Think about the high tuitions everyone pays for their higher education. Does a degree with so much money can offer them a high scale job? According to U.S. News and& World Report (2015), Barack Obama the former U.S. President paid his student loan for higher education when he was in his 40s. In the past, higher education was free as it was considered as a public good, even 30 years ago tuitions were also affordable by students without getting into debt by working part time ( Samuel, 2016). But with high raise of tutions, students are graduating with whooping debt.
Although free higher education can raise a debate on the degradation of the quality of education but it is necessary to create a scope for everyone to attain a higher education and students completing graduation won’t be under debt .
Higher education should be free so that everyone can complete their graduation irrespective of their financial condition. It is noted in The Prince of Inequality by Joseph Stiglitz that higher education for the students from poor background cannot assure social success. Between 2000 and 2010, the average household income of American men with bachelor’s degrees fell by 1 percent, but the average income of those with a high school diploma fell by more than a quarter.‘Among those with a college degree unemployment is 4.2 percent, among those with less than a high school diploma it is 12.9 percent.’ Higher education provides better odds of social protection, as Martin Trow stated, even when it cannot always provide the leap upwards in society. However, whether it provides protection or advance, its benefits are largely confined to the richer half of the United States’ population (Marginson, 2016).
In 2013, a near-universal 77 percent of persons in the top family income quartile in the United States had completed a bachelor’s degree by age 24 years. In this quartile, the graduation rate had almost doubled since 1970, increasing from 40 percent to 77 percent in 1970. In the bottom family income quartile, the graduation rate had again risen, but from 6 percent in 1970 to only 9 percent in 2013. In the second bottom quartile, the graduation rate was 17 percent in 2013.3 The overwhelming majority of the bottom half of the population in income terms had not achieved graduation by age 24 years, but most top quartile people had done so. The 1960s dream is over.
Higher education continues to make an important dif- ference to some individual graduates, and this matters. At the same time there are other graduates whom higher education does not help, and some of them do worse than their parents. At the level of overall social aggregates and averages, not only does higher education fail to compensate for prior social inequalities, it helps to confirm, legitimate, and reproduce those inequalities into the next generation. In Degrees of Inequality, Suzanne Mettler states: “Over the past thirty years . . . our sys- tem of higher education has gone from facilitating upward mobility to exacerbating social inequality.” Higher education fosters a society that “increasingly resembles a caste system: it takes Americans who grew up in different social strata and it widens the divisions between them and makes them more rigid.”
It “stratifies Americans by income group rather than providing them with ladders of opportunity.’ The issue is not just access but completion, which is increasingly affected by the rising costs of both public and private higher education. Stiglitz also notes that “poor kids who succeed academically are less likely to graduate from college than richer kids who do worse in school.However, for most of the lower 50 percent families, selective colleges are not on the radar. In the future, as social inequality grows further, their educational aspira- tions will decline. Structural inequality of this magnitude, combining inequality in society with unequal engagement in higher education, becomes self-reproducing.In its report on inequality in the United States, the OECD argues that when overall economic and social inequality are high, people from low SES backgrounds tend to invest less rather than more in education and skill development. Their aspira- tions are low, supporting resources are low, and even if they graduate, the barriers to success are still formidable. Over time their relative position further deterio- rates.
Free higher education would help students to graduate debt free. Most of the students presently graduating end up with a huge amount of student loan. Secretary King pointed out that many students take out loans and end up in debt without ever getting a degree. One way to encourage students to finish in two or four years is to offer incentives to take 15 or more credits a semester, because taking fewer means they cannot finish in four years, he said, pointing to the University of Hawaii’s successful initiative “15 to Finish.” Also helpful for students will be the reinstatement of summer Pell grants, federal financial aid for low-income students, which President Obama ended four years ago as a way to reduce the federal budget deficit.
Legislation to reinstate those grants, so students can afford to take summer classes, is wending its way through Congress. But Pell grants, which now are a maximum of $5,815 annually, are just too low, said Harold Levy, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which offers scholarships, counseling and support services to outstanding low-income students from eighth grade through graduate school. “We need to double or triple them,” Mr. Levy said. “When they started in 1976, they covered most of tuition. Now they cover barely a third.”
It’s also time to rethink programs that benefit poor students that end in 12th grade, such as free and reduced-price lunches, he said. Few appeared eager to discuss the ideas of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, except to disparage the now-defunct Trump University. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, touched on the competing higher education proposals of Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, saying she believes that the country will end up with a hybrid of Mrs. Clinton’s proposal that students be able to graduate from universities without debt from loans, and Mr. Sanders’s proposal that all public colleges and universities should be tuition-free.“The next president has to be serious about college affordability,” said Joni Finney, director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. She said that too many higher education institutions used their money to offer merit aid rather than needs-based aid and that “the federal government needs to develop a public compact” by stepping in and offering substantial money for such aid, with an expectation that states will match it.
The government offered such matching funds until they were phased out by the Obama administration, but even when the program existed, the amounts offered were so paltry, Professor Finney said that states had no real incentive to match them. A psychological shift as well as a financial shift is needed, Ms. Weingarten said. “We now believe college is as vital as high school,” she said, yet still accept that it is increasingly unaffordable and inaccessible to many Americans. Although these concerns have been whirling around higher education for years, the attention during the presidential campaign to skyrocketing student debt indicates that the public is becoming increasingly aware and concerned about the problem.“I think this is an inflection moment,” Mr. Levy said. So to offer a debt free life to students after graduation free tuition is a must thing.
The economy of a country would increase if every individual educated by higher education. Tertiary education is a human right. Right to Education is not limited to only primary and at best secondary education. Government subsidies to universities will prove to be extremely less costly and the opportunity would help every individual to graduate with less cost . Although the picture is undoubtedly nuanced, virtually everyone believes education to be important for a coun- try’s future. On the basis of this widely shared public conviction, governments feel responsible for primary and secondary education. This will certainly remain the case, although we are seeing increasing privatization even in the primary education sector. There is considerably less agreement on the role of government in higher education, though. Although everyone is convinced of its importance, governments take very different positions in relation to the financing and regulation of this sector, decisions that are naturally important for the future of the system. What the government does, whether it is governing at a distance or monitoring the system closely, is decisive: there is no such thing as a government role that has no consequences.
If we compare the continents, the situation in the US can be seen as an extreme where the government is at a great distance from the sector and privatization has advanced significantly. This is less the case in Canada and England, and the distance between the government and higher education then lessens further as one moves from Northern to Southern Europe. The gap is narrowest in Asia, where the government has a strong influence on the future of the system in relation to both funding and regulation. But virtu- ally everywhere else, the coming decades will be defined by further government withdrawal. This is unavoidable, given the predictions of sluggish economic growth, and especially due to the ever-rising cost of providing public healthcare for ageing populations.
The government will thus have less and less space to invest in higher education. In the US, there is hardly any leeway for a further shift in this direction: it will be a matter of pulling out the stops to prevent quality standards falling in the present system of public universities, and to prevent the further widening of the divide that currently exists in the system. In Asia, different choices are likely to be made for the time being: here, the government will have an interest in continuing to play a major role in steering the course of the universities. In particular, investments that lead directly to innovation, economic returns and profits in healthcare will be stimulated. It is thought that economic growth in Asia will continue to be sufficiently high over the coming 25 years to provide space for considerable investment in education.
This will undoubtedly put the supremacy of the universities in the US, England and continental Europe under pressure: the quality of Asian universities will certainly rise and with this, there will be a reverse in the brain-drain towards Asia, or at the very least, increased competition for talent. Although university administrators are constantly ask- ing the government to intervene less, we should reflect in detail on the consequences of the government taking a back seat. That is because the core tasks of the university are implicitly predicated on the existence of three sources of funding. First of all, the state; second, private and industrial partners that pay for knowledge and new technologies; and third, parties that provide funding in exchange for solutions to major social problems. These three forms of financing can be seen as lying at the vertices of a triangle, between which hybrid forms are possible.
The Asian universities are located mainly on the side of state funding, with the low level of autonomy that often comes with this, because the state enjoys a significant say in exchange for funding. For certainly in less prosperous countries and developing countries, the state will demand an immediate price for funding in the form of output: universities will have to focus on knowledge that pays. Such pressure edges the system rapidly in the direction of economic returns and links with private capital, and as a result of this, Asian universities will soon be the most entrepreneurial in the world. So, to build the economy of a country the access to free education should be placed.
Free higher education may sound amazing but it has consequence too. The quality of education would degrade because of this. This will invariably lead to a phenomenon we call Academic inflation.This basically means that you have more graduates but the same level of jobs, so the qualification required for the job increases. The job that previously required a BA will now require an MA. This basically means corporations get more efficient workers for the same pay in the same position. This harms poorer people the most. Because previously a poor person could get a job with a high school degree. If universities are free and too many people pursue university education, there will be no job for the high school graduate.
Basic Supply and Demand. This means that the poor person would now have to complete 4 more years of education without being financially solvent. That person cannot earn, nor can that person support the family that may be in crucial need for financial support.This policy will entail huge cost for the government. In the US, average tuition for colleges is 23000USD per year. That’s for one person only. For the government to subsidize everyone, this will cost trillions of dollars. Which means taxes will be increased and people will have to pay more for a benefit that accrues to a single segment of society. A lot of people are happy with a high school degree. This policy will coerce them into 4 more years of education because job requirements are likely to get inflated.
Higher education should not be considered as a privilege, as it would effect for the poor students not getting graduated. Rather it should be considered as a right for everyone. Only then free higher education would prevail. In this decade higher education cost much which results most of the students after high school doesn’t graduate. To cope with such phenomenon free higher education has no alternatives. Most of students who takes a risk and graduate ends up with a lot of student debt , which they have to pay for a long long time. The economy of a country having more number of graduates would increase. So, I believe free higher education should prevail so that everyone can graduate themselves, lead a sound life after graduating with debt free and contribute to the economy of a country.