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Should Government Provide Free Education For Those Who Cannot Afford Their Tuition ?

Prompt :

Governments should offer a free university education to any student who has been admitted to a university but who cannot afford the tuition.

Write a response in which you discuss your views on the policy and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider the possible consequences of implementing the policy and explain how these consequences shape your position.

My response :

Universities are places where students learn formal knowledge that would benefit their professional life, and surely government should make sure every student has the chance to get into a college. However, to state that government has to under no condition give free education to students who cannot afford their tuition is to present an over-simplistic view. Such a view does not consider government’s affordability for education and economic condition of the society, nor does it refer to the detrimental effect this policy may have on student communities.

First and foremost, while government makes annual subsidization to higher education, the implementation of this policy may exceed the government’s budget and cause financial deficit. This might not be true for nations like Swizerland where government earns enough revenue to cover students’ tuition. However, for most countries in the world, even United States, their governments have a limited financial power to pay the education. These governments can offer free education to students with great academic performance and talents, but are not able to consider all the students that cannot afford their education. Implementing this policy could cause great burden to government, especially under the context of nowadays economic crisis; governments around the globe face the challenge of recovering their economy, and thus the subsidization to education can be even abridged. If in this case the stated policy is implemented, government would have more difficulty in recovering the economy, which is detrimental for the nation as a whole.

In addition to the limitation of government affordability, implementation of this policy could probably cause an increase in tax, which will add more financial burden to taxpayers nowadays. It might not be a big issue for citizens having a high income compared to their tax payment, but for the rest low-income classes this policy may eventually exacerbate their economy. For example, in China, the middle-class, which comprises the majority of the Chinese population, are now vehemently complaining the low income compared to high living expenses. If the above policy is implemented in China, most people would be disgruntled with the government. As a result, protests against government authority would likely occur, which may damage the government’s reputation or threaten the social stability.

Finally, students, who seem to be benefitted by this policy, can also be harmed by it. A free education for those who cannot afford their tuition means they abjure the responsibility of paying their tuition back. This would cause laziness among students and finally consume up their academic motivation. We have often heard the stories in China that some impoverished students who receive full tuition funding keep skipping class for weeks in order to have more time to travel. Such result proves that sometime government funding in education can be a waste if students do not cherish their hard-won educational opportunity. In contrast, if government pays the tuition conditionally, that is, it offers loans instead of a free education, more students would have the liability of paying it back after graduation. This would urge them to either study hard or find part-time jobs in order to pay off the loans as soon as possible, which can be even more beneficial for students who lack social experiences nowadays. On the other hand, even if the government decides to give free education to those with limited affordability, they should encourage private firms, especially some industry giants, to take on this responsibility. In this way, the government would not have the problem of having inadequate money to subsidize other sectors of the society, such as medicals and technology.

In conclusion, it is unwise for government to give free education to those who cannot afford their tuition, since this policy would cosset students and make them irresponsible for their future. And since government has to support other aspects of the society, such as industry and military, this policy may severely lower their ability of subsidizing these aspects.

Submitted by: calvinhmw

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