The issue of college tuition has been one of the foundational concerns in the American education system for a while. Despite the visible efforts to make higher education options available to all citizens, thus reducing the welfare gap in American society, higher education remains practically unattainable for a range of U.S. citizens. The tuition issue, particularly, unsubstantiated high fees, remains one of the major obstacles to the provision of education options. The extraordinarily high tuition fees also imply that the educational opportunities and, therefore, chances for being employed in a high-paid job, with the further prospects for professional development, are unavailable to a range of vulnerable groups within the U.S. population (Molina and Rivadeneyra). Specifically, people from underprivileged areas, as well as a range of ethical and racial minorities, will have extraordinarily slim chances at getting the education that they need in order to advance in American society.
Positions and Debaters
Both positions concerning the tuition fees in American colleges are understandable and quite legitimate, which makes the task of problem-solving for the specified concern particularly challenging. Namely, the proponents of abolishing tuition fees emphasize the necessity to provide all American citizens equal opportunities. Indeed, with tuition fees set at a very high level, multiple vulnerable groups, including ethnic and racial minorities, as well as people from underserviced communities, will have no access to higher education (Molina and Rivadeneyra). Based on the current justice system premises, particularly, the 14th Amendment, the observed situation could qualify as discrimination against the rights of American citizens to receive the required education and employment opportunities (Burgess and Moores). Therefore, the idea of abolishing tuition feels aligns with the current perspective on equality.
However, the opponents of the specified change argue that the removal of fees will imply lower funding and, therefore, fewer resources for supporting higher education. As a result, the quality of the learning process, the overall teaching, and the resources offered to students will be minimized (mason 471). Thus, by abolishing tuition fees, one may jeopardize the entire system of higher education (Stoyanova and Goranova 2). Granted that locating private investment options remains possible, the specified resource appears to be quite unreliable since it suggests that the entire higher education system becomes dependent on the support of private entities that may choose to cease their support at any moment (Mason 472). Therefore, the dilemma regarding the abolition of tuition feels remains a contentious issue.
The Opposing Positions
As emphasized above, the arguments against the abolition of tuition fees are quite strong and reasonable. First and most obvious, the lack of alternative funding opportunities remains a problem. Even if a college locates an appropriate private funding source, being dependent on the specified source is unlikely to offer a significant degree of freedom in decision-making. Moreover, there will always be the threat of the funding source ceasing to exist, or the entity providing the money deciding to withdraw its financial support for the school. Consequently, even though the current framework of tuition fees as the means of sustaining the college does not appear to provide equal opportunities to all citizens, it remains the only way for colleges to exist and for the higher education system to deliver consistently good services.
Developing a solution for the issue at hand is a challenging and demanding task since it implies balancing the material need of higher education institutions to survive in the highly competitive academic field, and the need to recognize the dignity and basic human rights of students from underprivileged backgrounds and underserviced areas. Furthermore, research indicates that the abolition of fees will encourage students to devalue the significance of higher education, defaulting on their studies and taking the learning process without due seriousness (Molina and Rivadeneyra). Therefore, the development of a coherent solution will require a compromise. Specifically, locating alternative funding sources must be coupled with the development of more rigid standards and requirements for learners. Namely, the criteria for successful accomplishment of learning objectives, as well as the quality of student performance, will have to be increased so that students could be motivated to continue studying. Additionally, options for knowledge and experience sharing on a global level, namely, by communicating and collaborating with academic institutions overseas, must be seen as a way of approaching the issue. Thus, students will continue to view higher education as an essential investment in their professional progress.
The ethic of the proposed solution is also to be taken into consideration. Specifically, the needs of key stakeholders must be taken into account when determining whether college fees must be abolished. Although the current payment system approach is far too demanding for a range of learners from underprivileged backgrounds, it also allows the quality of education and research to strive (Bahrs and Siedler 134). Therefore, the abolishment of fees for tuition may imply ethical repercussions of teachers being underpaid and, thus, unwilling to provide the education of the required level and quality. For this reason, considering the search for private investors and the identification of additional funding opportunities must be considered a necessity in order to move away from the current tuition fee system.
H. Public Good
The abolition of tuition fees is likely to produce a tremendous change within the higher education system not only due to the loss in the range of financial opportunities for institutions but also as a result of changes in the perspectives on higher education. Arguably, the observed change has already been taking place owing to the effects that online knowledge sharing has produced (Bahrs and Siedler 121). Therefore, colleges and universities need to compete with the online services and courses that have a tremendous advantage in terms of relatively small costs. Consequently, abolishing tuition fees will lead to making higher education readily available to every citizen, including underprivileged and underserviced communities. The specified alteration in the academic setting will lead to lower discrimination rates observed in the employment sphere for the described vulnerable groups (Burgess et al.). Therefore, abolishing tuition fees will contribute significantly to the changes in the social justice system. Nevertheless, certain losses, such as the drop in the quality of education services and academic research, are expected to occur because of the identified change.
The current tuition system within higher education has proven to be quite flawed, mostly due to the lack of opportunities for students from underprivileged backgrounds to gain access to higher education, which can be considered a form of discrimination under the 14th Amendment. Therefore, a shift to the use of private funding sources and the introduction of opportunities for students from underserviced areas will have to be viewed as an indispensable change. Given the rise in the popularity of online courses and education opportunities, as well as the need to offer equal treatment to all learners, higher academic institutions must compromise and introduce additional options for every applicant.
Bahrs, Michael, and Thomas Siedler. “University Tuition Fees and High School Students’ Educational Intentions.” Fiscal Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, 2019, pp. 117-147.
Burgess, Adrian, Carl Senior, and Elisabeth Moores. “A 10-Year Case Study on the Changing Determinants of University Student Satisfaction in the UK.” PloS One, vol. 13, no. 2, 2018.
Mason, Geoff. “Higher Education, Initial Vocational Education and Training and Continuing Education and Training: Where Should the Balance Lie?” Journal of Education and Work, vol. 33, no. 7-8, 2020, pp. 468-490.
Molina, Teresa, and Ivan Rivadeneyra. “The Schooling and Labor Market Effects of Eliminating University Tuition in Ecuador.” Journal of Public Economics, vol. 196, 2021.
Stoyanova, Rumyana, and Slaveyah Goranova. “The Influence of a Tuition Fee Increase on the Drop-out Rate of the Nursing Program.” Journal of Economy Culture and Society, 2021, pp. 1-8.