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Free education vs paid education: Debate

students studying

The debate over whether education should be free or paid is continuous, and it’s hardly possible that it’ll ever end. The supporters of both sides vary, and each position has its pros and cons. This short essay will review them as objectively as possible and try to give you some answers on which argument is the best. 


Benefits of free education: Steps toward equality

Although everyone has opinions on whether free education is good or bad, some facts are quite common.

  • It is affordable to more students. Regardless of whether we speak about college or school, many families support free education because it does not require them to spend so much money on learning. Textbooks, laptops, and clothes aren’t cheap. And if you add the incredible cost for academic services, it becomes even more expensive. Many families can’t afford it. 

  • It allows students to gain knowledge based on their skills, not money. When hiring people for work, companies want to know that their candidate is an expert in their field. So, instead of accepting people who can pay, schools and colleges will invite those who are good writers, mathematicians, or physicians. The acceptance rate is based on input, not family or personal earnings. 

  • It is much more inclusive. Most free schools or colleges can accept students with learning difficulties or those who need additional assistance. For people supporting this position, education is about personal development, not a purchase of a diploma, and can express their original thinking and unique skills. 

  • Better work-study balance. Students don’t have to spend the time necessary for studying on working to afford the next semester. They can improve their grades and have some rest between the classes, not work extra hours. 

Weaknesses of free education: Is everything so good?

  • The quality of free education is not always good. Because money for all institutions can be not enough, it can lead to understaffing or a lack of important resources. For opponents of free education, the lack of benefits to students and questionable set of skills are often the main reasons not to choose it.

  • People still pay for education. Although some charitable organizations can sponsor universities, countries with free education usually include taxes that cover these expenses. So despite the governmental help, parents and students still have to give money, and on a regular basis. 

  • Not all good professions are covered by higher education. Many vocational courses that help millions of people to find jobs are not in college or university. If you want to be a professional technician, plumber, or electrician, you don’t need a college education, and it can save you money and time and make you ready for the market much sooner. And for many such jobs, the future pay is better than for beginning college graduates. 

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Benefits of paid education: Pay to be better?

There are many supporters of paid education, usually focusing on college and university learning. So what are the main reasons attracting them? 

  • Better quality of education. This idea is probably the most common. From this perspective, it means that the student can buy the service of a good university, have an attractive campus, learn from experienced professors, and have access to numerous resources. Many colleges in the UK and USA  use this system of education.

  • Higher employment chances. Each company has its own preferences for hiring, but many employers still consider it vital to hire individuals with diplomas from top universities. Although it can be unfair, it is essential for you to consider it if your dream job is like that. 

  • Personalized approach. Because such universities often have fewer students, you will likely get more attention and a much higher level of satisfaction from collaborating with your educators. Proponents of paid education claim that they want to receive the individual attitude. 

Negative sides of paid education: Money or skills?

Despite the claims above, there are some really valid criticisms of paid education. Here’s the small list.

  • A student becomes a customer, not a learner. Although this situation is relatively rare, some people believe that paid education just allows one to buy learning, while it should be a personal process of improvement and growth. In the ideal concept of free education, a student receives a place in a college by writing a specific assignment, sending persuasive application essays, or having good grades. For some, paid education does not allow them to be competitive. 

  • It creates barriers for talented people. Because individuals with a certain level of income usually receive a prestigious paid education, they are also the ones who can become hired regardless of their skills. Although such situations are not common, many English-speaking companies that are more traditional can trust such stereotypes. 

  • It is becoming outdated and ineffective. Millennials and all next generations are growing more aware that a diploma is just a paper, and not everyone needs it. Paying a significant amount of money or struggling with debt may not be worth it. 

So how do you choose?

We don’t want to give a “one fit only” suggestion because it depends on many factors, so here, we’ll write some criteria for students to think about. 

  • What is your dream job? Don’t be scared to think about it seriously. Maybe you have a written list somewhere or perhaps you know that you’re a good journalist. Or, alternatively, you love driving and learning theory is not your forte. 

  • Do you need a specific education for it? In other words, do you have to learn at a particular place in order to get what you want? Or do your community college or online courses have great opportunities for your career? 

  • What resources do you have? It’s one of the most important facts because you have to know if you need and can pay for your higher education. Do you plan to work while getting a degree? 

These steps can help you get the most out of your planning. Research these factors and you’re sure to know what’s best for you. Remember that there isn’t a universal answer, only you know what is right.