Free college?

Next fall, the University is launching the pilot program of a policy which will limit certain students who are employed on campus to 20 hours of work per week.

While this involves IRS regulations, it is also being championed by the administration as a way to keep students focused on academics – working too many hours can be a tiring distraction.

Those opposed to the rule say it is unfair to limit the hours of students who are working in order to put themselves through school.

There is something to be learned from both sides of the argument.

Education is the cornerstone of society. Sometimes, our political discourse seems to forget there is already a public (socialist) system in place to educate our children through 12th grade.

Our society decided that, in order to have a well-functioning adult population, we must equip all children with a general understanding of the core subjects. This general understanding gave each generation the skills required to work and be engaged in society.

After 12th grade, high school graduates could decide whether they wanted to pay extra money for higher education. This option could benefit them in the long run, but if they opted out of attending college, they could still find job that provided a living wage that could support a family.

That was a long time ago, and society has changed. Many jobs require a college degree and the ones that don’t often do not pay enough to survive without assistance. It is becoming clearer with each passing year that college is no longer an option – it’s a necessity.

And that necessity is very expensive.

So the students who are opposed to the 20-hour limit are justified in their frustration. They know that, in order to be comfortable later in life, they need to go to college. But many students at FSU don’t come from affluent families and they need to work throughout their college career in order to sustain themselves and afford tuition, housing and supplies.

At the same time, the administration is correct – it’s difficult to work over 20 hours a week and not let one’s academics suffer. So when the school employs students, it is understandable that the administration would stipulate that they want the student employees to put academics first and not overwork themselves for a paycheck.

I think society is slowly starting to realize this paradoxical issue. We already have a socialist educational system that encompasses the first 12 years of education – it’s time to extend that system to cover the next four.

If we can accomplish that goal, college will be accessible to all who wish to attend. They won’t have to worry about working more than 20 hours a week, and they will be able to focus on academics.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders wants to take the first step toward accomplishing this. He doesn’t want the government to cover all costs of attending college, but he would like taxes to pay the tuition fees for public colleges across the country. That seems like a common-sense step in the right direction.

If you’re affected by the 20-hour limit or concerned for those who are, be sure to vote on March 1st, and choose the candidate you think will work to move our society forward.

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