves of that proposition.

  • Blancanales - 6 years ago

    If USA is to stay on top in the world this needs to happen or a hybrid version free and paid high education. Smarter population, smarter products, well hopefully.

  • FuzzyBunnyFeet - 6 years ago

    I'm decades past my college graduation, yet I would gladly pay higher taxes to make higher education free. Heck, I'll gladly pay higher taxes to improve the living standards of our primary and secondary school teachers.

  • Andrew - 6 years ago

    I believe German schools don't waste undergraduate's time with non elective courses that just fill time e.g. history of rock and roll. The UK is the same. You study engineering and only take courses relevant to the main course being studied. The us would do well to follow this example. Taxes could also be used for free healthcare but to many that would be too socialist

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