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Talk It Out: National University

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Illustration by: Birmy Michelle | Staff Illustrator

Creating a national university, disastrous move
By Jeffrey Bradshaw

There are several avenues to obtaining your college degree, but getting one from a national university should not be included on that list.

The United States does not currently, and should not ever, have a national university. Of course public universities are, in part, funded and run by state governments, but the U.S. should never join this club.

The governor appoints people to the board of trustees, as well as other various positions. So based on this model, the president would appoint these people if the U.S. had a public university. While deciding whom to appoint for Secretary of Defense, the president would also have to consider which educators to appoint.

With every new president, there would be a whole new board of regents. This does not sound like a big problem, but after factoring how highly politicized the president’s actions are, the complaints and partisanship would get annoying very fast.

Then there’s the issue of funding. States fund public universities, beyond what tuition pays, which means the federal government would also have to contribute to their newfound school. More than one of these national universities would likely be established, so the amount of money spent would only increase.

The amount of money the federal government spends needs to go down, not up. Allocating money for national universities would not be in the best interest of the American taxpayer.

Then there is the question of who would run this university within the federal government. The obvious answer is the Department of Education. However, the Department of Education already has a huge number of programs to execute, and dumping a school on them would only lead to a poorly-run national university.

Additionally, the Department of Education is subject to change every four or eight years because of the presidency term limit. Having such a high turnover rate would only end badly for a national university. The federal bureaucracy needs to be cleaned up and made more efficient in general. A national university would only go against this need for a better-run federal bureaucracy.

The federal government has no business running a university. Colleges in America are some of the best in the world—all without having the federal government involved in the same way states are. Therefore, there is no need for a national university.

There is reform needed at many public universities across the nation. Setting standards for curricula is something that the federal government should do, but getting involved in the actual creation and administration of a nationally funded and operated university is not needed.

We have public and private universities, as well as community colleges, and they all get the job of educating the masses done fairly well. A national university would simply be redundant and a waste of much-needed funds.

A national university could change the country
By Mikala Everett

Our great nation was founded on the principles of liberty, equality and justice—cue the bald eagle noises. If our shining beacon of democracy were to have a national university, those principles would be achieved.

A national university would provide education for low-income individuals who do not have the funds or the access to attend a traditional university or community college. According to Forbes, only 11 percent of students from bottom-quartile families graduate from four-year universities.

In America, a college education is essentially required for most jobs because a high school diploma is no longer efficient. By creating a national university, students from low-income families can have a chance at a brighter future.

When lower-income students go to school, they are not just helping themselves and their families. The more educated people in America, the smarter the nation would become as a whole. Our nation would rise to become a country of intellectuals, innovators and game-changers.

A national university would be accessible anywhere in the country. Thankfully, we live in a time where online learning is available and easy to use. Therefore, there would not be any need to waste money on buildings, dorms, meal plans and crappy parking.

Students would not have to leave the comfort of their homes or their local Starbucks to receive a higher education, because buildings or other unnecessary college money-suckers won’t be needed. A national university would not cost taxpayers a dime, which would be another silver lining.

After all, a national university was George Washington’s dying wish. Who are we to deny the first president’s final dream? It’s time for Washington’s great idea to be applied.

Tuition across the country is steadily rising and more students are in debt now than they have been before. Seven in 10 seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt. Only about 30 percent of students are likely to walk away without any debt, and this is not okay.

The small fraction of students leaving college without debt have a much greater advantage than those stuck in the trenches of loans because the debt-free have more funds. They can buy a new car after college or travel the world.

On the other hand, to avoid the accumulation of even more debt, students will have to work off their loans as soon as they graduate. The burden of crippling debt is one that students should not have to bear.

A national university can change all of this. It will offer opportunities to those who did not have any and will make our country’s founding principles true. America will, once again, be a great nation of liberty, equality and justice.

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