Almost all countries in the developed world and an increasingly higher number of other nations in the developing world offer students access to free education at both the primary and secondary levels. This kind of education system is generally acceptable and as such, it does not attract a lot of resistance. On the other hand, education policies among nations appear to differ significantly in college education.
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Most states have made it compulsory for students to pay school fees so that they can attend college. Since not many students or parents for that matter can afford college tuition, they are usually forced to make grants or school loans. States often offer financial help to those students who are unable to pay their college fees. Other states have made college education free and as such, it is the right of all students to attend higher education. There is therefore a wide-ranging debate on whether state college should be free to attend, or not.
Students should be able to attend college at no cost because it should be the right of every individual to experience higher education regardless of his/her economic background. Also, having access to the vital knowledge that college education affords us should also be a fundamental right of everyone. University education offers tremendous opportunities and a bright future to students and as such, no student should be denied this chance (Swift 23).
Moreover, the university experience helps to shape individual views and opinions. The state should facilitate such a process because upon graduation, these individuals will bring prosperity and development to the country through their ideas.
Also, by offering students access to free college education the state stands to benefit from superior cultural, leadership, and economic development from a population that has received a university education. A highly educated populace is an economic boon not just to society, but to the country as well. For example, an educated populace is a bale to populace c high-quality products and services and this helps to bring economic gains and fame to the nation.
Countries that actively pursue the “smart economy” culture benefit enormously (Department of the Taoiseach 3). Providing free college education benefits the country culturally because such students can offer extensive indefinable benefits to society in such areas as painting, architecture, and crafts. Furthermore, by offering free college education, the state is developing future leaders. Lack of fees prevents most individuals from realizing their full potential and this is a huge economic, cultural, and leadership loss to society and the state at large.
Offering free tertiary education also enables a state to foster social equality. This is a free college education that allows the state to actively encourage members of the society that lack a university attendance culture to start attending college. Lack of finance is not the only reason why certain groups of society may fail to attend college. For instance, research shows that between a poor African-American student and a poor white student of comparable economic means, the latter is more likely to attend college than the former (Allen, Epps & Haniff 29). On the other hand, a free college education would foster social equality within society.
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Another reason why college education should be made free by the state is that young people often find the burden of paying college loans too much to bear, and more so in the case of financially disadvantaged persons. College fees are often quite high and as such, most students have a very hard time paying it. Therefore, most students end up applying for higher education loans. Given the current state of the economy, jobs are hard to come by and as such, most students feel under pressure to perform well in college so that they can increase their chances of getting jobs upon graduation. This is their only hope of ever repaying their student loans (Kane 47).
Some students end up dropping out of college due to this pressure. For those students who choose to remain in college and can eventually graduate, they normally end up repaying their university loans for most of their working lives (Hill 5). Making college education free would therefore help to relieve the debt burden from the minds of poor university students.
A free college education also enables individuals to maximize their utility because they have an equal opportunity to pursue higher education just like everybody else. As a result, they are also able to rid themselves of the social strata that have defined them thus far. By providing free college education, the state is guaranteeing equal opportunities to every citizen. University education opens doors to a brighter future for everyone, such as access to well-paying jobs (Tribune Opinion 2). A free college education would therefore enable people to improve their future lives, regardless of their current economic standing.
The purpose of the essay was to examine whether the state should make college education free. This is a very important issue worthy of exploration considering that it has elicited a heated debate with both proponents and opponents alike trying to champion the stand. By completing this assignment, I was able to gain useful insights into the topic at hand. For example, I learned that the lack of school fees is not the only reason why certain groups in society may fail to attend college.
In this case, there has to be a past culture of attending college education. As such, a student whose group culture has a history of attending college will do so, regardless of his/her financial situation, compared with another student from a different cultural group that does not prioritize college education, although both students may be of comparable economic means.
Completing this essay has also helped me to appreciate the kind of pressure to perform that students who have taken student loans are subjected to, because they are always thinking of how to repay it, never mind that they have to worry about their studies as well.
Considering that this is a very interesting topic, there was a lot of literature available and as such, I had a lot of difficulties in trying to sift the literature and narrowing down to the most relevant content. The reason why I decided to write on this topic is that it touches on the lives of the virtual citizen. For example, in case college education is made free, it shall be funded using taxpayers’ money. Also, the topic is important to me as a student because should the state deem it necessary to make college education free, then I need not worry about repaying my student loan.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most about this assignment is the fact that I could add my insights and arguments into it because it is a debate I have been engaged in previously, not to mention that it affects me directly. Writing this essay has enabled me to appreciate the importance of free college education. I think that it would be foolhardy to offer free primary and secondary education, only to deny students access to free college education and this is the most crucial stage in their educational journey.
Allen, Walter, Epps, Edgar, and Haniff, Nesha. College in Black and White. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991. Print.
Department of the Taoiseach. 2008. Building Ireland’s Smart Economy: A Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal. Web.
Hill, Christine. 2008. Still Paying Off that Student Loan.
Kane, Thomas. The Price of Admission: Rethinking How Americans Pay for College. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1999. Print.
Swift, Adam. Political Philosophy: A Beginner’s Guide for Students and Politicians. Cambridge: Polity, 2000. Print.
Tribune Opinion. Education Paves Way Out of Poverty. 2005. Web.