Since 1985, college costs in the United States have increased by nearly 500 percent, and tuition fees are expected to keep climbing. In many other countries they have done quite the opposite. Currently there are several countries that offer free higher education. Germany, one of the first tuition free countries since October 2013 has always boasted low tuition rates. The German government has done away with tuition fees and now fully funds the education of not only its citizens but also of foreigners.
In Denmark, most students graduate without significant debt. Danish citizens do not have to pay tuition fees, in fact they receive about $900 per month from the government. This financial support does not have to be paid back, and the only requirement is that they do not live with their parents. It may seem to most people that these college students may spend this money in bars and clubs. However, most Danish students understand that this money is essential in enabling an excellent education for everyone, regardless of their family’s income.
Sweden and Brazil also offer free education to their citizens. There is no negative correlation between free education and private education systems. As the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Uppsala, Sweden both are prominent in international academic rankings. I feel that there are both positive and negative impacts of free education.
College tuition paid by the government will give students the luxury of receiving a free education. This will allow tuition discouraged young people who do not have a traditional academic family background to take up studying. Also it gives recent college graduates more options and flexibility without the burden of student loans. Currently, 80 percent of college seniors graduate with student loans, the average debt level amongst these students rose to $29,400 in 2012 – a 25% increase from 2008.
A free education system will let high school students know that they have the ability to go to college regardless of their financial situation or academic standing prior to graduation. This will lead to a rise in graduation rates. On the other hand, this could lead to an influx of students entering college without the motivation to excel as their fees are taken care of. In today’s society it is normal for students to take on debt to put themselves through college. In my opinion, this acts as a source motivation for students to perform to the best of their ability throughout their college years.
Using Denmark, Brazil and Germany, countries that have already put a tuition free scheme into place as a model there are effects on its citizens and its country as a whole. In establishing a free education system in the United States, the positive effect would be lowering the student debt level and building a higher graduation rate. But to finance this system there must be an increase in taxes such as Denmark has with one of the highest tax rates in the world. Which is why I feel there must be a medium between the two systems, not having a completely free education system but a drastic reduction in the costs of higher education must occur.