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November 13 2015

Million Student March Misses the Mark

Patrice J. Lee

Yesterday, students protested on college campuses around the county demanding for tuition-free public college. However, these kids need to understand that what they’re demanding will in reality only push the cost of college higher.

Dubbed the Million Student March, this nationwide day of demonstrations was an offshoot of the fast-food worker protests for $15 minimum wage and union rights. In addition to free college tuition at public schools, they advocated for cancellation of all student debt and a $15 minimum wage for campus workers.

As Yahoo News reports students weighed in on why they were protesting:

"The student debt crisis is awful. Change starts when people demand it in the street. Not in the White House," said Elan Axelbank, 20, a third year student at Northeastern, who said he was a co-founder of the national action.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed marches at schools including Texas State, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Depaul University in Chicago.

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"I want to graduate without debt," said Ashley Allison, a 22-year-old student at Boston's Bunker Hill Community College, at the Northeastern rally. "Community college has been kind to me, but if I want to go on, I have to take on debt."

Student loan debt is the next bubble to burst as Americans are straddled with $1.2 trillion dollars. Students graduating have an average of more than $30,000 in student loan debt, but face a 13. 11 percent unemployment rate, according to Generation Opportunity. As a result, they are delaying adult milestones such as moving out of their homes, purchasing cars, getting married, buying homes, starting families, and even starting business.

However, free college tuition is not the solution to the college affordability crisis. The cost of college has skyrocketed 500 percent over the past three decades because of the increase in federal funding for student aid. According to the Federal Reserve of New York, for every $1 in federal aid, colleges raise tuition by 55 - 66 cents. College is increasingly unaffordable, but those such as President Obama and even some presidential hopefuls are wrong to propose that we continue to fund this growing bubble.

Even more who is picking up the tab? Try asking that to these protesters.

As Charlotte notes the biggest blunder of the day was when national organizer Keely Mullen appeared on Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto’s show to promote free college and debt forgiveness. She couldn’t figure out how free tuition would be paid if we milk the one percenters at 100 percent to pay for these.

Students who are asking for free college want someone else to pay for it, but that’s neither responsible nor affordable.

What we need are solutions that lower the cost of college so that students don’t have to take out as much in student loans and then we need more choice in how students can be educated. The next generation deserves more than empty promises of free college that translate to higher taxes and higher debt, we need innovation and competition.

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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