The Instigator
foxtrot101
Pro (for)
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)

Tertiary Education Should Be Free

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/30/2016 Category: Education
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 501 times Debate No: 93242
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

foxtrot101

Pro

Every person has the right to basic education which includes elementary and middle school, however, the cost of room and board, transportation, accommodation, books and equipment is more than students and their parents can handle. By making tertiary education free, students would be able to further their knowledge, we would have more scientists and doctors thereby bettering our economy in the future by making an investment in the people of the future.
Danielle

Con

For those who don't know, tertiary education essentially refers to college [1].

Pro begins by saying that everyone has the right to basic education which is presumptuous. This is a bare assertion; indeed it is not an agreed upon fact that people have the "right" to an education. While people do have the right to pursue an education, either alone or through teachers and schooling, one does not have the right to be taught by others. One only has the right to ask to be taught.

We cannot force another person to teach us against our will, and we should not be allowed to force others to fund our education. Nonetheless, our western society has made it a legal right to provide basic (first and second level) education to students "free" of charge.

Yet schooling is not actually free. Schools require funding to maintain their buildings, pay employees, buy books and supplies, support programs, etc. Public schools are funded through tax dollars. Post-secondary education, i.e. tertiary education, provides schooling that goes beyond the basics and allows for additional specialization in a particular subject.

There is no way to make this schooling free; there will always be an associated cost unless the institution is run entirely by volunteers and charity. Therefore the resolution is already negated -- tertiary education should not be free, because teachers require a salary and funding is necessary for research, tools and more.

Pro suggests that by making this level of education "free," we would have more scientists and doctors. However despite the increased amount of students going to college, we do not see a dramatic increase in scientists and doctors. In fact students are choosing the sciences less and less [2, 3].

Now there are several reasons college should not be "free." First off, the American public (and probably whichever country Pro is from) cannot afford this. Taxes are already an unbearably high burden, and our governments are in a massive amount of debt.

Second, flooding the college system devalues your degree. If everyone has a college degree, it does not make your level of education stand out against your competitors. This means you will need even more education to be impressive. Eventually the value of a college degree will be obsolete the more people have one.

Third, "there is no such thing as a free lunch." There is always going to be a price you have to pay for anything you receive, including education. Higher education is not even a strong necessity for life-or-death like medical care. You shouldn't taxpayers to pay for your education, when they don't even know who you are.

Fourth - if people don't pay for their education, they have no inventive to finish on time or take the smartest and most fiscally responsible course of action. There is no incentive for fiscal responsibility when you have carte blanche with other people's money.

Fifth, according to a live ticker created by MarketWatch, student loan debt is increasing at a rate of $3,055 every second. The report"s findings show that of all three programs the Federal Direct Subsidized Loans generated a 65 cent-on-the-dollar increase on college tuition, while Pell Grants generated a 50 cent-on-the-dollar increase on college tuition [4]. In other words, the more money the government allocates toward paying for higher-education, the more college institutions will charge because they know students (consumers) don't care about the cost, since the government is footing the bill.

Increased tuition subsidies increase the price of tuition [5]. This would provide a significant burden on the tax payers, instead of letting supply and demand dictate market equilibrium. People used to be able to pay for college on their own. The more "help" we give through government funds, the higher the cost of education, thereby making it impossible to pay one's own way.

Also consider the fact that many careers don't require college, therefore we shouldn't advocate everyone go to college. People can learn on their own for free. Thanks to the internet, we have access to more information than ever before in the history of the world. You can take online courses from some of the best universities in the country online for free, along with a plethora of other free online courses [6].

Thus you can still learn and receive an education without going to college. People should be looking more for jobs that don't require college that are very in demand, such as in the trade and technical industries [7]. Experience is the best teacher; working your way up or taking internships is also a great way to advance in your career without prioritizing college [8].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.cnn.com...
[3] http://www.outsidethebeltway.com...
[4] http://college.usatoday.com...
[5] http://www.forbes.com...
[6] http://oedb.org...
[7] http://www.forbes.com...
[8] http://www.forbes.com...
Debate Round No. 1
foxtrot101

Pro

Although it might not be agreed upon that basic education should be free, according to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Article 13, everyone does have the right to free education. [1,2]
No teacher would pursue a career in teaching if they were forced to do it in the first place. It is a choice to become a teacher.

People who pay tax don't get a say in where their money goes. In saying that, by proper planning from the Federal Reserve, money can be put towards the maintenance and salaries instead of millions of dollars being spent of unnecessary expenses. [3]

If students save thousands of dollars on tuition, that same money can go towards books and supplies and their living costs thereby making college more affordable. [4]

The top most popular careers require an extensive knowledge of the work they are doing. Experience does play an important role in getting a job however, between choosing someone with a degree and experience and someone with only experience, most companies would go for the former because having extensive theoretical knowledge of the work you are doing puts you at a distinctive advantage. [5,6] No company would choose someone in any Financial, IT, Medical or Engineering field if they only have work experience.

By eradicating the concept of "loan" students will feel they can focus more on their studies than on their debt. There are many European countries that have extremely low student debt, more college attendance and a higher graduation rate. [4] [7]
But to back myself up, the government increases the price of tuition because they profit from student loans thereby increasing student debt. [8]

Con stated that you don't have to go to a college to receive an education thanks to the internet, no job will employ a person on the basis of a Google education. Online courses however, are available but at a cost. Although cheaper, you need to look at the availability and affordability of unlimited internet access and the cost of equipment such as computers, webcams etc as well as application fees. Traditional education however, provides more career options, environments that allow for experimentation, interaction and practical work. [9,10]

[1] http://www.ohchr.org...
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.forbes.com...
[4] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[5] http://www.alec.co.uk...
[6] http://www.investopedia.com...
[7] http://www.topuniversities.com...
[8] https://berniesanders.com...
[9] http://learn.org...
[10] https://www.reference.com...
Danielle

Con

Pro begins by affirming that everyone has the right to "free" education, noting that teachers wouldn't pursue a teaching career if it were forced. My point was that claiming a "right" exists means that one is inherently entitled to something. Yet if someone was not willing to teach you, an entitlement to education means they should be forced to teach you. That's why a right to education doesn't exist. A right is something that one has pertinent to their own self -- that which does not require others to provide something to or for them.

Like I said, everyone has the right to pursue an education. But they do not have the right for it to be provided.

Nonetheless, appealing to the authority of the agencies saying this right exists is irrelevant. For this debate is about the right to post-secondary education (college) to be provided "free" of charge, which is not mentioned in the sources that pro cited. And by the way, you'll notice that Pro hasn't contested my point that college is not really free. There are unavoidable expenses.

My opponent claims that since people don't get to choose where their tax dollars go, it's perfectly fine to put people's taxes toward "free" college. Yet that is immoral and unjust. It would be preferable to 1) refund the money people would have spent on this endeavor and allow them to keep it, or 2) put this tax money toward other/better endeavors in society, rather than something like this which is unnecessary and/or counterproductive.

Pro notes that by saving money on tuition, students could put that money toward other things. This is false. First, practically NO college student pays for their own college. Either their parents pay, the government pays, or they take out loans. Thus even without the burden of tuition, this would only give parents more money to spend. However, these parents would also be paying more money in taxes -- so this is not really a net benefit.

Consider presidential candidate Bernie Sanders who wanted to provide "free" healthcare and college. By his own admission, taxes would go up for nearly everyone in order to pay for this [1]. He compared this to European models where they have "free" college, yet to pay for this, they have significantly higher tax margins [2]. Germany recently decided to provide "free" college, and now has the second highest income tax burden of all OECD’s 34 countries.

Pro writes, "No company would choose someone in any Financial, IT, Medical or Engineering field if they only have work experience." This is an unsupported claim. The history of banking and finance goes back to the early stage of the human civilization [3]. Likewise, the history of medicine goes back to the very first human civilizations when colleges didn't even exist [4]. While my opponent is correct that modern society does mandate higher-education in many of these fields today, that is not the case for most (outside of law and medicine) and either way that is irrelevant. Just because I don't think college should be free doesn't mean I don't accept it's utility value.

My opponent brings up Europe and mentions that they have higher graduation rates -- even though the sources he uses to back this claim up do not say that. However Europe has graduation problems of its own. Extend my argument from the last round (which Pro dropped) noting that not having students bear the responsibility for tuition increases the likelihood of them slacking off and thus wasting (tax payer) money.

"If everyone decided to take an extra year to graduate, because it was free, the burden of higher education on the public coffers would increase by 33%. Graduation rates are already a problem in Germany, which is known for its 'Dauerstudenten' or 'eternal students.' As The Local reports, German students fail to graduate on time, and the average graduation age (following master’s degree) is around 28 years old" [5].

In the last round, I admitted that many employers will not accept (or be able to distinguish) self-taught people whom learn for free. My point was that a free education was possible. In terms of career preparation, I provided alternatives that my opponent dropped. People should be looking more for jobs that don't require college that are very in demand, such as in the trade and technical industries. There is a "tremendous demand" for jobs that do not require a college degree - many of which pay very well [6, 7].

That said, please note that my opponent has dropped a handful of my proactive contentions from the last round.

I mentioned that America cannot afford the tax burden of "free" college. Consider our massive debt.

I said that flooding the college system devalues one's degree.

I claimed that strangers shouldn't have to pay for other people's education. There is no way to ensure that people will study things that are useful or put their education to good use.

I pointed out that paying your own way provides fiscal responsibility.

I cited claims that government paying for college definitivlely increases the cost of college. This is a huge point in my favor; no wonder Pro dropped it. Indeed, if colleges have carte blanche to raise costs (since students don't care about the cost) they can be frivolous or less efficient with spending. This promotes waste. U.S. colleges and universities are overspending on unnecessary programs and campus perks, along with a tun of needless bureaucracy. The problem stems from schools spending money on unnecessary campus amenities to attract students [8]. This would only become more problematic with "free" college.


[1] http://money.cnn.com...
[2] http://www.businessinsider.com...
[3] http://finance.mapsofworld.com...
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org...
[5] http://www.forbes.com...
[6] http://www.usatoday.com...
[7] http://www.trade-schools.net...
[8] http://www.usnews.com...;
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TheWaywardWriter 10 months ago
TheWaywardWriter
Even if tertiary education was made free, it would not directly mean that scientists and doctors would popup left and right. It takes internal will to be one as well. Plus, even if we wanted to make tertiary education free (that would be a great privilege), that won't be happening soon. Tertiary education is not a need. It's a privilege. Which means you gotta work for it. Therefore, tertiary education should not be free.
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