Tuition in America: The true cost of education

Sophie Defaix
Staff Writer

Being an international student in America is an experience I wish everyone would have. Unfortunately, the majority of international students will never be able to afford the tuition of American colleges.
It’s not only international students. I am seriously wondering how parents can afford to pay tuition for all four years for all of their children. It’s even harder for me to understand how students of my age pay their own tuition. I now understand why there are still so many high school students that choose not to go to college: they simply can’t afford to pay the tuition and they don’t want to leave college with a huge student debt.
tuitiongraphIn the Netherlands, we pay between $1,500 and $3,000 yearly for tuition. We are surrounded by countries where tuition is free. Countries like Germany and France don’t charge their students anything for higher education. It is completely covered by the federal government, because we are the future.
Now don’t get me wrong: the government doesn’t pay the majority or the entirety of our tuition. Taxes do. In Europe, a decent amount of the total tax income goes to education. Therefore, our taxes are a lot higher than in America. For example, our sales tax is 21% and our income tax ranges between 33% and 52%, depending on the height of your income.
I know this sounds like a lot, but I am absolutely sure that the system we have in Europe is a lot more convenient than the enormous amount of tuition that has to be paid here.
You should picture it like this: by paying your taxes, you save a small amount of money every year for your children to go to college. All these small amounts will be easier to pay than the entire sum in four years. This creates equal opportunities for all students. The students, whose parents don’t have a lot of money, can still afford to go to school without creating a huge debt. The people who do have a lot of money will spend a small part of their income to the education of less fortunate students through taxes.
Another advantage of the system is that instead of having to manage the savings yourself, the government will manage it for you. “Why is this an advantage?” is what most people probably think. This is because the tuition will never change substantially, but saving money comes with a lot of risks, such as a decrease in the interest rates.
There are also a lot of advantages in our system for the people without children. Yes, a decent amount of the taxes goes to education, but they still pay for the education of students that form the future of the country. The taxes the students will pay later will take care of their health care and pension.
To answer the main question: yes, I am beyond all doubt that it would be great for America if people would pay a little more tax and a lot less tuition. All the taxes together will pay for the education of students. It will pay for the education of the future.

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