Romney’s take on tuition is impractical

Even with financial aid, it can be tough to pay for tuition. It’s no surprise, then, that the rising cost of college has become a major point in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Though President Barack Obama and the Republican nominees have offered solutions of varying practicality, Mitt Romney’s suggestion on Monday at a town hall meeting in Youngstown, Ohio, shows an alarming lack of foresight on his part. Essentially, Romney said this: Want the government to pay for college? Enlist. And if you don’t want to do that, good luck finding a scholarship.

This is a man who has never served in the military — he was deferred from the draft for several years to conduct missionary work and attend college. Yet he is telling students that they should sign up as if it is a casual commitment.

For many students, military service isn’t an option for religious or moral reasons. Even students without such objections shouldn’t have to make a life-altering commitment just to receive an education.

His other suggestion is to “shop around” for an affordable college. This is a valid point. Students should know and understand the implications of taking on student loans. Going to that dream college may not be entirely prudent if you’re going to graduate thousands of dollars in debt, especially if there are less expensive options that provide a comparable education.

But the promotion of fiscal responsibility does not constitute a comprehensive plan to improve higher education in America. Romney failed to address the real issue.

Yes, students should make wise financial decisions when selecting a college. And yes, if students perform well, they can potentially receive a scholarship.

The fact remains that college tuition is at an all-time high. Rather than telling students to choose paths Romney himself did not follow, he should focus on reducing the overall cost of higher education.

Education is a critical factor for economic development. Considering the country’s current economic state, Romney’s failure to offer a plan to help Americans pay for college is incredibly short-sighted. The average student debt load is more than $25,000 and total student debt in America is more than $1 trillion. Though students shouldn’t expect free education, these numbers are too high not to warrant some form of government aid.

Obama’s current policies on education aren’t perfect, but at least he’s urging colleges to keep tuition low and continue college loan programs. Romney, on the other hand, supports a 25 percent reduction in Pell grants, which are federal funds for students in need of financial aid. Though this plan might seem economically efficient now, an undereducated America will only lead to a difficult future.

Romney’s suggestion to enlist in the armed forces is hypocritical and simply impractical. Though his fiscal advice is more viable, it still fails to solve the broader issue: thousands of students have to compromise their education because of tuition increases across the board. If Romney wants to solve the numerous problems currently plaguing America, he needs to put education at the top of his priorities.


Burke Gibson is a freshman majoring in economics.

7 replies
  1. Emily
    Emily says:

    To those commenters above who think this generation is entitled, I would say this: students trying to get an education are at least reducing their chances of being on public assistance later. Further, if there is no system in place to reduce tuition costs, then what? Only the wealthy/elite get to go to university?

    Working your way through college is harder than it used to be, and it’s hard enough getting a job WITH a college education today. Certainly serving your country in exchange for education benefits is more than admirable, as is earning a scholarship. Interestingly, Romney didn’t serve, and I wonder if any of his kids did? Romney received ministerial and student deferments, and spent his time as a missionary in France (Bordeaux) instead of Vietnam. That was after a year at Stanford.

    There isn’t enough money and no one is entitled to a free education. However, the United States needs to remain competitive, and higher education must be a top priority. Yes it is sad that so many Americans feel so entitled. What about the rest of them, who work hard and do not?

  2. Lj
    Lj says:

    The point was that our economic future depend in great part on a well educated populous that is trained to be productive. Sounds like some of the other comments here come from the type that only care for their individual success with no care or forethought of the downside of an undereducated country – which includes negative economic effects overall which could really hit you in the portfolio where it hurts later. Hey, if student aged people (and lets throw in the underemployed and unemployed) all enlisted to pay for their education, who will be around to ‘serve’ you? Never mind that the country wouldn’t have the military budget to take on the ranks of every college-bound student needing some loans or financial aid.

  3. Suni Ellis
    Suni Ellis says:

    “Burke Gibson is a freshman majoring in economics.”

    I hope when Burke Gibson is a senior majoring in economics, he’ll look back on this article and laugh at what he thought he knew.

  4. Major General
    Major General says:

    I’m sorry but I don’t believe you are entitled to a secondary education. Its the culture of I’m entitled to this, gimme gimme gimme. I’m sorry but if you don’t want to serve, or your parents didn’t make the right decisions to save, its up to YOU to finance your own education and save up. Society owes you nothing, Burke.

  5. cynic
    cynic says:

    The post college debt crisis will be the next “mortgage crisis bubble.” You go to college, for a worthless degree (please watch link above), and you will pay both literally (if you’re lucky to find a job afterwards) and figuratively (you’re going to go through lots of heartache and disillusionment). This will exacerbate the wobbling economy. Not everyone should go to college. And not every youth is entitled to a college education. And nor is college for everyone.

    btw James, Gibson is a econ major. So he must have some basis in economics…LOL!!!!

  6. James
    James says:

    What an amateurish article, both in writing style and content. I respect the kid’s opinion, but it really has no basis in economics or principles. Most of all, the government doesn’t owe you anything buddy. The most entitled generation ever….. so sad.

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