Free college tuition in North Dakota? Sounds great! However, the way it sounds, if you’re almost done with college or have thousands in outstanding student loans, too bad. A new bill being pushed right now in North Dakota’s legislature could waive college tuition for students meeting a certain criteria. Not that I don’t think that is wonderful, but it makes me wonder how fair it is for those of us already in school. Representatives claim it would be based on need and GPA.
With tuition costs going up every year, scholarships, federal loans and grants are the only ways students can afford college. Professors and academic advisors urge students to make college a full-time job because of the concentration needed for a full course load. For some of us, however, school has to be our second full time job. I know plenty of people, myself included, who work 40 hours a week and go to school full time just to make ends meet and lighten the student loan burden.
I fully support the idea of free or reduced tuition based on merit and financial need, but what about when I am done with college? There is a saying that timing is everything. If I had waited to go back to school, would I have gotten all of my schooling for free? This has a chance to blow up in the faces of the people who aren’t college freshmen. If it goes through and new students get this deal, there is going to be a lot of resentment on the minds of those who have lived here all their lives, gone to school here, currently work here and pay taxes here who see no benefits of the oil money.
They are talking free and reduced tuition while our property and income taxes stay steadily high. We don’t want to rush and spend all of our hard-earned money at once, but with billions of dollars in surplus, I am pretty sure they can cut me a tax break or two.
Our representatives have a good idea, but I hope they can find a way to make it fair for those of us who pay taxes and are already drowning in student loan debt.