According to Nelson Mandela, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” College learning is a fundamental national policy of every country in the world, but the cost associated with earning university credentials is debilitating. Education provides opportunities for citizens to improve their quality of life, fulfill their dreams of having careers, and be responsible people in society. A reputable college degree gives students the leadership skills that they require to proceed in the direction they want in life. Higher learning helps people become more self-confident, provides economic stability and security and makes one a great contributor to society. Additionally, higher learning gives people the knowledge and the power to change the world. If it were made free, more students would enroll in higher institutions and gain insight into how they can impact the world for the better. The debate about whether post-secondary education should be free seems to be intensifying each year. A college education is among the most expensive level of learning. Due to the rising cost of college tuition, affordable university education for all would be appealing to everyone and encourage more citizens to enroll. It would also allow students the freedom to choose their major and they would no longer be crushed by huge amounts of debts that slow down students’ ability to attain their overall career goals. However, some people would oppose free college education as impractical arguing that passing this proposition would increase tax charges even in the middle-class level because the money to fund education has to come from somewhere. Additionally, opponents of free education believe that it would lead to a decline in the economic growth of a country. They argue that enrolling more people in higher education institutions could reduce the value of degrees offered leading to a higher number of unproductive workers depending on their qualifications. In addition, students might be unfocused in their education if it is offered freely which may cause reduced productivity in the labor market. In my opinion, college education should be made available to everyone and not just to a chosen few because first, it is a right, not a privilege and secondly because of its numerous benefits both to the individual and to a country and its economy.
In several International conventions, education is a basic human right. This implies that the right to learning is legally guaranteed for everyone without any discrimination. The government has an obligation to make college education affordable to all its citizens. It should, therefore, apply appropriate techniques towards the full execution of the fundamental right to education to the utmost of its available resources. Plans to establish a “free college” system should be well laid out and specific, acknowledge the relationship between accessibility and degree finalization. If not, these plans are likely, to under-perform, or to make matters worse. An effective free college education plan should be determined by five key components. First, the plan should contain measures to improve higher learning readiness throughout high school. Secondly, the scheme should cover both two-year and four-year public universities. Thirdly, the plan should include extra costs beyond tuition, such as food or accommodation. The fourth component requires the plan to make efforts to reduce dropout rates and time of degree completion. Lastly, a free education scheme should accommodate people of all income levels. Many learners drop out due to lack of tuition fees. For example, according to research done by Bob Samuels, only 30% of Americans enrolled in a college end up graduating. This is because students are sometimes forced to work while in school to raise money for their tuition fees and upkeep. Juggling between school and work leads to poor performance among degree seekers and most of them do not qualify to graduate (Samuels 1). Additionally, too much outside work commute greatly lowers overall academic achievement. Statistics show that learners who attend university on a regular part-time basis are more likely to drop out than their counterparts who attend full-time. Opponents of tuition-free higher education would argue that this proposition would simply be very costly for governments to finance long-term. This would then impose a financial burden on taxpayers which would, in turn, negatively impact the economy as people might spend or invest less. However, with proper planning and execution, the state leadership would be able to provide free education without overtaxing its citizens. The government should pay greater attention to the protection of the right to education and invest more money in a free college education plan that supports all students in higher learning institutions.
A fundamental benefit of free college education is that it will minimize the rising cost of higher learning and translate into decreased student debt. Statistics reveal that “the average cost of higher learning in the US increases at twice the rate of inflation” (Ulbrich, et al. 1). Tuition cost increases twofold every nine years. This leads to outrageous student loans in many colleges that weigh down the lives of many learners slowing their ability to get married, bear children or buy a home. “The crisis of student debt has become a focal point of research and analysis by government agencies, nonprofit organizations, economists, and the learners who borrow the loans” (Ulbrich, et al. 1). High amounts of student loans may negatively impact their vocational choice, reduce their general well-being, inhibit them from giving back to their society, and detain development in attaining other financial goals like saving for their future (Ulbrich, et al. 1). Rising student debts are associated with illnesses such as depression, and emotional drain. An increase in tuition fees in higher education has contributed largely to a significant rise in student indebtedness (Brugel & Johnson 65). “The cause of this malady is the state funding cuts to higher education institutions, which leads to an increased cost burden placed on the borrower” (Ulbrich, et al. 1). These loans take a long time to repay lowering the quality of life for graduates. Opponents to this proposition may argue that, with free education, students might face challenges in handling their finances. Their argument would be that college life teaches students a lot and offers them a few experiences such as handling money matters, building a budget and saving money. While this is true, it should not stop free education from being implemented since students can be taught financial experiences and gain exposure from workplaces. Higher education should, therefore, be affordable to everyone with the desire irrespective of their financial status. Schools and colleges should work on minimizing tuition increases and offer student scholarships. Tuition-free education will ensure that students do not have to typically work extra hours to achieve their educational goals or take on huge loans which slow their life-long development.
Achieving the “college for all” goal would act as a stimulus for the economy and improve people’s social lives. Undoubtedly, education has monetary value to society and individuals. An educated person has an increased earning power than one without education. Research shows that when treated as an investment, education is highly profitable in providing people with much greater opportunities in terms of learning (Witmer 512). Providing free college education would produce more workers who are productive in new fields such as science and technology. According to research, a nation is more productive when the number of educated employees is large, since they can finish tasks that demand educational and critical thinking skills more effectively. In nations where majority of the people go to college and graduate, there is rapid economic growth than in countries with less graduates. Therefore, ensuring that higher education is free would lead to increased economic development. In this respect, learning is seen as an investment in human resource. Providing learning opportunities for many people would ensure that businesses have more employees with the intellectual ability to create quality products and services. A country can only achieve its sustainable development goals if it substantially invests in human resources. Education equips students with many social benefits, enriches their understanding of themselves and the world, and improves businesses and technological developments. Furthermore, learning secures economic and social growth and improves income dissemination. Quantitative expansion of educational opportunities as well as its qualitative improvement when incorporated in to the labor force forms the basis for economic progress. A nation cannot experience national development unless it develops the skills and knowledge of its people. Opponents of free education would argue that the most successful countries like the U.S and Japan are proof that free university education is not fundamental for national development. Additionally, they may feel that free higher education college would not be enough to affect great changes in social adaptability that are required throughout the world. Nevertheless, even in the most developed countries, quite a number of citizens do not have access to higher education. The free college will ensure that such people are not left out and will improve their ability to contribute to society. By eradicating student debts, graduates would have more money to spend elevating their country’s economy. Free education will lead to more entrepreneurial skills and technological advancements which are beneficial in ensuring individual success and social-economic progression.
When suitably modified, free college education will play a vital role in agricultural and rural development. In most developing countries, rural settlers lack the necessary financial requirements to further their education. Additionally, in these nations, a large number of the population lives in rural areas. This means that their contribution to the national economic development is usually limited. Access to a free higher learning will impart knowledge and skills in rural citizens while assisting them in to make better choices about farming. Additionally, free education in rural areas will ensure that people do not misinterpret information. The various forms of education that can be used to promote rapid rural and agricultural development include the following: A general education which equips people with an understanding of basic science and their surroundings. Education on family development provides learners with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that they can apply to enhance their quality of life. Community development education is designed to enhance the dynamics of rural organizations and operations so that rural communities may experience growth. Occupational education teaches and trains students to undertake different agricultural projects efficiently and equips them with knowledge concerning the various occupations in agriculture. Education for all will significantly affect the development of employment opportunities and pave way for accessibility of qualified manpower, improved transport system, and immediate markets which are key factors in ensuring rural progression. The benefits of higher learning in rural areas include gaining the knowledge to analyze policies, government plans, rights, and duties. Free college education will provide employment and income opportunities for rural residents and thus improve standards of living. Additionally, it will help communities to gain effective and efficient leadership skills such as confidence, knowledge, and experience. Education is an important aspect of enhancing growth in rural areas more so in the communities living in these places.
Education improves the overall health, nutrition and sanitation of a people. A free higher education produces more healthy and happy people. It motivates people to enhance social engagement which is a key component in creating more secure, united and healthier communities (Furnee, et al. 417). At a private level, education will provide social attitudes that can better help citizens to easily acquire and apply information and services to elevate their own standards of living and those of their families. According to studies conducted over the years, people with little to no education are more prone to premature deaths and suffer from poor health than the more educated people. The learning aspect drives people to understand themselves and the world better, while improving their quality of life. For example, better job opportunities provide health-promoting services such as health insurance which improves longevity and the living standards of a country’s citizens. Consequently, good education provides people with access to health resources such as nutritious food. An educated community enhances low levels of crime rates and increases the sense of social welfare. Research shows that increased academic achievement “improves health directly but also indirectly through work, economic conditions, social-psychological resources, and healthy lifestyle” (Furnee, et al. 417). Critics of free college education would argue that passing this proposition will cause more harm than good. Not only will the value of college degrees decline, but also, the programs available to students will become limited. However, the product and personal attributes of education are both critical components of an individual’s health and a determinant of other factors of their simultaneous and future wellbeing (Hahn and Truman 2). Providing free college education will ensure that more people are healthier and hence lead to the overall wellbeing of the general society.
Free higher public education is a fundamental basic right that has numerous benefits to individual learners and to a country’s economic development and progression. University education is costly and the procedure of requesting for and acquiring financial help is tedious as well as demanding. Many people would love to see their children enrolled for higher learning, but are greatly worried its affordability. Free college education will encourage more students to enroll and increase graduation rates. Today, most career fields are information-based and require professional expertise. In the near future, more and more job opportunities will require a certain level of post-secondary education. Hence, manpower that is more educated will fill any market gaps and propel America’s economy forward. A free college education will pave the way for many to succeed in their personal lives and propel their societies forward. In addition, “college for all” will boost the economic status of a country. Due to its affordability, many people will access higher education which would make a big impact on their lives. Graduates will be able to buy homes, cars, and advance in their careers. Additionally, more graduates would possess credentials sought after by employers and hence qualify for better paying jobs. As a result, people will have more money to spend which will in turn improve the economic status of a nation. It would also increase extra tax revenues collected by the government which would play a vital role towards funding free college education. Lack of burdensome student debts will motivate people to volunteer more and give back to their societies and country. Affordable education will also encourage a person to work hard and harness their skills and talents promoting sustainable economic development. A country’s investment in free post secondary education will yield significant revenue propelling the nation forward.