It is common knowledge that education is key to the advancements in technology, medicine and other essential elements of human lives. The constitution of the United States of America also lists education as one of the human rights that people in the country have. Nevertheless, not everyone has access to education. People have to pay for education in the country and those who cannot afford it drop out. The issue of education has also been politicized for long leading to the current status quo. Though some argue that free college education will not improve the rates of graduation, college education should be free. It will improve graduation rates by making it more accessible to everyone and reducing the need to work to study. Higher graduation rates will also boost the economy.
The higher education system of the United States of America is among the most independent from the government in the world. Therefore, they operate in an almost decentralized manner. The universities are also very diverse. Some institutions are religiously affiliated while others are secular. Some organizations are private while others are publicly run (US Department of State). Nevertheless, they are all funded by the students or philanthropists with minimal support from the government. The debate on whether or not education should be free for all is old. Some people have argued that even if education were free, the rates of graduation would not increase. Evidence suggests that making education free for everyone would improve graduation rates and the lives of Americans in general.
First, making education free will make it accessible to everyone and therefore increase the rates of graduation. Many people drop out of the various colleges because of the failure to afford their tuition fees. According to Bob Samuels, a lecturer of language at the University of California, Santa Barbara, only about 30 percent of people who enroll in the colleges of the USA graduate (Samuels). This number is partly caused by the inability of students to afford tuition fees. The lecturer states that the tuition fees are increasing faster than the rate of inflation, therefore making it hard for students to support themselves while participating in education. The high rates of college dropout also result in a high level of unemployment as the people who dropout and fail to join other tertiary institutions lack the required skills to get decent jobs. Therefore, making higher education free to everyone will increase the number of graduates.
Second, the high cost of education forces students to spend a lot of time working to make ends meet and afford their education. The part-time working also reduces the rates of graduation (Samuels). Students fail their exams because of spending the time that they could dedicate to studying in places of work. However, due to their low qualifications, the students are underpaid leading them to have to work more to afford upkeep and tuition fees. After the work, they spend less time studying and fail in their exams. Making higher education free to everyone would relieve the students of the need to work to pay their fees and therefore give them more time to study and pass their exams. According to Samuels, the part-time jobs make students fail exams and get stuck in the higher education system for more than the four years that they are supposed to take to graduate (Samuels). The author says that students end up taking five to six years leading to a waste of resources by both the students and the government. Making education free to all people will help to save the resources wasted due to work and overstay in the universities.
Third, the increase in the number of graduates that will result from making education free will boost the economy of the country. If people graduate, they are likely to earn more than the people who drop out of college. Also, the many people that will graduate will contribute to the skilled labor that is important for economic growth. The many skilled workers will make the US more competitive as compared to how it is now (Samuels). Also, higher education has been linked to good health and healthy living. Making it free would make it accessible to many people and therefore enhance their health and wellbeing. Thus, apart from free education improving the economy of the country by improving the incomes of the citizens, it will also improve their health and hence improve human welfare in the country.
Despite the apparent and robust evidence in support of free education, some people may still argue that making education free will burden the taxpayers. However, the truth is that in the long run, it will improve the earnings of all Americans and reduce unemployment. Therefore, the benefits of free education are more than the costs. Also, making it free will enable students to use the money that they would have used for tuition in buying products and services, therefore bolstering the economy (Samuels). Thus, the cost to taxpayers is not a good reason for denying people their right to education.
Other people who oppose free education may also claim that education is not a fundamental right to the people. However, despite the fact that the courts have refused to label education as a fundamental right, education has a cumulatively positive impact on the society. Also, schooling enables research in healthcare and other areas (Marcus). Therefore, it should be made free to everyone.
In conclusion, despite the fact that some people argue that free education will not improve the rates of graduation, evidence proves the contrary. Free education will make it available to all people. It will save resources as students will not spend most o their time part-timing rather than studying. Free education will also help to improve the economy of the US. Therefore, higher education should be made free to everyone.
Marcus, Jon. “College and University Enrollment is Down for the Fifth Straight Year.” The Hechinger Report, 16 Dec. 2016, hechingerreport.org/college-university-enrollment-fifth-straight-year/.
Samuels, Bob. “Why All Public Higher Education Should Be Free.” The Huffington Post, 18 Nov. 2011, www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-samuels/why-all-public-higher-edu_b_1099437.html.
US Department of State. “Understanding US Higher Education.” US Department of State, 13 Dec. 2016, educationusa.state.gov/foreign-institutions-and-governments/understanding-us-higher-education.