Last semester, President Craft announced that Concordia’s 2014-2015 tuition would stand at $41,484. This $1,510 increase from last year has resulted in this year’s low enrollment and has put students under a lot of pressure. Instead of devoting their time to classes and extracurricular activities, students are constantly worrying about how to pay their tuition.

One student who has had to juggle classes and work during her time at Concordia is senior Jenna Morris. Since her freshman year, Morris has worked 30 hours per week to pay for school. Despite being awarded a scholarship this year, which paid the rest of her tuition, Morris spends 60-65 hours per week away from her studies because she has to be at work. Morris is not the only student faced with such circumstances. According to Lynn O’Shaughnessy’s CBS News article, “More students working (a lot) in college,” 71 percent of the country’s 19.7 million undergraduates worked during the 2011 academic year. One in five of these individuals worked at least 35 hours per week, which made them more susceptible to fall behind in classes, commit suicide and endure high levels of unnecessary stress. Taking these factors into consideration, I believe America’s government officials need to implement a free education system that permits citizens to attend college despite their economic standing.

One of the main reasons our higher education system needs to be reevaluated is because the nation’s youth need to be afforded an opportunity to create a bright future. According to Tejvan Peeinger’s Econmicshelp.org article “Should University Education be Free,” implementing this proposal would enable more citizens to acquire bachelor degrees, which will result in more job opportunities, solving our nation’s poverty levels and providing individuals with their basic necessities. Peeinger’s research has also shown that this new installment can help America prosper both economically and socially.  According to Peeinger’s article, an increase in universal educational programs will help us to create new technologies, fix the nation’s inequality level and allow us to gain more revenue, which will enable our nation’s economic and social standing to remain level.

Despite the advantages a free education system could bring to our nation, Americans could be concerned over how our nation would obtain the money needed to pay for education programs.  Although this is a valid concern, several nations around the world, including Norway, Germany and Argentina, have remained afloat while providing their citizens with an opportunity to achieve their educational goals. In order to accomplish this, those nations have set aside portions of their taxes to pay the university staff and for classroom materials. Students would still be required to pay for books, housing and meals, but would be able to enjoy the social aspect of college and focus on understanding class material. Overall, if our countries’ governmental officials created a plan similar to nations already paying for their citizen’s higher education programs, we could reduce the pressure future students would feel and help our country flourish both in and outside of the classroom.

Allie Smeeth

Hello! My name is Allie Smeeth, I am currently a junior at Concordia. I am majoring in Multimedia Journalism and minoring in Communications. Throughout my time at Concordia I've been involved in Habitat For Humanity, the Concordian and am currently involved in the up and coming Family Weekend Committee. Other than doing school work, I enjoy reading, watching tv, and hanging out with my lovely fellow cobbers. I grew up in Germany and have lived in South Carolina, Nebraska and Minnesota for the past three years. After college I plan on going to grad school for communications and plan on working at a non-profit in the cities after I've completed graduate school.

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