Should Higher Education Be Free?

By: Shauna Connelly

One of the controversies America has been facing for years is – should higher education be free? Consider that with the benefits of free college tuition, come factors that are challenging for students in different ways. A college education offers better career opportunities, personalized career paths, and increased financial stability. However, free tuition would increase taxes in the United States. For this reason, it is vital to consider all of the aspects of free tuition for college. 

To begin, advocates believe that free tuition would overall benefit society. Supporters think that individuals would be smarter, creating a more intelligent population. Also, the workforce would expand because more people would be prepared to take on jobs requiring higher education. In addition to this, the average student debt in America is $31,172 per person, therefore free tuition would boost the economy. People in favor of free college also believe it would provide equal opportunities to students from various households. In an interview, Mr. Anderson, one of the Salisbury High School’s guidance counselors, explained, “College has become very unaffordable for many; we are seeing more and more students going to community colleges. More students are taking student loans and are coming out in debt.” 

Critics, however, believe that free college would be harmful to society. For instance, if students don’t have to pay for college, they won’t have motivation to work as hard. Students typically try to ‘earn their money’s worth’ through their effort towards their education. Along with this, the money for college would still have to be technically paid from somewhere, this would be in our taxes as citizens of the US. Finally, college tuition being free would result in more applicants being waitlisted or rejected. This is because more of society would be applying. Mrs. Moyer, another one of the SHS guidance counselors, wrote in an email interview,  “College is a huge investment and we all know it definitely is far from cheap, in fact, it’s downright expensive. Going to college means creating a budget and saving for it.”

Mrs. Moyer went on to share her opinion on the topic. “I personally do not think higher education should be free.  Although this idea has benefits there are some cons that I really feel need to be considered.” She later explained that “Going to college means creating a budget and saving for it, which is a valuable skill our younger generations need and will use throughout life.” Mr. Anderson said, “The cost of college has gotten to be very expensive. Depending on your major, you want to look at your return in investments.” 

The amount of students that are in debt is likely going to continue to increase. From my perspective, college should definitely be more affordable, however, I do not believe that it should be free. I believe that the price should decrease to allow everyone equal opportunities for their future. In conclusion, free college would benefit students, but it would certainly hold them back in other factors.  Be sure to consider this when debating if college should be free or not. 

Works Cited

5 Reasons Why College Should Be Free. 2021, http://www.uopeople.edu/blog/5-reasons-why-college-should-be-free/. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

Should College Be Free. 1 Mar. 2021, http://www.bestcolleges.com/blog/should-college-be-free/. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.Tuition-free college is critical to our economy. EdSource, 2021, edsource.org/2020/tuition-free-college-is-critical-to-our-economy/641232. Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.