debate on why college education should be free

A college education is crucial especially in a world where competition for jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities occur at a global level. The college education equips one with skills and resources which are applicable alongside technological innovation in the workplace. Everyone, therefore, wishes to attend college to increase both their networks and skills to enhance their productivity at work. However, funding college education is increasingly becoming expensive which is a significant challenge to students from low-income families. On average graduates of four years, the college had accumulated debts of $26,900 and $32,600 public and private non-profit colleges respectively. The rising cost of a college education has thus led to the debate on whether it should be free or students and their families should continue paying for the college education. It is important to note that there are myriad advantages and disadvantages on the issues of free college to all. This essay, however, argues that making college free for everyone is not the best philosophy that should guide policy formulation on increasing access to a college education.

There is no doubt that free college policy will be funded by the taxpayers. Therefore the first argument against making college free relates to the addition of more responsibility to the taxpayers who are already dealing with funding healthcare and other social amenities such as the provision of water among others. In essence, making college free to all just transfers the responsibility directly from the students and their families to all the taxpayers. The policy will lead to increased taxation or redirecting the taxes from other areas of the economy which can disenfranchise other sectors of the economy.

A college education is also used as a tool to test the ability of high school students to continue with their education and to advance their skills. It is, therefore, a motivating factor for high school students to work hard knowing that there is a greater achievement ahead which is college. The process of making the college education free will, therefore, erode the value of this level of education. Most high school students may therefore not excel academically for them to achieve this milestone. Also, the reduced money value of the college education in the free college policy may lead to relaxed student populations which can adversely affect the quality of college education, the employability of the graduates and their level of competition with students from the other developed countries such as Europe. Further, free college would diminish one of the military’s strongest talking points for young people; with the majority only enlisting for school. The free college policy will, therefore, make enlisting with the military less lucrative which may deprive the nation of servicemen and women who sacrifice their lives to ensure that the rest of the population is safe and secure.

Although the outlines arguments are against a free college education, several counterarguments support free college and explain its overall benefits in society. The first counterargument relates to the reduction or total eradication of students’ debts. It is important to note that students’ debts are one of the leading causes of low living standards among young graduates as it weighs on their incomes immediately after graduation. In this case, a lot of the earnings will go to repaying debts instead of the early meaningful accumulation of assets and improving the standards of living. Further Kurfiss (2019) free college especially the tuition costs will make the overall cost of college education reasonable which will encourage more people to attend colleges making them more competitive at their employment, entrepreneurship ventures as well as the acquisition of vocational skills. The free college will also enable low-income families to send their kids to college and pursue their preferred field of study which may not be possible in paid colleges (Kurfiss, 2019).

Ayres (2019), also notes that making college free increases the disposable income of the taxpayers which therefore translates to easy funding of such programs. The presence of new public spending according to Ayres (2019) induces more economic activities which have a similar effect of a tax cut. The free college will, therefore, have the same effect in the economy with infrastructure spending which facilitates economic growth. It is also important to note that college graduates pay more in taxes compared to the general population implying that the policy will be self-sustaining.

The other counterargument against free college relates to the reduction of spending on areas such as defense and corporate welfare subsidies which will address the tax burden issues. Kurfiss (2019) explains that the government can redirect funds from less critical aspects such as corporate subsidies to fund free college without increasing the burden on the taxpayers. Further, the tax increase would only affect a small portion of the population and as such might not adverse economic impacts.

The other counterargument has also discredited the notion that free college will create lazy students by outlining that college students are motivated to get excellent grades regardless of the rate of tuition. Ayres (2019) has also reiterated that free college will enable students to solely focus on their studies without worrying about the financial burden which will lead to excellent results. Students with free colleges will further work with less than ideal jobs paying little wages which may also encourage them to work hard (Trade Schools, Colleges, and Universities, 2018). The last counterargument also outlines free college empowers the military to use college as a motivation to fight for wars that threaten the freedom of the country.

In conclusion, the essay focused on discussing the broader context of free college by examining its advantages and disadvantages. This goal has been achieved through outlining both sides of the issues of free college which is still controversial in society. The essay, however, outlined the arguments against free college by outlining different points including adding burden to taxpayers and enabling lazy and less motivated students. This position can, therefore, be strengthened through the inclusion of the argument that free college is not necessarily free as well as highlighting perspectives especially from public policy and education research experts.
















Ayres, C. (2019). 19 Should College be Free? Pros and Cons. Retrieved 4 August 2019, from

Kurfiss, D. (2019). Should College Be Free? We Answer The Burning Question. Retrieved 4 August 2019, from

Trade Schools, Colleges, and Universities. (2018). Should College Be Free? Here’s What You Need to Consider. Retrieved 4 August 2019, from net/articles/should-college-be-free.asp”>




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