Where’s the investment in college education?

Bruno Beidacki.

Bruno Beidacki

There once was a presidential candidate who advocated for offering free higher education in the U.S. Not only was his run not successful, but Bernie Sanders was also heavily criticized for raising an argument in favor of tuition-free public universities.

Even if Sanders did win, there is no guarantee that he would have accomplished his plans of making public universities tuition-free. It is indeed a task that would take decades, but there is no reason for the American population to completely ignore a future in which people can go to college without having to drown in debt.

One of the harshest criticisms of Sanders’ plan was its democratic socialist roots.

According to the most recent Human Development Index report, a United Nations composite statistic that takes into account life expectancy, education and income per capita, the U.S. ranks 10th in the world. Who is above us? Norway, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands and Ireland, to list a few. All of those countries can be considered socialist democracies, based on the percentage of income that goes to taxes, as well as the amount of government involvement in the management of public goods and services.

It is possible to live in a country in which freedom and opportunities for financial growth exist, but where the government also guarantees that anyone who wants to can go to college for free.

Another common argument against it is that it is just too expensive. Those who oppose the measure claim that countries like Finland and Sweden can only offer higher education with no cost because their population is significantly smaller than ours.

Except it’s not only countries with small populations that offer college for free. Brazil has a population of around 210 million people, and there are a total of 298 public universities in the country.

No financial burden, no eternal debt.

Brazil also ranks lower than the U.S. in virtually every economic category. Brazil’s gross domestic product is lower, and so is its GDP per capita. The South American country also has significantly more social issues. In addition, Brazil’s maximum tax for an individual is 27.5 percent, while in the U.S. it can get up to 40 percent.

In other words, the Brazilian government has less money to work with, and Brazilian citizens pay less taxes than Americans.

How can Brazil, even with a screwed up economy, major civil and human rights issues, an unjust judicial system and dozens of other major problems, still figure out a way to make college free?


Resources are limited, so investing in higher education means reducing investment in other things. Dow Jones subsidiary MarketWatch published an article that claims Brazil spent $36 billion on the military compared to $618 billion spent by the United States. More than that, only three of the 10 countries that spend the most money on the military offer free higher education.

For the sake of Americans’ personal finances, we have to reduce college tuitions and work toward a tuition-free system for public universities. If developing countries with less money and more social problems than the U.S. can do it, so can we.

After all, if the U.S. wants to justify its title as the “greatest country in the world,” the first step is to follow what other countries are doing and offer tuition free higher education to its citizens.

Bruno Beidacki is the opinion editor. Contact him at [email protected]