Should higher education be free for everyone?Should higher education be free for everyone?

27 Answers

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It seems to me that too many people take a passive attitude toward "education." These people tend to assume that education is something that happens to you and that without having people and institutions to do this mysterious thing called "educating" they will have to remind in a benighted state of ignorance all their lives. There is nothing to prevent people from educating themselves every day--if they are willing to focus on learning and to forego the mindless chatter and tasteless music that distracts so many of the masses. The modern world offers all kinds of facilities for improving our minds, including libraries, the Internet, computer software, all kinds of video and audio tapes, and some limited programming on television. eNotes provides a marvelous service with input from hundreds of qualified teachers. If a person knows how to read, he or she can have access to the world's knowledge; and if that person doesn't know how to read, learning to do so should be the first step in the educational process. Education is not the monopoly of schools. To believe this is to adopt a helpless, dependent attitude which is antipathetic to real education. A helpless, dependent attitude toward teachers is disheartening to them. They appreciate learners who are self-starters and motivated seekers of understanding and enlightenment.

jeew-m's profile pic

jeew-m | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I can say YES as well as i can say NO.

If you are a clever guy and you don't have money for higher studies you really feel the need of free education. At least if there is no free education you hope that you will have scholarship. So in this case free education for higher studies is very much important.

Now let us think of a world with free education. When you have higher education free some of you might not understand the meaning or value of free education. So they will just stay in the school or collage for free and get out as idiots without any thing in your mind. The money spend on them will be completely useless.

So if you don't have free education and if you need to pay for education at least the people who just hangout there will recognise they have to do something for the money. So they will start to learn something at least. In this case paid education is better.


So finally we must be sure that everybody learn and best people get rewards. Clever ones should not left education simply because he has no money and idling idiots don't need to get education simply because the education is free.

We need a mechanism to encourage the best and educate the bad. The mechanism need not to be free education or paid education. That is something between those two.

trophyhunter1's profile pic

trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

It should not be free to everyone. However, if a student maintains an A average throughout high school, I believe as a reward they should be able to attend college tuition-free, regardless of their parent's income. Why not? It seems to me that many students are never rewarded for their efforts and that many scholarships are need-based only. Those are fine, but  why not reward students regardless of need on their efforts alone?

billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Maybe higher education should not be free for everyone, but I think it is a terrible thing that many young people these days are graduating from college and starting their working lives as much as $40,000 in debt! As many of us have learned from experience, debts like that, with accruing interest, are a crushing weight that has a harmful psychological effect. There ought to be a better answer. I don't know what it is.

literaturenerd's profile pic

literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I, too, agree that it should not be free. Many people feel a sense of entitlement when something is determined to be free. That said, people who feel like this may not have the desire to push themselves--as those who work for higher education.


marbar57's profile pic

marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

I don't think it should be free. There are too many free things as it is. We have to think of all the instructors, professors, and teachers who have spent a lot of money on their own college, and teaching is the means whereby they earn a living. In that sense, higher education is a two-fold blessing: helping us learn while helping teachers earn.

Also, I think higher education should be an earned privilege rather than a given one. That way, those who aspire to obtain a degree will have worked for it and will appreciate it versus having it just given to them.

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I'm not sure that state-funded (free is not really an accurate way to describe it) higher education is plausible in this country. But I would argue that we have a national interest in identifying and training talented people. Right now, our higher education system identifies and trains those people who are capable of paying for it. I do not pretend to have the answers, though service requirements are one option.  

shake99's profile pic

shake99 | Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I also do not think higher education should be free for everyone--the cost would simply be too high in terms of taxation. We would also flood universities and colleges with students who weren't really serious or qualified, simply because it wouldn't cost them anything to get to college.

litlady33's profile pic

litlady33 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

I think speamerfam raises an interesting point, and from what I understand, she does not suggest that young adults would be forced into service, as francy17 states, but that they would have the option to go into some kind of service. The incentive for, say, two years, would be some free education. I'm not quite sure how this would work, but I think it's worth exploring.

With that said, I do not think education should be free for everyone. As stated in some of the above comments, the biggest issue would be paying for it- the money would have to come from somewhere. I do, however, think that everyone should have the opportunity to get a higher education if that is what they want, regardless of their socio-economic situation. These opportunities do exist in the form of federal student aid, grants, scholarships, and student loans. Some of this is, in fact, "free money," but it is earned based on merit and need. The loans are not free, and people have to pay them back, as they should.

lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree with pohnpei397 that higher education should not be free in the sense that everyone has an unconditional entitlement to it.  However, I would like to see some sort of national service for all of our youth, a commitment of two years, perhaps, doing something for the country, whether it be serving in the military, acting as aides in the classroom, or even emptying bedpans. Once this service is accomplished, then a "free" education would be available.  This would solve a few problems, one being that many 17 and 18-year-olds are not ready for college, another being that this would give them some experiences to latch onto when they do go to college, yet another being that we should all be expected to give something to our country, and of course, promoting the notion that education is a privilege that should be earned. 

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is largely a matter of opinion. In my opinion, higher education should not be free for everyone for a few reasons. 

First, if we make higher education free for everyone, our tax rates would go through the roof. They are high as it is even now. We can do with less taxes. If money were not an issue, then of course make education free, but this is not the situation. Money always plays an important factor. 

Second, not all people need higher education. I think more and more people are realizing this. To master a trade is a good option for many people. We have to come to terms with the fact that not all are intellectually curious. Moreover, higher education will not benefit everyone. 

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

No, it should not be.  There are two reasons for this.

First, if higher education is free, too many people will enter college.  People will go to college even if it will really not benefit them.  They will waste their time and effort on something that will not help them that much.

Second and more importantly, it is not equitable to have free higher education.  People who can pay their own way ought to do so.  If higher education is free, we would essentially be taking money from every taxpayer (including those in the poorer classes) and using it to help middle and upper class people go to college.  This is not equitable.

crystaltu001's profile pic

crystaltu001 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Not really because if higher education is free then there will be way too much people in college. College is something for people who worked hard all those years to get to so not just anyone can get into higher education. 

spearso's profile pic

spearso | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

While the millions of people struggling to pay off student loans would love to have had free higher education, I am not sure it would be something our country could afford. A program that paid for the education of only the people who graduate would prevent drop-outs from wasting resources. Drop-outs would have the cost of their education turned into loans. This would ensure people who were serious about their education actually start. I like this idea, but it would be so costly for tax payers. 

yousawinner's profile pic

yousawinner | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

I would suggest that higher education must be free for every one. One major reason behind that most of the students are unable to pay their tution fees. While I can understand Government needs to spend a lot of money for that there is certainly a positive outcome by spending money in this sector. When a student finish his study, he can play a vital role in making a strong economy for his nation. Different nations have their own methods to contribute 
in higer study. For example, we can consider the example of Canada. In Canada, students can borrow money from Government for their higher study. Although they have to return a portion of that money when they are in job, they don't need to worry about the tution fees and other expenses during their study. I do think other Governments should follow Canada or take a
positive stand on this issue to make higher education free for their future citizens.

As another post had stated earlier in the discussion, getting free education can make people take it for granted and there are some people who may not even perform accordingly in the institutions, hence waste state funds since every Jack and Jill, including the non-deserving, will be able to proceed to higher educational levels. This is why every government has sponsorship programs; funding for students who may not be able to pay for all fees regarding their education. Education institutions also have scholarships that benefit students with great potential in their studies.

In a nutshell, I disagree with free education for all. It instead should be awarded to students who rightfully deserve it, those who will actually learn and adopt the skills taught to them and use to them to shape the country.

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