Did you know that it costs

Tuition-Free College

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Introduction

Did you know that it costs students $25, 362 in tuition fees to attend a four-year course in the United States on average? The question of making college education free has always been an issue of discussion. It is a question with a complicated and unclear answer. Particularly during the electioneering period, the debate about student debt and the affordability of college education has always taken the center stage. This is particularly because presidential candidates like to build their manifestos on issues of cost of higher education. With the cost of completing a degree rising by the day, it places students, predominantly; those hailing from financially challenged backgrounds at a disadvantage. Education is an important determinant of a person’s future and it helps impact society positively and as such, college education should be made free. As taxes continue going up, tuition-free education would be beneficial to everyone as it reduces the burden of students to repay loans, it accords students from low-income backgrounds an opportunity to study, and also grants them an opportunity to pursue a major of their choice.

Tuition-Free Educations Reduces the Burden of Repaying Student Loans

One of the main reasons why college education should be made free is that it reduces the burden of repaying loans for students. Students often have to put with paying student loans years after completing college. Debt often crushes the morale of students to pursue college education because once they graduate, and get employed, they have to repay their loans from their salary which makes it difficult for them to make investments and advance their life. After getting their first job, students are forced to prioritize their loans and they have to set aside a portion of their salary every month which goes towards repaying their student loans. With the high cost of college education in the United States, very few students graduate with student loans that are less than $10,000? With the burden of repaying student loans, it becomes hard for them to make investments such as buying a house or a car. Worth noting, while tuition fees might be covered by student loans, nonresidential students also have to foot additional expenses including accommodation and upkeep.

Students Enjoy More Freedom to Choose A Major that they Enjoy

Another reason why the state should make college education free is that it accords students an opportunity to study a major that interests them. In most cases, students only select majors based on their lucrativeness. Their main aim is to finish college, graduate, and get a well-paying job that will enable them to repay their loan quickly. Some students do not choose a course because it is what they love, they just want an opportunity to get ahead in life (Dynarski, Libassi, Michelmore, & Owen, 2018). This is more so the case for students from low-income backgrounds. Additionally, some students are under constant pressure from their parents to finish college and get a job so they can help them financially. If college tuition is eliminated, then students would feel comfortable pursuing a major they enjoy. Their studies would be driven by their passion and interests rather than a fat paycheck. This way, they would be better placed to contribute to development because they are driven by passion and dedication and not just salaries and interest. Essentially, self-drive and interest go a long way in ensuring students finish college, prevents them from dropping out, and even cushions them from burnout which translates to low grades and poor productivity.

Tuition-Free College Enables Low-Income Students to Attend College

Another reason why the government should make college education free is that it gives students from low economic status an equal chance at a quality education. For some students, attending college is a luxury; a dream come true. College tuition is rather expensive and not all students will be able to afford to pay for it. This forces some students that lack the financial muscle to drop out of school which leads to unemployment and by extension poverty. By eliminating tuition fees, students that want to learn will not stress over dropping out or not graduating. They can concentrate on their studies without dealing with the pressure of worrying about how they will repay their student loans. Furthermore, eliminating tuition fees benefits society because it improves the quality of education depicted by high graduation rates. Additionally, students will not worry about studying part-time or taking unnecessary breaks. Low-income students have to take up part-time jobs and work in between classes to earn extra money for their day-to-day upkeep. This reduces their productivity as their attention is divided between their work and studies leading to poor grades.

Opposing Argument

The Tuition-Free Model Remains Unproven

Supporters of tuition-free college say that translates into a more educated society, however, there is no clear link between an educated workforce and college-free education. As a matter of fact, Canada, Japan, and South Korea, which are some of the most educated nations, do not provide free college. Meanwhile, the Scandinavian countries that came up with college-free education have the lowest ranks as far as college-degree attainment is concerned. It is evident that increased college-level attainment and government-subsidized college education do not always have a positive correlation. Compared to other countries, the United States has the highest tuition rates but it also channels a small section of federal funds towards higher education. Despite this, the country boasts a relatively high enrollment percentage with 20 million students enrolled in college currently. Making college free can reduce the rates of graduation by negatively impacting the quality of education and reducing private institution enrollment which often has higher graduation rates. These are some of the issues that made England do away with free college education in 1998. The National Bureau of Economic Research points out that while enrollment between the 1980s and 1990s increased in England, the gap in attaining college degrees between low-income and high-income families doubled (Perna, Leigh, & Carroll, 2017). While this argument is justified, it does not mean that the students are not struggling to raise tuition fees in order to attend college. The model might not have been proved true but it is a step in the right direction in ensuring equal access to quality education in the United States.

Conclusion

In closing, without a doubt, making college education free is beneficial but it also has its fair share of disadvantages. With the cost of inflation rising by the day, student loans tend to become a burden for students once they enter college. Making college education free is a good cause that is worth consideration. Making college education free is beneficial as it relieves students of the burden of repaying loans, it also grants students an opportunity to pursue a major they have interests in, and enables students from low-income backgrounds to access quality education which they would otherwise miss out on. On the contrary, the college-free model has not been proved effective which begs the question of the effectiveness of college free-education in degree attainment. It is high time that lawmakers come up with a proposal for the tuition-free bill which will ensure equal access to quality education for all.

References

Dynarski, S., Libassi, C. J., Michelmore, K., & Owen, S. (2018). Closing the gap: The effect of a targeted, tuition-free promise on college choices of high-achieving, low-income students (No. w25349). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Perna, L. W., Leigh, E. W., & Carroll, S. (2017). “Free college:” A new and improved state approach to increasing educational attainment?. American Behavioral Scientist, 61(14), 1740-1756.