Essay Sample: Higher Education Should Be Free for Students

Published: 2022-04-26
Essay Sample: Higher Education Should Be Free for Students
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Education
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 991 words
9 min read

Education is perhaps the most important thing a human being can acquire. It unlocks doors and creates opportunities. Without it, our future as a nation is bleak, and the American dream will undoubtedly turn into a nightmare. Despite the fact that higher education holds the key to our future achievements, it comes at a great cost (Jackson & Reynolds,2013). One of the timeliest questions being asked in today's world is: Should higher education be free for students? In the American society today, one of the top concerns of every homestead is college affordability. In the US, the cost of higher education has increased in margins of over 400% since the early 1980's (Akers & Chingos,2014). The rate at which the cost of higher education has escalated has even surpassed that of the health sector. There are many reasons why our higher education should be free.

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The cost higher education system in the US is entirely unsustainable. Students have been forced to accumulate hundreds of thousands of loans debts after graduation. More discouraging is the fact that our education system does not guarantee employment even after several years of graduation. The American education system is failed business model that should be phased out entirely. According to a 2013 report, conservative estimates put the amount of student loan debts to be about 1.2 trillion US dollars (Denhart,2013). This figure represented a 39% escalation as compared to that of 2011.Statistics also indicate that student loans are the most pronounced type financial aid in the US. The number of students depending on student loans has rapidly been increasing over the past two decades(Collinge,2009). In 2012 for example, about 10 million students applied for the student loans as compared to about a figure of 6 million students who applied for student loans a decade earlier (Denhart,2013). Our education system is creating a vicious cycle of dependence and poverty. Our education system is hurting the dignity of Americans as they use much of the little income they earn to repay student loans. Some of the students struggle to pay the student loans over their entire lifetimes (Austin, 2013).

The high cost of higher education means that fewer and fewer Americans are attending colleges and universities. A lot of students choose not to pursue higher education due to its unaffordability (Jackson & Reynolds,2013). This means that more Americans continue to become less equipped with necessary skills for employment. Some students also do not complete their courses in colleges and universities due to the unaffordability of higher education (Garibaldi et al. 2012). Majority of those who fail to take up higher education due to its high-cost end up doing odd jobs to sustain themselves and some never live the American Dream at all. This growing number of people taking odd jobs means that the economy of the country is at risk. The higher rates of unemployment being experienced at some part of the country today are as a result of a lack of employer desired job credentials. If higher education were made free, more students would certainly enroll for universities, colleges and trade schools. They would end up getting well-paying jobs and would likely to improve the economy of the country.

Higher education should be free to ensure equality and the general well-being of the society. Making higher education free in our country ensures that colleges and universities are not preserved to the privileged in the society but all people. There is a clear link existing between an educated society and better lifestyles and levels of success and satisfaction as compared to a community which is not educated(Archibald & Feldman,2014). Free higher education will go a long way in ensuring the general good of the society.

Some critics argue that making higher education free will be too expensive and is likely to lead to more taxation. This means that our economy would be strained. However, this speculation is not entirely true. Some countries have been providing free higher education for decades now and are doing well economically. Examples of these countries include Denmark, Finland, and Estonia. Other countries in Europe that have successfully experimented on free higher education include Norway, Slovak Republic, and Poland. These countries have some of the owes student debts and improved economies. America could take a leaf from these countries who run sustainable higher education systems which are entirely free.

The American dream is almost entirely hinged on higher education, which unfortunately is unaffordable to most students. Our current higher education system is no longer credible and sustainable. Despite being unaffordable, it does not guarantee instant employments as graduates spend several years looking for jobs. The fact that the number of Americans taking up higher education as reduced can be attributed to the high cost of college and university education. These students end up failing to acquire necessary skills needed to secure decent jobs. They, therefore, end up living under economic challenges. Free education will ensure equality since all the people can attend college and university without having to accumulate debts. The US government should implement a free higher education system as this can transform thousands of lives in America today.


Collinge, A. (2009). The student loan scam: the most oppressive debt in US history, and how we can fight back. Beacon Press.

Austin, D. A. (2013). The Indentured Generation: Bankruptcy and Student Loan Debt. Santa Clara L. Rev., 53, 329.

Jackson, B. A., & Reynolds, J. R. (2013). The price of opportunity: Race, student loan debt, and college achievement. Sociological Inquiry, 83(3), 335-368.

Akers, B., & Chingos, M. M. (2014). Is a student loan crisis on the horizon. Brown Center on Education Policy, Brookings Institution.

Denhart, C. (2013). How the $1.2 trillion college debt crisis is crippling students, parents and the economy. Forbes Magazine.

Archibald, R. B., & Feldman, D. H. (2014). Why does college cost so much? Oxford University Press.

Garibaldi, P., Giavazzi, F., Ichino, A., & Rettore, E. (2012). College cost and time to complete a degree: Evidence from tuition discontinuities. Review of Economics and Statistics, 94(3), 699-711.

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