By Michael R. Honig (9-May-2015)
My story about college debt is a little different.
I’m 64. I went to Brooklyn College from 1968-71. For most of my life, I was not a good student. In the 2 ½ years I went to Brooklyn College (CUNY), I barely acquired 4 semesters worth of credits.
I went to Brooklyn College knowing I was not academically inclined, but also feeling strongly that I should give it a try. The additional incentive I had was that the City University of New York (CUNY) tuition was cheap; only hundreds of dollars per year for tuition and books.
I dropped out of college rather than flunk out, but have drawn two conclusions about the experience after having over 40 years to think about it:
- That limited and unhappy time at college nonetheless had a profound effect on my intellectual formation and growth. It impacted how I saw and made sense of the world from that time, forward.
- The second and perhaps most important thing I have realized is that if I had to make that same decision today, given my academic weaknesses, my calculation would have been to not go to college at all rather than go into debt for what was likely going to be a failed enterprise.
Extending this same scenario to many kids today, I feel the fundamental question to address is this: Do we want kids to seek out as much education as possible in order to make them wiser and better people and citizens, or do we want our young people only to seek as much education as makes them employable as worker drones?
When examining the question of free or affordable college for all, our national goals for our young people and the kind of citizens we want them to become must be examined.