Should Higher Education be Free?

By Aniket Bose. Edited by Arjun Chandrasekar.


The topic of paying for higher education is very controversial as many believe that the education system that is established in the U.S. is broken. There has been a 400% increase in the cost of higher education since 1980; this has led to a higher cost escalation than any other industry, including healthcare. Numerous parents and analysts believe that there needs to be a new education system put in place by the U.S. government because every year students have to take student loans up to $200,000 and are still not guaranteed a job. There is a belief amongst parents and analysts that a new business model for the educational system will be much more functional and alleviate some of the high education fees that students have to pay.

What is the true worth of Higher Education?

Lazlo Bock, SVP (Senior Vice President) of people operations at Google said, “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that GPAs are worthless as a criterion for hiring, and test scores are worthless — there is no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation.” These comments from Lazlo Bock suggest that intelligent people can perform well on tests and get high GPAs, but the skills and knowledge that are required to survive in the real business world have nothing to do with someone’s test score or GPA. From this, we can infer that nowadays companies don’t value a candidate’s test scores and GPA very strongly, which is another reason that parents can make about lowering the cost of higher education. The reason why they can make this case is that students are borrowing $200,000 in loans, in hopes that they will get a high position in a good company, but if companies aren’t valuing the importance of test scores and GPA’s; then there is no reason for students having to pay large sums of money for higher education when they are not guaranteed to get a job. Georgia Tech has researched that higher education in the future will have no cost, and it will be accessible to people all around the world. However, they believe that degrees may still not be free, but the overall core of higher education will be free. The only necessary items for an individual to indulge in higher education in the future will be a computing device and a stable internet connection. If higher education was free, then the number of people that attend college would exponentially increase as they wouldn’t have to worry about student debts and have the liberty to choose a major that they are truly interested in studying. The biggest disadvantage regarding higher education becoming free is that college may not be as important and held with prestigious value since more and more people will be attending college. This would lead to companies not valuing the degrees that people earn from colleges as much and would consider looking at the other factors of potential candidates. 


The cost of higher education is constantly increasing due to inflation occurring in the economy in the U.S. Thousands of students across the U.S. have to suffer from student loan debts amounting to up to $200,000. If higher education were to become free then it would increase equality amongst students across the U.S., since there are many times where families with less finance are not able to send their children to college because of the high tuition costs, depriving them of the opportunities for obtaining higher education. This would also result in people complaining less about equality in the U.S., which is an ongoing issue. There are already a few countries that offer higher education and are reaping benefits but still suffering in some areas, so it will be interesting to see what the U.S. does about higher education!

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