Education is the most fundamental and sacrosanct of all rights necessary for the progress of humanity. It is one of the most valuable tools of social change with the potential to furnish a better economy and create a more aware and prosperous society where people can create opportunities, overcome poverty, eradicate social evils, empower the youth, and above all create a better hope for the future. Though aware of all the benefits of education, one significant question which arises is then why does everyone not pursue post-secondary schooling.
The most apparent answer is the inaccessibility of affordable college education which has the potential to make the individual ready to face the real-time challenges of the world. College tuition mostly is very expensive and unaffordable, especially for students who hail from a low socio-economic background and don't have the necessary means to bear the expense of exorbitant fees of many esteemed colleges like ivy league schools. This essay will argue in favor of making college education free for all students, and discuss its benefits and positive impact on society
One of the principal challenges to attending college is the skyrocketing student loan debt attached to it. The debt crisis is the most significant problem faced by students who don't have the necessary funds to afford college and opt for the option of attending school via student loans.
Unemployment, economic crisis, lack of opportunities even after completion of post-secondary education, and increasing competition leads to unavailability of job opportunities for the youth making them unable to pay back their loans and trapping them in the vicious cycle of financial and career instability making them incapable to afford necessities such as decent housing, healthcare etc.
The high cost of attendance forces many students to drop out of college even before graduating, often many students delay their educational journeys so that they can afford the expensive tuition of reputed educational institutions. This leads to many hardworking and talented individuals being denied their ability to realize their potential, creating a more unequal and unjust society, with the unavailability of free and fair opportunities for growth.
The provision of free college education is the best possible solution to all such critical issues. Free post-secondary schooling will enable many individuals who were otherwise unable to attend college due to its huge price tag to now have the freedom to quit worrying about the debt crisis and repayment of student loans and have access to free and quality education.
Eliminating the debt burden through free college would encourage students to pursue post-secondary education, allowing students to opt for higher studies and would eventually boost the economic growth of the country. Free education would allow a stronger, more efficient, and empowered workforce with high-performance standards, better skill sets, deeper knowledge, and the ability to create an impact in society and college is the perfect training ground for all these skills to become embedded in the individual.
Good quality and easily accessible education would play a vital role in bringing positive change in the community, decreasing crime, and increasing civic participation and productivity among people. As the economic growth of a society is directly correlated with the level of education in the country, an economic college education is an urgent need and the key driving force behind advances in technology and increased productivity, and the demand for educated workers.
Many countries such as Canada (until grade 12th) and India (until age 14 under RTE) provide universal free elementary and secondary education, but the need of the hour is to introduce measures to provide free education beyond high school, as secondary education is most often not enough for preparing individuals for the market-oriented jobs.
Better accessibility to educational opportunities would proportionally lead to a more educated society with the ability to progress and develop at a faster rate, this contributes to an increased value of human capital and can potentially decrease the rich-poor divide. Post-secondary educational institutions contribute to the development of better analytical, problem solving and creative thinking skills and abilities. Today as many jobs are getting automated, these irreplaceable skills increase the employability and requirement of such trained professionals.
Equality of opportunity is one of the main assets of free college education. In the absence of barriers such as high tuition fees and unaffordable loans, individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds will have a fair and equal chance at getting the best possible education.
As free education could potentially lead to the state paying for the educational expenses of its citizens, this would also reinforce the confidence and belief of the youth in the idea of democracy and fair politics and strengthen the concept of a welfare state concerned about the needs and wants of its people. Free college education would also function as a mechanism to uplift people from low socioeconomic environments, and people incapable of affording the fees of extortionate top educational institutes to attend these premier schools.
Thus free post-secondary is of paramount importance and its immediate implementation is imperative.
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