All College Students Should Have the Right to Flunk Out of College for Free

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is pushing to make public college tuition-free. Athletic scholarships for all!

College professors around the country are stating their support for Sanders' idea. Privately, though, they're horrified. Free college will be the final nail in the coffin of the American university system. Or at least it's one of the final nails in the coffin- along with camera phones in class, fraternities, on-line education, disinterested instructors, inflated grading, campus shootings, the University of Miami, texting, helicopter parents, politically-biased lectures, outrageous administrative salaries, absurd courses, turning a blind eye to sexual assault, longer vacation breaks, and, oh, let's sixth-year seniors.

Hey- did you know that Kourtney Kardashian has a college degree from a public university? And she's still paying off her student loans.

Basically, there are now two kinds of college students: those forced to pay their own way, and those whose tuition is being paid for. Well, there are also the fat dudes who wear shorts to class year-round, even in the winter. So three kinds of students.

College professors love students who are forced to pay their own tuition, the students who have to work fourteen hours a week at Burger King in order to afford their textbooks. Why? Because these students care. When you're spending your own hard-earned money on college, you show up to class, you study, you don't leave the lecture every twenty minutes to go to the bathroom, you are a responsible student.

It's like the difference between buying a Ferrari and renting one for the weekend. When it's your car, which you paid for, that you worked hard to own, you tend to be more careful. Maybe you don't take such a sharp turn around the corner. Speaking of which, I just can't get behind the latest Republican plan that guarantees a free Ferrari to all rich people.

Hey- have you seen Kourtney Kardashian's Ferraris? Those are some beautiful cars. It just goes to show how much a college education really pays off.

Yes, college professors know it's unfair. They know it sucks. It doesn't seem right that some students, simply because of their socio-economic situation, are burdened with this huge disadvantage. These students are forced to work, to take out loans. These students don't have the luxury of excess time to study, to read, to party, to locate fake ID-makers on the Internet. College professors are very sympathetic to their situation. And, yet, professors don't want to change the system. Oh, they won't say it out loud. But they're thinking it. Because these students- the ones who could really benefit from free tuition- are the best students. Because they care. They're committed. They are willing to do what is academically necessary to succeed. You know what you never hear an economically-disadvantaged college student say? "It took a lot for me to get here. So now I'm going to secretly whip out my iPhone during class and check my friends' Facebook updates."

The working-class students, who are on their own in figuring out how to pay for the upcoming semester, come to see their professors for extra help. Professors appreciate this. The entitled students, who are in college thanks to the family trust fund, see their professor to complain about their grades. Professors don't like that. Professors would prefer to use their office hours for more important academic pursuits... like checking their friends' Facebook updates.

When students don't have to pay for their own college tuition, when their parents are footing the bill, they simply don't have the same academic work ethic. Oh, sure, there are many quality students getting a free parental ride. When you don't have to pay for college on your own, that doesn't necessarily mean you're a crappy student. However, if you are a crappy student, I bet you're not paying for college on your own. Heck, I bet you're not even paying for beer on your own.

Students forced to pay their own way can't afford to miss class. So they don't. Students lucky enough to have someone else pay their tuition skip class all the time. Oh, and they have all kinds of excuses. Sickness isn't even in the top five anymore. No, wealthier students were unable to make the exam because of "a family emergency." In college, family emergencies are the new sick. Or, if not a family emergency, then another hip, popular new student excuse is "anxiety." Students are constantly missing important academic deadlines now because of their crippling anxiety. It's understandable why they're so anxious about the test; they didn't study, read the material, or attend the class lectures. But if you want, they'll supply you with a note from their psychiatrist.

Students who pay for college on their own focus their attention on schoolwork; these young adults don't have time for clubs and sports and other ridiculous nonsense. Students fortunate enough to have someone else pay for their schooling put actual schooling somewhere on the priority list between Ultimate Frisbee practice and the dorm video game tournament. Malala Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, would not let murderous attempts on her life dissuade her from getting an education. Rich American college students had to miss class this afternoon because they had a field hockey game.

That so many economically disadvantaged teenagers don't attend college is troubling. Plus, it's a waste of intellectual resources. Given real opportunities, I have no doubt that many young poor people would reach socially valuable academic heights. But that they can't afford the relatively low tuition at public universities is only a small reason why they're not in college. Usually, their circumstances leave them unprepared for, uninformed about, and uninterested in higher education- even if they could afford to go.

Hence, under Bernie Sanders' plan, the students going to college for free would be the same students who are already there. And this will give lazy students even more incentive to not give a shit. And this really, really frightens our already-frustrated, burnt-out professors. I mean, when your parents are paying for school, at least there's a little pressure to keep up your GPA. But when nobody has to pay for your college tuition? I predict you'll be seeing a lot more sixth-year seniors.

Eh, but if we are going to eliminate college tuition, this is going to cost the government a lot of money. So let's take a page from Donald Trump's campaign playbook; we'll make Mexico pay for it.