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The new high school diploma

Happy and well educated graduating students proudly receive their diplomas at the commencement ceremony at Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif. on May 26, 2017. Joe Dusel / The Telescope.
Happy and well educated graduating students proudly receive their diplomas at the commencement ceremony at Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif. on May 26, 2017. Joe Dusel / The Telescope.

Community college should be free and anyone who tries to argue the contrary needs to be informed of the reasoning behind it.

Unlike yesterday, a high school diploma is literally worthless and means nothing in today’s world. When it comes to making money, those with a college degree are bound to make more than high school graduates, even if that means working at a job that doesn’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree.

That’s according to a recent study from Georgetown University, which found that college graduates earn an average of $1 million more in earnings in their lifetime compared to high school graduates. Another study from the Pew Research Center found that the median yearly income gap between these two groups is around $17,500. Not attending college and earning a degree is definitely a loss in potential profits.

Some high school graduates face this loss in potential earnings not because they choose to, but because they can’t afford to go to college.

The latest trend that seems to be occurring is that tuitions at 4-year and 2-year colleges across the country are rising, while working wages remain at a low. Due to tuition hikes, those students who do not have scholarships or other types of financial aid such as Pell-Grants or Cal Grants, are struggling to meet funds to pay for their tuition, supplies, and basic needs such as food.

For students who have to face such a struggle, studying time for classes needs to be sacrificed so they can make ends meet

States such as Oregon, are realizing how students are struggling with funding and have started to offer free community college for residents of the state. Just recently, the State of New York went even further by making public 4-year universities free for those meeting requirements in the working and middle-class residents.

“Today, college is what high school was – it should always be an option even if you can’t afford it,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement earlier this month.

Palomar College too is taking a stance on the matter by offering a free year of community college to graduating high school students who are within the service area of the college.

The Palomar Promise program also offers $1,000 for textbooks in the first year of enrollment as well as guarantees admission to Cal State San Marcos if students meet transfer eligibility requirements.

Serving as a gateway for students from lower-income families as well as first generation students, community colleges play a crucial part in creating an affordable, higher education experience.

Because a bachelor’s is becoming the standard requirement for a lot of jobs in the market, community college should be free in order to encourage students to pursue a master’s degree and so on. By having this mentality, not only will it help the economy, but it will also help the U.S. workforce become well-educated, potentially attracting more jobs into the country.

Politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren believe in this vision by trying to get “The College For All Act” passed. How will all of this be paid? Easy. You remember when your tax dollars bailed out Wall Street right? It’s time for them to return the favor.

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