In my argumentative essay, I discuss the ethical side of having a free education system. I discuss the positive sides and the negative sides of free education, and I focus mostly on having free higher education since we already have free education up to High School graduation levels. I conclude with a discussion about the actions of colleges and Universities and how they would inevitably make the ethical discussion mute from a student’s perceptive since the burden of ethics would fall upon higher education institutions in a world where they are given plenty of incentive to act immorally.
From an ethical perspective, it seems unfair that people who have less money are going to miss more opportunities. Ethically, opportunities should be open for all people. Though it may be true that the availability of an opportunity shouldn’t guarantee that a person receives that opportunity, the opportunity shouldn’t be ruled out. For example, all people should be able to become qualified to work in air traffic control, and even though a blind person is hardly guaranteed such a job position, the opportunity shouldn’t be ruled out as a default. Free education, especially free higher education, may open up a series of opportunities that some people would otherwise be unable to enjoy, and even if those opportunities are not guaranteed, they shouldn’t be ruled out by default, which is what happens when some people cannot use higher education for financial reasons. (Flood, 2014)
Some people are going to use free education as a way of getting out of work and as a way of doing nothing with their lives. Students up to the final year in High School are unable to get full-time jobs and live independently on their wages, which is why their education should be free. However, when a person is able to get a full-time job and live independently, he or she may get out of working by living on the education system. Even if the qualifications are free and not the living expenses, a person may still claim a slew of benefits and receive no incentive to ever get a job because he or she remains in the education system for years and years. (Gritz, 2010)
If all forms of education are free for students, then it becomes very easy for a person to waste his or her life on meaningless education. The decision to get into thousands upon thousands of dollars of debt in order to pursue a career should be agonizing and very difficult so as to make the student think long and hard about the decision. If all education is free, then less thought is required, and students may waste years of their life studying for qualifications that they do not need or even want. (Kamenetz, 2016)
If a student is genuinely looking for higher education and is not looking for a reason to do nothing and mess around for years by exploiting other people’s tax money through free education, then such a person may enjoy a longer education process. For example, a student taking a series of law qualifications is going to need five to seven years of education, which is also very expensive. If the cost of the qualification were removed, such a person may be able to take up jobs on an intermittent basis, stretch out his or her qualification duration, and take longer to gain said qualifications in a more comfortable manner. Instead of having to spend years as a low-income student while building debt, such a student may spend longer on a qualification and work while studying so that he or she may enjoy a more comfortable education experience. Plus, all of this would occur who the pressure of accumulating student debt. (The Leadership Institute, 2018)
Despite the ethical upsides and downsides that come with free education for students, it is sadly the Universities and colleges that will spoil it. These days, student loans are very easy to get, and this has resulted in colleges and Universities putting their prices up to almost scandalous levels, and it has resulted in colleges and Universities creating courses that add no real value for people wishing to join the workforce. If colleges and Universities were being fully funded by tax dollars, they would encourage students to join with a whole host of silly and frivolous programs because the quality of education would no longer matter or apply. (Fox, 2006).
Flood, Alison. “US students request ‘trigger warnings’ on literature.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 19 May 2014, www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/19/us-students-request-trigger-warnings-in-literature.
Fox News, http://www.foxnews.com/story/2006/09/01/why-does-college-cost-so-much-and-is-it-worth-it.html 2006
Gritz, Jennie Rothenberg. “What’s Wrong with the American University System.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 28 July 2010, www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2010/07/whats-wrong-with-the-american-university-system/60458/.
Kamenetz, Anya. “How College Aid Is Like A Bad Coupon.” NPR, NPR, 17 Sept. 2016, www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/09/17/492973995/how-college-aid-is-like-a-bad-coupon.
The Leadership Institute. “Why are colleges so liberal?” Leadership Institute, www.leadershipinstitute.org/crazycolleges/. 2018