The Problem of Tuition-Free Education


The issues of education have always been pivotal within the scope of any social and economic policy. Throughout the historical process, scholars and officials have made a plethora of claims and proposals regarding how the population should gain vital knowledge and professional skills. It might be supposed that nowadays, the argument that college education is to be free has become quite popular and has many supporters. Hence, the problem of tuition-free education seems a relevant topic to explore. In this paper, the substantial weaknesses of the mentioned approach will be discussed.


At first approximation, a free college education would result only in positive consequences and a significant impact on society. Universally tuition-free college might be defined as an educational establishment that does not require any payments from the ones enrolled – all the costs would be covered by a government. People would feel sure that they are able to get higher education for free and that this fact would contribute to the development of their country. They would perceive such an opportunity as an undoubtful key to a successful future for everyone. However, three con-points that refute the latter statements were identified: financial burden, negative social effects, and devaluation of a college degree.

1st Con-Point

Universally tuition-free college for each individual of suitable age in a country would negatively influence the economic situation around institutions and government as the financial burden would occur. According to Murphy, Scott-Clayton, and Wyness (2019), a plan like the one proposed by Senator Sunders – which costs at least $75 per year – would lead to an inevitable and negative impact on the stability of the economy.

Indeed, such amounts of financial support seem to hinder the educational budget of England. Then, it does not matter if an influx of students takes place suddenly – government funding would not cover free enrollment that would also decrease institutional resources (Bucarey, 2018). Thus, tuition-free colleges would result in the notable strain under which the national education would be put.

2nd Con-Point

Furthermore, the described situation would make a number of negative social factors. High-income families would get more benefits as the flow of students to elite colleges would force out the low-income ones who rely on financial aid quotes (Harris et al., 2018). Such an assumption means that the argument that the poor would noticeably benefit from tuition-free programs is insufficient. It should be noticed that so far, none of such programs has contributed to the improvement of performance measures or attendance, as well as guarantees for equality to access (Murphy et al., 2019; Bucarey, 2018). It might be supposed that society would get many hardships with tuition-free colleges.

3rd Con-Point

Finally, education would suffer from the devaluation of a college degree. Bucarey (2018) states that history shows that universally free higher education results in a decreased quality of education. Per-student funding is a strict measure of institutional quality, as well as student satisfaction, and is more upper with paid tuition and drops notably with universally free college (Bucarey, 2018). Here, it seems reasonable to emphasize that plenty of countries offer free education, but they adhere to strict rules and principles in this regard. Harris et al. (2018) claim that such countries have rigorous tracking methods for students’ performance and quotas. The devaluation threatens the presence of the understanding among a society that higher education is a necessity that serves as a foundation for an excellent career.


It seems reasonable to conclude that the tuition-free educational system has some essential disadvantages. First, it puts a harsh financial burden on government and institutions. Second, negative social effects take place, such as the fact that high-income families are in better conditions with tuition-free colleges than the low-income ones. Third, in a common vision, a college degree would have no sense and be devalued. It might be assumed that the discussed topic requires attention and in-depth research.


Bucarey, A. (2018). Who pays for free college? Crowding out on campus. Web.

Harris, D. N., Farmer-Hinton, R., Kim, D., Diamond, J., … Carl, B. (2018). The promise of free college (and its potential pitfalls). Web.

Murphy, R., Scott-Clayton, J., & Wyness, G. (2019). The end of free college in England: Implications for enrolments, equity, and quality. Economics of Education Review, 71, 7-22. Web.

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ChalkyPapers. 2022. "The Problem of Tuition-Free Education." February 1, 2022.

1. ChalkyPapers. "The Problem of Tuition-Free Education." February 1, 2022.


ChalkyPapers. "The Problem of Tuition-Free Education." February 1, 2022.