The student, the student’s family, and the entire country, would benefit if the government agreed to cover all legitimate costs of a college or university education for certain young people. The necessary contribution by taxpayers would be significant, and might cause initial resistance, but when the benefits were realized, the opposition would most certainly disappear.
To be eligible for free post-secondary education, the following conditions would have to be met:
(1) The student must have achieved good grades throughout high school. He must have maintained an average of 75% in all subjects each year from Grades 9 through 12. (Exceptions might be made for Music, Art and Physical Education, all of which demand a certain amount of innate ability.)
(2) A letter of recommendation from each secondary school teacher would be required stating the student had met or exceeded expectations with regard to effort, homework completion, and the presentation of projects on time, plus a comment on “General Attitude”.
(3) A letter of recommendation from a member of the community who was not a relative, would be required, testifying that the student had either held down a part-time job, or completed 200 hours of community service, during his high school career.
(4) A copy of the parents’ previous year’s tax return must be submitted, showing that the family income was not over $500,000.00 If it exceeded that sum, parents would be expected to accept part of the financial burden, perhaps by being responsible for the student’s board and food expenses.
(5) The student would be asked to submit a letter stating his future career goal, the necessary credits needed to achieve a position in his area of interest, and an estimated time line for completing the necessary courses. He would also be required to sign a promise that he would remain in the country for ten years after graduation as a token of appreciation for his education..
You may be wondering: “Why should we do this? Aren’t there scholarships and bursaries for students who need financial help with post-secondary school studies?”
Yes there are, but they have disadvantages. Among them:
* Those funded because of a family’s financial hardship may have just scraped through high school and will be more interested in enjoying their college experience than in serious studying. They can repeat one or more courses and eventually drop out.
* Those on sports scholarships will naturally be most interested in sports; academics will have a lower priority. Their contribution to the community is likely to be in the form of entertainment, by way of competitive sports.
Those who eventually graduate may labor for years to repay their student loans, and some may default entirely.
Why is the above program superior?
* It will encourage parents to take an active interest in their child’s educational progress, starting from the early grades.
* Students will be motivated to do their best, as soon as they are old enough to realize the opportunity they are being offered. Achievement scores across the country will dramatically improve.
* Competent young graduates will begin their careers with no burdensome loan payments.
* Citizens across the country will benefit by an influx of bright, hard-working, young professionals in every field. After their ten-year commitment is fulfilled, most will be settled down, raising a family and be content to stay on indefinitely.
The taxpayers would soon come to realize that this is one government program that works, and from which they are receiving much more than their money’s worth!