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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Million Student March reveals entitlement

Let me preface this column by saying I really wish out-of-state tuition at the UA wasn’t so high. But, regardless of that sentiment, the Million Student March movement is one of the most repulsive, selfish and shortsighted rallies I have witnessed in the last few years.

College students around the nation are protesting tuition costs and student debt. Their list of three demands are: tuition-free college, cancellation of all student debt and a minimum wage of $15 for all campus workers.

That’s hilariously insane.

Tuition-free college won’t happen, and it shouldn’t. What these protesters are probably envisioning when they think of college being “tuition-free” is their college delivering its same-quality education, only without the leering debt waiting for students after graduation.

There is no way that is feasible. If college was free and the level of education and value of a degree remained the same, I would be totally on board. The fact is, it is naïve to believe that a purely government-funded school system will operate smoothly.

Because free public high schools are doing so well, right?

If we are concerned with how much our diplomas actually matter now, can you imagine if tuition-free college happened? If college was free, according to my economy 200 class, the demand for a degree would jump up. The more demand, the more college students enrolled. The more college students enrolled would lead to more college graduates. College graduates would flood into the job market at an unprecedented rate and you may not get that precious job you were gunning for while in school.

The fact is, college would turn into high school 2.0 due to the uptick of graduates. The degree would become more worthless and yield less of a return, similar to high school diplomas.

High school graduates have a median income of more than $5,000 higher than those who didn’t graduate, according to 2013 National Center for Education statistics. If college was free, an income discrepancy between college graduates and those without a college degree similar to that one wouldn’t be a crazy idea.

The master’s degree would be the new bachelor’s degree. That pattern would continue until each degree would lose its worth, and we’d be stuck in school for 15 years to have any discernible skill needed in society.

I admire the passion of this Million Student March—they have set up a website and a hashtag trending like wildfire—but I have to question the thought behind it.

Who would this be helping? Would it be helping the poor, inner-city kid who gets terrible high school grades because she works an overnight shift to help feed her family, or a middle-class suburbanite who just hates not having enough money to go out on the weekends?

The fact is, that inner-city girl isn’t going to get into college, and she won’t be given a chance at higher education. According to an article from DoSomething.org, less than 30 percent of high school students from the bottom quarter of the income spectrum will get into a four-year school. But, yeah, let’s throw more tax dollars at the frat dude who will be pissed if he has to pay off some loans.

Lower-income students do get a lot of financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and I think expanding those is a good idea, but the majority of people in college are already well-off, and this would be a very shortsighted way of dealing with middle-class people’s debt.

The broader picture here is that our generation is entitled. If you go to college and don’t have a scholarship, you know beforehand that the cost will be steep. If it is such a problem, why not try community college? Save two years of tuition costs, but yeah activist, you’re right, that would be so lame.

Even requesting this tuition-free college thing is laughably ignorant. Don’t like loans? Get a scholarship! I have four siblings, and there was no way my parents, who are both teachers, could afford college for all of us. Well, we all got full-ride scholarships. I got a high test score, but a few of my brothers played football. We all found our own ways to avoid the debt.

Sometimes, doing work yourself is necessary, and the Million Student March is a ridiculously entitled demand.


Follow Scott Baca on Twitter.


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