“Will making college free improve education?”

— 2017 question.

There has been a lot of political discussion about making college education free for all (or some) Americans. Yet, people disagree as to whether it is a good idea.

True, free education would provide college access to many who can’t afford it, but some claim it would lessen the value of an education and others claim it would hurt students’ motivation.

At the heart of this discussion are great philosophical questions. Some have to do with rights and human nature. For example: Is education a right or a privilege? What motivates people to succeed? Does scarcity make something more valuable? Others have to do with equal opportunity: Is it money or prejudice that prevents people from having access to college? Is college itself a process that weeds people out—is it designed for only certain people and not others? And, then there are questions of economic justice: if college is free, will it help the wealthy as much as the poor? Is this really a program to buy off middle-class voters?

Each winner of the essay contest receives a scholarship, a certificate, and an opportunity to read the winning essay to an interested audience. in 2017, the winner Katey Ramey, was a student in the UND College of Education. The reception and discussion was held in the East Asian Room of the Chester Fritz Library, on March 30, 2017

Read the winning essay. Use the scroll bar on the right to move through the text:

Click here to return to the Eliot Glassheim Essay Contest information page.

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