Free Higher Education Is a Human Right

Richard Eskow, Campaign for America’s Future, March 19, 2014

Social progress is never a straightforward, linear process. Sometimes society struggles to recognize moral questions that in retrospect should have seemed obvious. Then, in a historical moment, something crystallizes. Slavery, civil rights, women’s rights, marriage equality: each of these moral challenges arose in the national conscience before becoming the subject of a fight for justice (some of which have yet to be won).

I believe the moment will come, perhaps very soon, when we as a society will ask ourselves: How can we deny a higher education to any young person in this country just because she or he can’t afford it?

The numbers show that barriers to higher education are an economic burden for both students and society. They also show that the solution – free higher education for all those who would benefit from it – is a practical goal.

But, in the end, the fundamental argument isn’t economic. It’s moral.

The College Cost Crisis

Consider the situation in which we now find ourselves:

Social mobility in the United States is at or near its lowest point in modern history. A nation which prides itself on the “only in America” myth has fallen far behind other countries in this, the primary measurement of an equal-opportunity society.

In the midst of this class ossification, higher education remains a powerful tool for social mobility….

read more at Campaign for America’s Future

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