Free college education – boon or bane?

Offering free college education has been a contentious issue based on the presence of both proponents and opponents.

The notion of free college has been prompted by factors such as high tuition fees, and this has hindered some students from attaining fundamental education.

The idea of whether to offer free college education or not is founded on nations’ diverging values and objectives. As a result, the presence of distinctive approaches is inevitable.

Free college trade-offs

Free college has been fronted so that every student can access higher education. Nevertheless, this approach may necessitate certain compromises for compensation purposes.

According to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), free college education in the United States could necessitate certain trade-offs such as institutions being allocated with lesser resources. Additionally, another trade-off could be in the form of inferior attainment.

The AEI investigators noted a connection between the way a nation ranked highly for a certain aspect and less for the rest.

For instance, Finland ranked the first position for subsidies but emerged eleventh and twenty-fifth for resources and attainment respectively. 

On the other hand, the United States was positioned highly for attainment and resources, However, it emerged thirty-first for subsidies.

The ideology illustrated is that students considerably shared for higher education cost as compared to various developed nations.

Free college does not mean open-access

Based on the AEI report, free college in the nations, scrutinized did not signify that the institutions were open-access.

Jason Delisle, an AEI member, asserts that every government plan was being rationed. This meant the programs were not accessible to everybody. For instance, if free college is available, low admission rates will be recorded.

The AEI report also suggests that whenever tuition fees are not a blockage to students’ college access, governments or institutions can maintain enrollment by introducing selective admittance or enrollment caps.

Nevertheless, these approaches hinder the realization of free college in the United States, especially for the underprivileged groups.

Proposed free college requirements

Delisle claims that ‘fine-print rationing’ may be introduced in free college education offered by state-public institutions. This may entail necessitating students be fresh high school graduates or be full-time.

His sentiments are based on the AEI report stating that whenever education is hugely subsidized by governments, the attainment intensities are lower compared to nations where they are not provided.

Free college has become a hot issue for presidential contenders from the Democratic Party. Many of them are driving for its implementation.

For instance, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been proposing for colleges that are tuition-free.

Various universities in the United States are offering the free college idea.

For instance, the University of Texas has stipulated that students whose families recorded annual earnings below sixty-five thousand dollars ($65,000) could be enrolled for undergraduate programs for free.