The case for free grad school

Bella Lee, Staff Writer

While I am still a college junior, I have already begun to research options for graduate education. I dream of working in the Smithsonian, which would require at least a master’s degree. In the future, I hope to attend graduate school and am considering even pursuing a PhD. I’ve been looking at schools near where I live as well as far away, but there’s one underlying issue: tuition.Let’s take Johns Hopkins University, for example. While a notoriously difficult school to get into and is quite expensive, it’s one that is near my hometown. However, the difference in tuition between undergrad and post-secondary education is something to consider.

The average undergraduate tuition is between $56k and $58k, depending on what you’re studying. However, that amount jumps when it comes to graduate and doctoral tuition. For graduate tuition, the amount can range between $58k to $73k, depending on your field of study. Doctoral tuition also remains in a similar range, as the field of public health has the highest tuition. As an undergrad, I find it extremely unfair that students that want to pursue an education beyond a bachelor’s degree have to go into even more debt in order to achieve their dreams. Whether it’s grad school, medical school or business school, students should be able to focus on their studies without having to worry about money. Therefore, I believe that graduate education should be free. In fact, I believe that all colleges should be free, but that’s another story that would take up an entire article.

The average length of grad school is two years, compared with three years for law school, four years for medical school (excluding residencies and additional training), and six to eight years for a doctoral program. Depending on what you want to study, that could easily be between five to ten more years worth of student loans, if not more, that you have to worry about when you should be worrying about more important aspects of your life, such as settling in a new career or purchasing a new house or car.

The main problem with America, as this all shows, is that it’s so hungry for money that people could easily be spending the rest of their lives worrying about paying off loans. One story I read was about a man whose wife was paying off her student loans, and after ten years of never missing a payment, had only taken off $9 off her owed amount. Due to interest and inflation changing over the years, it could take people years or even decades to pay off loans that could otherwise be used to pay for houses, cars, or future plans such as children.While I hope to attend grad school and maybe pursue education beyond that, I worry for my parents, who have been paying for my college education this whole time. They’ve had to help my older brother get through his undergrad and currently his grad school program and helping me out could pose a huge burden on them as well.If the American education system actually focused on education rather than money, then millions of students would not have to worry about costs and instead focus on their dreams.