This would be a great plan for the people who are sincere about earning an education but cannot afford the tuition. Having taught at the college level in a school that gave free tuition to freshman that had a 3.8 or higher grade point, it was a successful program because the students were highly motivated. The school kept a check on the progress of the students with a 93 % success.
There are a handful of colleges and universities that do not add tuition to students' bills, which can add up to major cost savings for those who qualify or who are willing to work in return for their education.
Some of the schools that do not charge tuition have strict eligibility guidelines. Most still charge room, board, and other fees, so they are not completely free, notes Pamela Rambo, founder of the education-focused Rambo Research and Consulting firm.
On the other hand, many times when something valuable is given to marginal students they do not appreciate or value it. There would be a great many students who start school and then drop out because they were not prepared fthe rigors of a free college education.
I have a personal example of this. A friend of mine works at a large, elite private university. Because she works there, her grandson was able to go to the school free of charge, including tuition [$30,000 per year], board, and books. He was able to get into an exclusive program of photography and graphics programming. He would be able to go to this school free for four years. After one semester he quit school because it was "stupid." Of course, he was too immature to appreciate the wonderful opportunity that he was rejecting.
My point is that when the education is free, it may not be as valued as free tuition should be had the person had to borrow the money and/or work to pay his tuition. There are citizens who are opposed to free education. Through their taxes, poor families subsidize rich students who can easily afford to pay fees.
Secondly, spending government money on free education often takes away money from other needed aspects of society: hospitals, roads, public elementary and secondary education. University education is not for everyone. There would be an influx of students who were marginal and certainly did not belong in the college setting. If college were free, many students would go just because they could, not because they appreciated or valued the opportunity.
A controversial topic that will need to be tried and monitored to see its true value.