The Pros and Cons of Having Free College Education for All

Whether college should be free or not has been a common question for quite some time. It’s a controversial topic as it raises many benefits and drawbacks. There are some countries around the world that do offer free, or nearly free, education. In general, the “pros” of free are: having better access to education, the elimination of student debt, increased graduation rates, and an opportunity to explore your passions/interests. The “cons” include: overcrowding, wasted opportunities, and money.

Better access to education:
College is expensive with or without financial aid. Many people can’t afford to go to college as badly as they want. The cost of college can also cause students to drop out of college. So, if college was free, it would give everyone an equal opportunity for education. If this were the case, I feel more people would take advantage of higher education and pursue a degree. Further, if everyone had a degree, this could help people achieve their dream careers.

Eliminated student debt:
Roughly 43 million Americans are in student debt, causing them to be held back from pursuing other activities in their lifetime. Going to college for free would encourage more people to enroll in college or university because they would leave debt-free, and in turn, stress-free. It also increases focus because you won’t have to worry about things such as loans, financial aid, scholarships, or other financial issues.
Increased graduation rates:

If college was free for all, I believe more students would take colleges up on the offer of a free education. I feel that the offer will be greatly valued because with a degree, you are able to get a higher income job and open a pathway to new and more career opportunities.

Explore your interests:
I personally can’t relate to this one because I chose my major based on my passion, but I know people who have chosen a specific major for financial reasons. For example, some jobs require more years of schooling than others. Free college would encourage people to pursue their passion and interests.

The lure of a free education may cause more people to want to attend college, but there is a drawback to this: there’s only a limited number of people that can attend said college or university. Having an overcrowded school can result in limited space, which could have a negative impact on meal plans, on-campus housing, and class sizes. Also, overcrowding can result in resources being limited as well, such as computers in a library or textbooks required for classes.

Wasted opportunity:
People might feel unmotivated to take their education seriously since their money isn’t on the line. I am motivated to further educate myself but knowing that college costs money is a motivator because I wouldn’t want it to go to waste.

If college is free, then how would colleges stay open? How are professors and other faculties working on campuses getting paid? If I was working on a college campus, I would not want to work for free. It could come from the government but there’s only so much that can be used. Private donors are also an option, but again donations alone would not allow all people to attend the school for free.

In retrospect, free college sounds wonderful, but how would we achieve it?