“Democrats have abandoned all efforts to make college tuition free at the federal level.”
The excerpt below is from an op-ed in The Hill.
This is how the author Chris Geary is described:
“a senior policy analyst at New America’s Center on Education and Labor where he focuses on the intersection of higher education and labor policy and seeks to advance educational and economic equity”
Here’s the argument:
Don’t just cancel student debt: The cycle only ends with free college
Lost in the debate regarding President Biden’s anticipated announcement that he plans to cancel student debt is a more complicated, and arguably more important, reality: Democrats have abandoned all efforts to make college tuition free at the federal level.
This means that even if Biden cancels all outstanding student debt, the federal government has not enacted plans to prevent students from accumulating new debt moving forward. While borrowers may momentarily rejoice at debt forgiveness, by tabling plans to make college tuition free, Democrats threaten to undercut their own attempts to expand college access and affordability. Debt cancellation — while potentially meaningful to millions of Americans — will not make higher education affordable without further action. The Biden administration, congressional Democrats, and yes, also Republicans, should do more to make college affordable so that millions of Americans can access the life-enhancing benefits of a college education.
Despite widely varying opinions regarding the appropriate role of higher education in American life, an indisputable fact remains: College degrees pay off. Recent research suggests the economic returns to college degrees are at an all-time high. On average, recent college graduates earn $52,000 per year, while young workers with high school diplomas but no higher education credentials earn only $30,000 per year. This difference, known as the college wage premium, has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. College completion is also associated with lower unemployment rates. So, when talking about a worthwhile investment for an individual and a society, college proves its value as an effective path to higher-paying jobs and economic wellbeing.
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