Saturday, March 28, 2015 02:47pm
North Adams, MA now: 25 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: Should College Be Free?
By Bill Schmick On: 04:18PM / Thursday February 09, 2012
Important
0
Interesting
0
Funny
0
Awesome
0
Infuriating
0
Ridiculous
0
It is a debate that has occupied this country for years. Should college be free to all Americans or should we continue to pay for it? Those in favor argue it is one of our inalienable rights. Those opposed say college is a privilege to be earned and paid for in order for it to have meaning and merit.

I  suspect the majority of Americans who are still paying off student loans, or are already paying for a college education (or soon will be) would vote for free tuition. Who can blame them?

My daughter was born in 1980 and graduated college in 2002. During that time period, the cost of a college education increased almost 400 percent. Looking at prices today, I would say I got off fairly cheap. Americans spent almost $100 billion last year to send over 14 million students to public colleges and universities. We all know that tuition and fees continue to skyrocket, climbing 6.6 percent annually. Yet, most of us believe that going to college is essential and the key to an economic future and the American dream.

Costs differ because not all colleges charge the same. Forty-four percent of all full-time college students attending a four-year college are paying less than $9,000 per year for tuition and fees. That’s a lot of money for a family pulling in $50,000 annually. At the other end of the spectrum, roughly 28 percent of full-time students are attending private, non-profit institutions and are paying at least $36,000 annually. Those numbers do not include the cost of living, eating, school supplies and a long list of other school expenses. All but the wealthiest American families are priced out of that market.

To be fair, most students receive some kind of financial aid, usually from the local, state or federal governments. That aid amounted to about $178 billion this year. That means the average student probably received a little over $12,500 in aid and about half of that won’t have to be repaid.

When you account for all student loan programs, grants, tax breaks and such the government is already paying for almost half the tuition, so why not the rest?

Much of the debate comes down to why the government should pay for schooling at all. Critics argue that the public school system is already a disaster. Our students’ learning abilities have already fallen way behind their peers in other countries. Our high schools are becoming a breeding ground for drugs, crime and dropouts. If we allow colleges to become part of this flawed system, critics say, then we may as well call an end to the educational system in America.

It might be helpful, therefore, to explore why a free educational system evolved in America in the first place.

It was Thomas Jefferson who first suggested creating a public school system. He and others like him argued that common education would create good citizens, unite society and prevent crime and poverty. The debate raged for many years. It took until the end of the 19th century before free public education at the primary level was available to all American children.

High school was a different story. Although the first publically supported secondary school, the Boston Latin School, was founded in 1635, it was Benjamin Franklin who first saw the need for something more than a primary education. The demand for skilled workers in the middle of the 18th century led Franklin to establish a new kind of secondary school called the American Academy in Philadelphia in 1751. Once again, public secondary education was no easy sell.

It wasn't until the 20th century that high schools took off. when the majority of states extended compulsory education laws to the age of 16. From 1900 to 1996, when government began paying for secondary education, the percentage of teenagers who graduated from high school increased from 6 percent to 85 percent.

Since then the purpose of a free education has widened from Jefferson's concept of ensuring that citizens could read, write (vote) and remain law-abiding to something more. In order to escape poverty and to provide a skilled labor force for the industrial revolution, Franklin and his peers believed a secondary education was deemed to be in the national interest.

This history lesson has a point. Ask yourself two questions. Are we still in the Industrial Revolution or have we graduated into something more? And two, does a high school education prepare our youth to enter the work force, escape poverty and become a productive citizen of the economy?

For readers who answered no to the above questions, you will want to read part II of this column. Stay tuned.

Bill Schmick is an independent investor with Berkshire Money Management. (See "About" for more information.) None of the information presented in any of these articles is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at (toll free) or email him at wschmick@fairpoint.net. Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill's insights.



0 Comments
     
News Headlines
Finance Committee, Selectmen See ACRSD Proposed Budget
Former Pittsfield Councilor Pete White Seeking at-Large Seat
Williams College Admits 1,159 Students for Class of 2019
Cheshire Water Protection Bylaws Saved; Bridge Being Closed
Lenox Library Launches 20th Annual Book Donation Drive
Scholarship Deadline Approaching for Girls Inc. Awards
Applications Accepted for Lola Greene Legacy Scholarships
BFAIR Annual Meeting to Feature Self-Advocate With Down Syndrome
Williamstown Election Lines Fill Up
Adams Focuses On New Economic Development Strategies

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (164)
Independent Investor (221)
Archives:
March 2015 (6)
March 2014 (2)
February 2015 (7)
January 2015 (9)
December 2014 (7)
November 2014 (4)
October 2014 (9)
September 2014 (5)
August 2014 (7)
July 2014 (2)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
Tags:
Taxes Rally Selloff Greece Crisis Housing Energy Fed Stocks Jobs Bailout Oil Europe Recession Euro Pullback Stock Market Stimulus Deficit Metals Japan Fiscal Cliff Currency Economy Debt Ceiling Federal Reserve Markets Retirement Election Debt Europe Commodities Congress Banks Interest Rates
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: The Fed Does It Again
The Independent Investor: Financial Challenges Facing Single Parents
@theMarket: Pay Attention to Diverging Markets
The Independent Investor: Kids & Money
@theMarket: Home on the Range
The Independent Investor: Rise of the Smoothie
@The Market: Full Steam Ahead
The Independent Investor: New Fiduciary Rule Would Benefit All of Us
The Independent Investor: How to Make the Most Out of Social Security
@theMarket: A Race to the Bottom


View All
Spark Event @ Sohn Gallery
Sohn Fine Art in Lenox hosts a Berkshire Creative Spark...
Hoosac Valley Does 'Grease'
The Hoosac Valley High School drama team is producing the...
North Adams Chamber @River...
The North Adams Chamber of Commerce held its monthly mixer...
Birds of Prey
Julie Anne Collier of
Berkshire Chamber Nite @ UP
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce held its monthly...
Pitt House Series at Dottie's
The first in the Pitt House Concert Series was a sold out...
Berkshire Awards 2015
Lila Berle, Churchill Cotton and Mary Rentz were honored on...
BYP Networking at AIER
The Berkshire Young Professionals gathered at the American...
Berkshire Art Fellowship Show
The 12 Berkshire Art Association College Fellows for 2015...
Hoosac Boys Lose to Old...
The Bulldogs scored the next six points and later used a...
Hoosac Girls Drop State Final...
The Hoosac Valley girls basketball team ended its season...
Massachusetts Region I High...
Near 80 students from throughout the region met in the...
Mt. Greylock SEE Fund
Williamstown's community access television station,...
2OT, Sends Hoosac to State...
Jameson Coughlan scored on a baseline inbounds play from...
HV Win State Semi-Final
Last season, with 1 min., 30 sec. to go Bellingham was down...
Hoosac Girls to Western Mass...
On Saturday afternoon, it had a chance to hang one more...
Spark Event @ Sohn Gallery
Sohn Fine Art in Lenox hosts a Berkshire Creative Spark...
Hoosac Valley Does 'Grease'
The Hoosac Valley High School drama team is producing the...
North Adams Chamber @River...
The North Adams Chamber of Commerce held its monthly mixer...
Birds of Prey
Julie Anne Collier of
Berkshire Chamber Nite @ UP
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce held its monthly...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved