Carstens: Sanders Promotes Free Tuition, This Cannot Happen

Courtney Carstens

On February 1st, Democratic presidential nominee Bernie Sanders visited Iowa State University campus hoping to rally in more young Iowans before the Caucasus with one big motivation for students to vote for him. That motivation is his promise to make post-secondary education free.

College tuition cannot be free. The financial aid or FAFSA, grants and loans that our government gives us, helps those who really need the aid to get into college.

As Americans, it would be financially irresponsible to allow our government to pay for our schooling. As a nation, we do not have the kind of money to give out when our national debt is so high. Furthermore, we would have to compensate for the money through taxes. Not only is our national debt so high but we have such a high population when compared to governments that do give free post-secondary education.

Many people use the example of the Netherlands as representation of a successful country that gives its citizens free college. However, what these people fail to mention is the fact that the income tax rate for most citizens is between 33.55 to 52 percent.

That means that if you make a gross income of $52,229, which is what the average household in Iowa makes, than you are giving roughly $17,500 to $27,100  of your hard earned cash to the government. I know that, as Americans, we hate our income tax rates as they are, so why do we want to inflate them?

Not only is their tax rate much higher, but the Netherlands’ population is much smaller as well. With a population of 17,004,993 people, the Netherlands has only 0.5 percent of our own population. Neither the government nor our people can afford to pay for our citizens post-secondary education. 

Our country does what it can by giving assistance to those who need help paying for a college education through loans, scholarships and grants. Not only does the government do this for its citizens, but many colleges give out scholarships for grades and for those who need help affording college. People everyday make ends meet when attending college.

I paid for one entire year at Iowa State by saving money throughout my high school career because I was motivated to go to college.

Motivation. Motivation is a driving force for anyone who wishes go be successful. Without it, we lack the drive to do well. If we give college to our citizens, what gives them a motivation to do well in classes? Nothing. One thing most of my professors this semester did was show us the first day of classes was the cost of missing a single lecture which was suppose to motivate us to attend as many lectures as possible.

It motivated me because it was my own money that was used to pay for tuition so I knew the price tag for my dorm, food, classes and my class materials. According to the most recent information released by Iowa State, the average in-state tuition is roughly 7000 dollars while out-of-state tuition is roughly 20,000 dollars. 

I don’t want my money to go to waste so I attend lectures regularly, I keep my class materials in good shape so I can sell them at the end of the semester and I care more about my grades. That is motivation and that is what we would be taking away from our students if we allow Bernie Sanders to try and get our government to pay for our tuition.

No, I do not want free tuition for college even though many of my fellow students do. Taxes do not need to be higher and I want the motivation push me through college and get that degree.