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"Free" College isn't necessarily a good thing?
15060 cr points
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27 / M
Posted 5/9/15 , edited 5/9/15

mesomuffin wrote:

Hey y'all.

I feel like I just need to post my opinion on some things because my friends on facebook, who are mainly from the U.S. keep posting and complaining about college tuition.

I was really happy to get the opportunity to live in a country of where my college tuition is already paid for by the government, but as I have studied for almost a year now at Norway's top university I can't help but think of the many downsides to this "free" college system.

DON'T GET ME WRONG. I love the idea of a "free" college and the fact that I will most likely enter the next stage in my life pretty much debt free, but this is what I've experienced so far:

- College professors don't care about you as much as they should. I have now experienced MULTIPLE times of which I have had the opportunity to receive help as a newcomer to uni but all of the times I had this opportunity, college professors have let me down by "forgetting" to read my paper or only giving me 10 minutes of guidance when, in reality, they could have spared 30 when student's didn't even show up and gave me very basic advice.

- Students are EXTREMELY lazy. No one cares about work ethic here because if they fail a class, they can always try again next year in order to not have to pay the equivalent of normal college tuition (basically everything is free up until the moment you don't pass the class). I kid you not, IN EVERY. GODDAMN. SEMINAR I have been the only student, amongst very few others that actually show an interest in attending. On average, at the very end of each class it's roughly only 3-5 students out of 40 that bother to show up. Which brings me to my final point:

- I feel like I don't even need to show up to class. I can just read the assigned books they give me and still pass, which makes me think: what exactly am I going to university for? This isn't truly "free" if I can essentially just pay (yes we do need to pay for the books, which are VERY expensive) to be "self-taught".

My thoughts are basically this: what's the point if I'm basically on my own here? In some ways, I would rather want to PAY for excellent professors and an awesome college experience than be thrown out to sea where it's sink or swim. I'm basically just blindly attempting my best at college with so little help from both professors and students.


I do not think free college is a good thing either, even though I am graduating with a masters degree with a reasonable amount of student loan debt. The reason I say this is because, at least from what I know of Europe, getting into college is extremely difficult compared to the US. The standards in Europe are incredibly strict and high. Yes, in the US there are tons of students who should not be in college. However, a lot of people on the edge of academic performance do greatly improve after significant struggle. Universities in the US, while they do have standards, are more willing to take chances on these people who are on the borderline of academic performance solely because those people pay for college themselves.

All that being said, the tuition rates in the US have skyrocketed, and it is largely thanks to the corporatization of the universities here. Before 1980, it was usual for administrative staff to be temporary, because they came from the faculty. They just took a few years off to do administrative work, and usually took a small pay increase. Now, there is a professional administrative faculty, who are permanent. They take huge salaries, which they give themselves. They also run the universities on a for-profit business model. If a department has one bad year, expect some form of budget cuts. Everything is about maximizing profit, at a public university no less. It is ridiculous and unforgivable. Another problem is that the individual state legislatures across the country are cutting state subsidies to public universities. It is almost to the point that the public universities are "public" in name only. As a result, they have to make up the cost through tuition hikes and cutting faculty. These are not the only reason costs are surging, but they are significant factors. So I would caution unmitigated envy of our system over on this side of the Atlantic.

As for how much faculty care about the students. I think students paying adds a bit of incentive for the staff to care more. However, I think it is mostly marginal. I have encountered plenty of professors who don't care much for their students. I think it is a phenomenon that exist across the globe.
Der Zoodirektor
26325 cr points
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35 / M / Germany
Posted 5/9/15 , edited 5/9/15
Getting into university isn't hard in Germany. You just need to pass the final examination in high school to gain the right to attend. Availability of slots in certain courses however is limited, which means that you need to have a high grade average or other redeeming factors (like having served in the military, having done a year of volunteer service, being a parent, having a disability, etc.) to get into it quickly. Otherwise you will have to wait to get in or apply for something else. It is also pretty much predetermined which seminars you will have to attend in order to gain the credits needed for graduation.
Students are expected to be able to work on problems by themselves, rather than having to overly rely on guidance by the teaching staff. There are usually guidance seminars that teach you how to do research and work on your own in the first one or two semester. Once you start writing your final thesis you will get more guidance by the professor in charge of your thesis, as well as additional review seminars.

Not having to pay tuition has a lot of advantages. Students are not sent into crippling debt. Also less privileged students, from poorer backgrounds, have almost equal chances or attaining a degree as long as they make it through high school. Also you can expect your degree to be of equal value, no matter which public university you are attending (in some cases the reputation of the teaching staff/faculty may undermine that part).
17165 cr points
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28 / M
Posted 5/9/15 , edited 5/9/15

BlueOni wrote:

descloud wrote:

I think community college should be free, since it, or I like to think at least, benefits future generations. However 4 years no, they need funds so they can afford the best of the best for those hard working students.

Ah, but would you be open to tuition free tertiary education at four year institutions on the basis of performance on a qualifying examination? That seems a fair compromise.

I suppose it's fair.
Otter Modder
51197 cr points
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25 / M / Florida
Posted 1/26/17
Forum Clean up. Old 2015 threads Locked.
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