Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Could free public college tuition become a threat to Augustana?

With many of the Democratic candidates for 2020 advocating for free tuition in public college’s, it’s essential to ask what would this would mean for Augustana, as a small private liberal arts school. 
Kent Barnds, the executive vice president of external relations at Augie says, “there is no such thing as free college,” and he’s right. In particular, with the cost of books, dining services, and housing, students would still have to deal with expenses at schools that may have free tuition.
In addition, Barnds argued that “free college does not mean debt free college, there has to be a catch.” That “catch” could be anything from being required to live and work in the same state you went to college in for a set amount of years, or having to join the military, we don’t know yet.
When it comes time to vote, taxpayers and college students alike will have to seriously consider what the implications of having “free college” could mean to not just them, but also America as a whole.
If public colleges were able to get free schooling for their students, where would the money come from to pay for faculty wages, as well as faculty’s retirement, benefits, and pension? The answer would most likely be the taxpayers dollar or potentially having to cut all faculty members to part time.
Barnds also said that “Free requires the support of taxpayer.” To make free college possible, taxpayer support is essential to the process.
Although, if free public college tuition were to ever happen Barnds said, “I don’t think that it would be a threat to Augustana. We cater to a certain type of student than what public colleges do.” Which is true, Augustana is known for its diverse and unique opportunities that it offers students in and outside of the classroom.
To further that, if free college were to come about, public schools do not have the space to accommodate more students, meaning that they would have to become more select in the types of students they admit. Therefore, Augustana could still uphold it’s standards and integrity for its students without much concern in a drop of student admissions.
With Augustana’s impeccable image for student life and education, if free college were to become a thing after the 2020 election, Augustana would still thrive.  Augustana will still be the same ol’ Augie we all know and love in part because of the dedication of faculty, students, alums, and the preservation of the specific culture here at Augustana.

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Could free public college tuition become a threat to Augustana?