Ryan is affirmative

Tayseer is negative


Idea 1: Economics/Taxes



For years, the United States has been struggling to build its economy. However, the nation’s economy relies heavily on college graduates, who enter the workforce with massive debt. According to a study by Dissent Magazine, in 2012 over half of the U.S. population had “some college” or postsecondary education, yet the debt they had accumulated in high tuition colleges prevented many of these individuals from finding employment that satisfied them.

College debt continues to be the main deterrent for many capable students wishing to attend a high ranking university, as many families cannot afford even one year of tuition at most colleges. A large number of highly capable students don’t qualify for scholarships, so those accepted to prestigious, expensive schools often have to decline on account of the high tuition. In order for American youth to achieve their greatest potential, free college must become an option.



Theoretically, free college sounds ideal, but the problem remains that these colleges wouldn’t truly be free. They need financing, which would come indirectly from the American people through taxes. In 2014, 52% of U.S. citizens already believed that federal taxes were too high. If free college tuition becomes a reality, tax rates will inevitably surge even higher.

Ninety-three percent of K-12 public education funds come from state and local financing. The money comes from sales, income, and property taxes. Thus, for colleges in the middle of nowhere, money would become a significant issue. Colleges that are in heavily-populated urban areas might thrive while colleges in more rural or sparsely-populated areas would receive very little funding. The quality of these small colleges would degrade, and they might eventually have to shut down, causing many employees to lose jobs.


Idea 2: Education/Institutions



Establishing free college education is essential to the progress of the United States. Students with the drive to pursue a higher education have so much untapped potential, and often their financial situation is the only limiting factor. Capable students who cannot afford college should not be punished for their economic status. College tuition does not even account for the cost of daily essentials—room and board, clothes, food, and other utilities—that students and their families must still pay for.

According to the NCES, the average cost of tuition at private universities across the nation was $41,970 in the 2014-15 school year. In fact, at both public and private universities, the average cost of tuition has been rising for the past few years with no signs of a possible decline. Colleges around the country have been providing financial aid and scholarships for underprivileged students to attend, so in order to continue generating money, they have been increasing tuition.



Colleges and universities, though their primary purpose is education, are still businesses. In order to function properly, they must determine the prices that will allow them to hire professors, arrange courses, and obtain resources necessary for instructing their students. However, if colleges become fully funded by the government, then they won’t be able to set their own prices, and consequently won’t be able to control the quality of their resources. The colleges will no longer try to outdo each other, and so the level of education at many colleges will drop.

In a Gallup-Lumina Foundation survey, only 13 percent of respondents believed that college prepared them for their job. The other 87 percent did not feel ready to enter the adult world and find work. These numbers are alarming considering the amount families have been paying for their children to attend college. Higher education is supposed to prepare students for the workforce, not simply send them into the unknown with just a degree by their side. The difficulties of young students in finding employment is not simply caused by excessive debt, but rather by graduates’ lack of preparation for the job. This stems from the fact that college programs don’t prepare students for the adult world. Students are not well-trained for their ideal jobs, and so they are essentially forced to work in jobs below their abilities.


Idea 3: Philosophy/Moral



No student who wants a college education should be denied one, and no student should be forced to make a decision about college based on financial reasons. Universities around the country have so much to offer to young students. Students who were denied a top education could be the next president, governor, or one of our nation’s doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. Our nation needs bright, educated, young minds. We need college professors to push these students to reach their full potential.

Over 60% of Americans back free college, and that number increases to about 70% when looking at young people between the ages of 18-29 years old. The harsh reality of today’s situation is that financial constraints prohibit many students from attaining the success they could have achieved from attending a university. American students deserve the opportunity to attend a college that will provide them with the best opportunities for success, regardless of their economic status.



The United States has been built on the idea of earning one’s way through life. From the indentured servants of colonial times to individuals who start their own businesses today, Americans have always worked for what they wanted. The essence of free college would be contrary to this idea. However, there already exists a way to obtain a free college education: through the U.S. Military. The military offers countless programs to help support these who want an education but cannot afford one. The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a program offered at more than 1,000 colleges, where the military partially or fully funds students’ tuition. In exchange, these students enlist in the Army for a certain amount of time.

Additionally, many students who are talented enough to enter their ideal schools do receive financial aid or scholarships from those schools. For example, Harvard gives the Harvard Scholarship to 55% of undergraduates, and two-thirds of students work during the school year. This system allows those who need the most help in covering their tuition to receive the most aid. No matter how prestigious a college is, it’s typically willing to help out needy students who are qualified to attend. Students should be ready to work hard to obtain the education that they most want.