Should college education be free, or should university students be required to pay tuition fees?
Some countries have free education from kindergarten to university, while students in other countries have to pay at every step of the way. This essay will look at some of the reasons for this difference at university level.
Free third level education has several advantages. First of all, everyone can attend, so the gap between rich and poor students decreases as poorer students have more opportunity. The economy also benefits from the increased pool of highly educated labor. An educated workforce attracts employers and foreign investment. Socially, a more educated population should have more choices regarding nutrition, jobs and lifestyle. An additional point is that university fees only contribute a small proportion of the university budget.
However, some people are opposed to free education. First of all, through their taxes, poor families subsidize rich students who can easily afford to pay fees. A second point is that spending government money on free education is often not possible or desirable when a country needs hospitals, roads, and primary or secondary schools. A third point is that a university education is a choice, not a requirement. People who finish college with advanced qualifications are going to earn large salaries and can easily afford to pay back loans. Furthermore, when people get something for free, they often do not value it. If college is free, many students will go there just because they cannot think of anything else to do.
In conclusion, free third level education is not always a good thing. Governments need to think carefully about their policies and ensure that they are using their resources to help all the people in the country equitably.