Instigator / Pro

The government should provide free college education


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After 4 votes and with 25 points ahead, the winner is...

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Three days
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One month
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The debate description is self explanatory

Round 1
One of the main arguments in favor of free college education is that it would improve access to higher education for low-income and marginalized students. According to a report by the Center for American Progress, students from low-income families are less likely to enroll in and complete college than their higher-income peers (Coulombe, 2017). This is often because they cannot afford the costs of tuition, fees, and other expenses associated with attending college. By providing free college education, the government could help to level the playing field and give more students the opportunity to pursue a college degree.

Another argument in favor of free college education is that it would help to create a more educated and skilled workforce. A college degree is often seen as a prerequisite for many high-paying jobs, and those with a college education tend to earn more over their lifetimes than those without one (Carnevale, Rose, & Cheah, 2011). By providing free college education, the government could help to increase the number of skilled workers in the workforce, which could lead to economic growth and development.

Free college education could also help to reduce the burden of student loan debt, which has reached crisis levels in the United States. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, the average student in the class of 2019 graduated with $29,900 in student loan debt (Institute for College Access and Success, 2019). This can be a significant financial burden for many students, and can have long-term consequences, such as delaying homeownership or other major life decisions. By providing free college education, the government could help to alleviate this burden and allow students to start their adult lives without the added stress of student loan debt.
Finally, free college education could promote social mobility and allow more students to achieve their full potential. Higher education has been shown to have a positive impact on social mobility, as it can provide individuals with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce (Coulombe, 2017). By providing free college education, the government could help to create a more equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or circumstances.

There are also a number of countries around the world that have implemented free college education programs with success. For example, in Germany, all public universities are tuition-free, and the country has a high level of college enrollment and a highly skilled workforce (OECD, 2018). Similarly, in Norway, all higher education is free for Norwegian citizens, and the country has a high level of college enrollment and a highly educated population (OECD, 2018). These examples demonstrate that it is possible for the government to provide free college education and still achieve strong economic and educational outcomes.

It is also worth noting that free college education could have a number of additional benefits beyond just improving access to higher education. For example, it could help to reduce poverty and income inequality, as those with a college education tend to earn more over their lifetimes and have lower rates of poverty (Carnevale, Rose, & Cheah, 2011). It could also lead to a more cohesive and harmonious society, as education has been shown to promote social cohesion and reduce social tensions (OECD, 2018).

In summary, the arguments in favor of the government providing free college education are strong. It would improve access to higher education, create a more educated and skilled workforce, reduce the burden of student loan debt, and promote social mobility. It is also supported by the successful examples of other countries that have implemented similar programs. While there may be concerns about the cost of such a program, the potential benefits for individuals and society as a whole make it worth considering.

Carnevale, A. P., Rose, S. J., & Cheah, B. (2011). The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Retrieved from
Coulombe, S. (2017). The Role of Higher Education in Promoting Social Mobility. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from
Institute for College Access and Success. (2019). Student Debt and the Class of 2019. Retrieved from

OECD (2018). Education at a Glance 2018: OECD Indicators. Retrieved from
R1 - PRO's Misinformation About Discrimination In HigherEd

PRO states that minority persons cannot afford college and have a more difficult time entering college. This is patently false misinformation.

In fact, the opposite is true. Minority students receive special grants, admissions biases, and more due to government investment in colleges. [1] 

According to the National Center For Education Statistics, 83% of Asian high school graduates attended college while only 65% of white high school graduates attended college. [2]

Moreover, the National Center For Education Statistics Asian college students are 6% more likely to graduate college than their white peers. [3] [4]

PRO uses the Center for American Progress as a source. However, the Center for American Progress is known to spread blatantly false information and has failed numerous fact checks [10] [11].

In reality, free education is racially discriminatory and leads to unequal outcomes. The California Policy Center, a civil rights organization that champions equity of rights, states:
Public university systems like California State and University of California claim to use color-blind admissions policies (though some campuses like UC Berkeley release plans to increase minority representation to meet the 25% HSI quota). But as Dr. Wenyuan Wu  points out, it is undeniable that “there are substantial economic incentives for a higher education institution to become an HSI,” combined with an ideological drive to be the most demographically diverse. These financial and ideological motivations — in conjunction with the universities’ nearly-singular emphasis on race and openness about affirmative action in the hiring of staff — have caused researchers like Dr. Wu and her colleagues to doubt the veracity of the claim that admissions policies are race-neutral. [5]

R2 - PRO's Misinformation On College Graduates Making The Most Money And Reaching Full Potential

PRO cites a source that has outdated information about college graduation and income. In reality, graduates of trade schools make the most money over the course of their lives. 

According to the most rigorous statistics, a trade school has an average return on investment of 22x the cost, whereas a college degree only has an average return on investment of 15x, making trade schools significantly more income-producing than college degrees in the long run. [6]

Moreover, in recent years, college degrees have been subject to diminishing returns, as the Federal Reserve in New York found that 1 in 3 college graduates are working on jobs that do not require a college degree. This number jumps to 45% for new graduates. [7] college just doesn't equal success or social mobility anymore.

R3 - Free College Is Not Free. It Costs Significantly More In Taxes Than Private College

The American Institute for Economic Research, one of the most well-respected economic think tanks in America, says that it is government payment of college that resulted in skyrocketing costs. These costs would them be fronted onto taxpayers, causing everyone to take massive salary cuts. They explain:
The cold, hard truth is that the higher-education cost problem cannot be solved through more government intervention. The government’s policy of guaranteeing and subsidizing student loans has created an artificial demand for higher education. In turn, many universities have taken advantage of this increased demand by increasing tuition rates. Thanks to these perverse incentives, universities have funneled money into bloated, administrative bureaucracies while ignoring the classroom. [8]
Moreover, the Cato Institute, an authoritative civil rights think tank, confers:
State per‐student higher education spending grew 26% (2012 to 2017) following a 14% (2008–11) recession‐induced enrollment surge. The enrollment surge resulting from a four‐year $35,000 college subsidy would likely be much larger. Moreover, when someone (government) spends someone else’s (taxpayers) money, they will neither economize nor maximize value. [8]
And this is reflected in the countries that PRO mentioned as well, their taxes are so high because the countries are going bankrupt trying to pay for free college, as the American Enterprise Institute found:
While some countries prioritize a heavily subsidized higher-education system and others pursue a high college attainment rate, the evidence suggests that it’s almost impossible for a nation to do everything at once. No large country ranks in the top third of developed nations on all three measures. A nation inevitably has to pick and choose what its higher-education system should emphasize. Does it want free college at all costs? Or does it want higher degree attainment or better-resourced universities, even if that means that students have to pay some tuition? [9] 


PRO has cited numerous false claims written by organizations that are either expressly known for spreading misinformation or are using outdated statistics.

Free College promotes racism, poverty, and a bankrupted federal government, as multiple rigorous studies and analyses have shown.

A free college education also fails to lead to better jobs, and therefore upward social mobility, for at least 33% of all graduates, and almost half of new graduates, which is a significant underemployment rate compared to the national average of 15%

Therefore, since a free college education leads to racism, underemployment, and bankruptcy with high taxes, the Federal Government should not give find free college.
Round 2
Round 3
R1 - PRO Has Failed To Respond

PRO Has dropped all my previous round 1 rebuttals to his thoroughly debunked Round 1 claims. PRO also has attempted to hold CON to additional rules other than agreed upon at the beginning of the debate.

A1 - Free College Leads To Cognitive Decay

In addition to the above reasons why free college is a sub-optimal education standard, Cognitive Decay is another reason. NATO Allied Command Transformation, which is ACT is "NATO’s Warfare Development Command and a leading agent of Alliance innovation," wrote in a recent publication that NATO is beginning to put together a counter-propaganda initiative to counter what they see as "Cognitive Warfare," or when a nefarious organization spoonfeeds members of a general public content to dumb them down so they cannot mentally fight back:

“Cognitive Warfare is about degrading the adversary’s cognitive capability,” wrote Rand Waltzman, Adjunct Senior Information Scientist, following the meeting. “A key element of maintaining cognitive superiority in a Cognitive Warfare context is an effective cognitive defense.” [1]

Centralizing the education system always leads to Cognitive Warfare, because nefarious foreign governments such as China hijack the system. One such example were "Confucius Institutes," which at one point controlled thousands of Public University curriculums through gaining control of the funding and politicians in state and local governments. 

In a 2018 piece, Politico exposed just how much power a foreign nation like China was able to control American's education through government. They wrote:

The first Confucius Institute opened in South Korea in 2004. They quickly spread to Japan, Australia, Canada and Europe. The United States, China’s biggest geopolitical rival, has been a particular focus: Fully 40 percent of Confucius Institutes are stateside. In addition to the Institutes at universities, Hanban also operates hundreds of so-called Confucius Classrooms in primary and secondary schools. The public school system of Chicago, for example, has outsourced its Chinese program to Confucius Classrooms. [2] 
So public education can be a direct warpath for nefarious parties like the Chinese Communist Party to brainwash and control children in America's own education system.

Moreover, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that free college contributed to a worse education and significantly more expensive costs-per-student in the United Kingdom, and both the quality of an education and the cost of an education improved immensely the second free college ended. [3] It also contributed greatly to inequality, as Preston Cooper summarizes for the American Enterprise Institute:

More students placed greater strain on a limited pool of public funds. University funding per student plummeted in real terms, from over £13,000 (US$16,900) in the 1970s to under £7,000 (US$9,100) when free college ended in 1998. Due to funding constraints, universities turned away many students seeking degrees. This increased inequality, since rich students were more likely to attend schools with greater resources: from 1981 to 1999, the share of rich students earning college degrees increased more than 25 percentage points, while the share of poor students increased less than five. [4]

As the National Bureau of Economic Research showed, a free college contributes to all the problems that PRO says need to be solved through free education. If we take PRO's idea and make college free in America, not only will it produce a worse education rife with inequality, but it will also allow nefarious organizations to gain a foothold into America's education system and brainwash the youth with propaganda.

Round 4
PRO has fully forfeited this debate. Vote CON.