Collegeshould be tuition free of charge
Collegeshould be tuition free of charge
Inthe highly competitive global economy, where economies, nations andsocieties are competing at the global scale in all aspects, a welleducated population plays a critical role in social and economicprosperity. Education remains the foundation of any economy.Accessibility to higher education is critical for the self sustainingAmerican society, now and in the future. Through education, the gapbetween the rich and the poor as well as the large social andeconomic disparities will be resolved. However, the cost ofeducation, especially college and university education has been onthe increase (Samuels, 2013). Some economists have argued thatcollege and university education could be the next economic bubble inthe country. This is mainly because of increased number of Americanstaking huge debts to finance college education. On the other hand,due to commercialization of education the quality has gone downsignificantly resulting into declining financial benefits ofeducation. In addition to the large number of people leaving collegesand universities with huge financial burdens and debts, a largenumber of bright Americans have no access to college education. Thishas resulted into a raging debate on whether college education shouldbe free. While a large number of people have argued that tuition feesin colleges and universities should be abolished and be paid by thegovernment, others have argued against this argument (Samuels, 2013). There is no doubt that free college education is emerging into animportant political and policy issue in the modern America. Thispaper argues that the United States government should make collegeeducation free because it promotes fairness and equity as well asenhance the quality of college education.
Themain argument that has been used to support free college education isthe positive externalities of education. Proponent of free collegeeducation have argued that free college education will promotefairness in the society by ensuring that people and entities whopositively benefit from a more educated society contributes towardseducation. The American society has benefited greatly from education.Public support for higher education is therefore justified because itis for the benefit of the society (Carey, 2016). The American societyis able to enjoy the most sophisticated technology, health careservices and security because of the externalities of education.Additionally, free college and university education will promoteequity in the American society. The increased cost of highereducation in the modern society has resulted into disproportionateaccess to higher education. Only the rich has an access to education,while the poor only option is to borrow in order to finance highereducation. Abolishment of college and university tuition fees willincrease access to higher education among the poor (Samuels, 2013).
Despitethese arguments, some people have argued against free collegeeducation. This is because of the fact that free college educationwill result into opportunity costs on tax expenditure or increasetaxation. Either, the government will be forced to increase taxes tofinance college education or reduce spending on other governmentexpenditure. This will have negative impacts on the economy.Additionally, opponents of free college education have argued thatgrants, scholarships and loans can effectively deal with theinequalities and disproportionate access to education. They havecited numerous grants and scholarships which are available to brightstudents from financial disadvantaged backgrounds. However, comparedto the United States government revenues and expenditure, collegetuition is significantly low. The total cost of college educationwill be less than 0.5 percent of the gross domestic product, andtherefore manageable. On the other hand, grants, scholarships andloans do not have significant impacts on accessibility of collegeeducation to poor Americans (Samuels, 2013).
Althoughopponent of free college education view it as a drastic idea, it isnot radical. Some countries such as Sweden, Norway, Finland andGermany offer free college and university education to theircitizens. Other less developed countries such as Spain, Brazil,Argentina and Egypt have abolished tuition fees in colleges anduniversities. These economies are significantly small compared tothe United States economy, and thus if they can afford it, theAmerican economy can afford it. In the late 20thcentury, some universities such as University of California and CityUniversity of New York did not charge tuition fee to Americanstudents. The net benefits accrued from a more educated Americansociety cannot be compared to the manageable increase in governmentexpenditure due to abolishment of tuition fees in public colleges anduniversities (Goldrick-Rab & Kelly, 2016).
Abolishmentof tuition will have multiple impacts on the education system. Itwill impact on the negative impacts of commercialization of educationwhich has negatively affected the quality of education in America. Itwill also relieve Americans from the financial burden associated withloans to finance higher education. In the long run, Americans will bemore educated and there will be less inequalities and disparities inthe access to education. It will also have a positive impact on thequality of higher education in the country.
Carey,K. (2016). TheEnd of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University OfEverywhere.New York: Riverhead Books.
Goldrick-Rab,S. & Kelly, A. (2016). Should Community College Be Free?Education Next Talks with Sara Goldrick-Rab and Andrew P. Kelly.EducationNext,16(1).
Samuels,R. (2013). Whypublic higher education should be free: how to decrease cost andincrease quality at American universities.New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.