Should higher education be free for all?

Higher education is important for many people to develop the knowledge and skills to help them forge successful careers in the future. While it is often seen as a necessity to have a degree in many employment sectors, it can often come at a high cost. Tuition can pile thousands of dollars worth of debt onto the heads of students who successfully get through college. There are arguments that higher education should be free to allow it to be more accessible to those who have the brains but don’t have the money to get there.

Is free good?

It would be great if higher education were free for everyone as it would provide better opportunities to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to that level of learning. If the students aren’t going to pay for their education then who would have to find the money to pay for them?

Likely it would require government funding which would most likely demand taxes to increase for many citizens. There is an argument to be made that they wouldn’t be able to raise as much money for the colleges as tuition fees can which could reduce the quality of teaching and majors offered to students.

No more crippling debt

On the other hand, students would be able to leave college without the burden of crippling debt weighing them down as they start their working lives. That is enough to put many people off going to college so free higher education would undoubtedly increase the number of applicants and, the number of young people gaining degrees.

The average college debt for a student is $37,000. If students were able to study for free, this would be drastically lower as they would likely only have to pay for accommodation and books. With a significant decrease in the amount of debt more young people would be able to find their way onto the first rung of the property ladder. They would have more money to positively contribute to the economy which would, in the grand scheme of things, help the country.

More people in college

With free higher education there would be an influx of students applying for colleges. With more people applying, waiting lists are going to have to get longer, or the colleges are going to require even more money to fund themselves. More funding probably means an increase in the taxes paid for educational purposes. Having more graduates could also oversaturate some industries and leave many with a college degree unable to find work in their respective fields.

Freedom of choice

College fees are high, and because of that many students will pick safe majors to make sure that they can have a good job when they leave. It might not be what they are interested in, but they know they’ll probably always find work. With free higher education, students will have the freedom to choose the majors they want to study. They won’t have to pick the ones they feel they ‘have’ to study, allowing them to determine what it is they really want to do in life. Students might feel a bit more relaxed about not having a huge paycheck at the end, and they won’t feel the pressure from their parents so much. Parents, likewise, won’t have to contribute to their children’s college funds so won’t feel the need to have their contributions repaid.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to free higher education. There are two sides to the argument, and each is with its merits. If it is free, then it will come at a cost to the taxpayer and will potentially oversaturate the job markets, but more people will have access to college and major in something they really have an interest in.