To The Daily Sun,
In a recent letter, Scott Cracraft wondered how it is that some foreign countries provide free tuition for college students and why they do it for a lower cost than here in the U.S.
There are two main reasons: First, a much smaller percentage of the population heads to college, and of those, only the top students get free tuition. In the case of science or technology degrees, tuition is often paid in part or in full by corporations and utility companies who hire the students after graduation for a pre-contracted period — three years is typical. Additionally, college attendance in most European countries is like a full-time job. Students attend five to seven hours a day, seven days a week. If they fail exams, they get kicked out. There's no taking five or six years to get a Bachelor's degree.
In students' spare time and during breaks, they work. Only the well-to-do travel. These are no doubt the ones Mr. Cracraft has met, just as when I was a struggling college student in my native Great Britain, I encountered (and envied) American students who were traveling during their summer or winter breaks. Unlike Mr. Cracraft, I did not consider this the norm. (My own children worked while attending college here in the U.S.)
As far as the high cost of college in the U.S., that is mostly due to the "religion" that is college sports. Luxurious playing fields, arenas, pools, highly-paid coaches and the huge number of athletic scholarships given by U.S. colleges have to be paid for somehow. The rest of the world doesn't do this.
For myself, as a member of my college's swim/dive team I practiced at the municipal pool. The tennis and football (soccer) teams used the local park. Our coaches were mostly teachers who volunteered in their free time and were not paid for the effort.
Mr. Cracraft, in typical, muddled left-wing thinking, can only consider that levying huge taxes on people and businesses is the solution. It's not. The basic paradigm of college in the U.S. would have to change, and somehow I don't envisage that happening.
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