Green River Star -

By Jack H. Smith
Staff Writer 

College shouldn't be free


I’m not a morning person.

I arrive to work around 8 a.m. and before I get going with work and making phone calls, I always like to spend a few minutes looking at other newspapers and catching up on sports from the night before. This is usually the relaxing point of my day, but I also use this as an opportunity to come up with ideas for things to write about and this was the case today.

I came across an article today about President Obama and his idea about giving people two free years of community college.

The tone of my columns lately has probably made me seem crabby, much like I am in the morning, and this certainly was the case when I thought about this idea.

While the details of what the President wants to do won’t fully be known until his State of the Union speech later this month, there are some basic points of the plan the have been released.

The plan would allow anyone who wants to go to community college have their tuition paid free of charge for two years as long as they keep a 2.5 grade point average.

The federal government would pay 75 percent and the state government would pick up the rest of the tab.

I understand the importance of higher education and getting a well-trained workforce, but I do not like this plan at all.

When someone graduates from high school it really is the end of one the biggest chapters of their life that segues them into everything that goes along with adulthood.

During these crucial years, I feel it’s very important for people to learn to fend for themselves and not have to lean on anyone else.

You learn to pay rent, bills, and everything else that goes along with being independent. This also includes figuring out what you want to do for a living, and often times this includes some sort of additional education.

I wholeheartedly believe that if someone wants to go to college, this should be something they need to figure out on their own.

They shouldn’t need to have the government coming in and taking care of them.

I’ve got no problem with student loans, because that is something you have to pay back. It’s not a free of charge thing.

There are also many grants and scholarships available, but that is something the student has to work for. It’s not just given to them. Students work very hard to get scholarships and if you’ve ever filled out a FAFSA form, you know that this probably takes more time than it took to build the transcontinental railroad.

Not everyone in the world has parents who are willing to pay for their education, and I understand how hard that is.

At the same time, figuring this out without the help of free tuition is an important part of figuring out the world.

I got a little help from my parents and grandparents, but I paid my tuition with my summer jobs and working doing the school year.

Was it hard, yes, but it made me feel better about myself and I learned the value of hard work and what you can accomplish with it.

I never missed a class because that would be a waste of my money, and when your waiting tables or digging ditches life isn’t fun and every dollar is important.

I won’t say that I’m affiliated to any political party, but sometimes I think the government should really be focusing on other things and providing free college isn’t one of them.

Maybe they should worry about staying out of debt before the try and make college free.

I also understand that not everyone that goes to college is not a 18-year-0ld high school graduate.

There are a lot of non-traditional students who are trying to make their life better. I laud their efforts, but at the same time, the path should not be any different.

I’ve witnessed a lot of non-traditional students succeed and this was without President Obama telling them the government will help them out.

It’s a tough road to go to college, but it’s one that can be done without free tuition.


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