The Bryan Times,

Government paying for student college-loan debt is a campaign issue that motivates those with large debts to vote for persons supporting these programs. When college-age, coming from a broken family, I had no choice but to commute to a local college. My only expense was tuition, books and gas. Working one day a week to meet my expenses, I completed my BS, MS and PhD at Wayne State University in nine years, graduating with honors without debts. Persons who go away to college today have the added expense of room and board that can cost $30,000 dollars or more. This luxury is like a person buying a luxury Cadillac instead of a used Dodge as I did, then discovering he cannot make the payments and expecting the government to bail him out. Later when I attended Miami University on a scholarship for my Chemistry graduate work, I realized the luxury I missed.

Free college for everyone sounds like a great idea until one considers the implications. My son was a professor in Norway and taught at other colleges in Europe. He explained the reality of free tuition. The government is not going to pay billions for students to earn degrees with little demand, like literature and art, so the government survey’s employers to determine how many people they need in each college major, then convey to each college the number of majors in demand, as robotics and medicine, they can admit. The goal is to fill real positions, not educate in every area students have an interest. The college was allocated 30 slots in the area my son taught. As several hundred persons applied for slots, most were not admitted regardless of their qualifications.

In America, most colleges have open enrollment. All high school or GED graduates who can pay or borrow tuition money can attend college. In Europe, most people are unable to enter their ideal chosen field. In this country, students are more apt to earn degrees in areas of interest and, after graduation, work in the family business. Consequently, many earn degrees in their area of interest and not with the goal of working in that area. Actually, over half of all college students never graduate and of these, only 27 percent work in the area of their major. The reality is free college often means only the academically privileged can attend.

Jerry Bergman


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