In the Uk, Students Face Increasing Tuition Fees. Discuss the Benefits and Costs to Society of Abolishing All Tuition Fees. Essay

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In the UK, students face increasing tuition fees. Discuss the benefits and costs to society of abolishing all tuition fees. Higher education could be considered to be a merit good. This means that students may underestimate the benefits of getting a degree, preferring to increase their short term income rather than invest in education. Also, it could be argued that higher education has positive externalities for the rest of society. These externalities include the fact a better educated workforce are able to increase overall labour productivity and train other people in society. Therefore, in a free market there may be under consumption of higher education. Therefore, abolishing tuition fees and making university education cheaper would encourage people to study at university and lead to a better educated workforce with benefits for the rest of society. Furthermore, tuition fees increase inequality as it discourages people from poorer backgrounds to attend. However, this is somewhat offset by the fact that tuition fees are often means tested, so people from low income get free education anyway. However, people from middle income families may be reluctant to take on loans to finance higher education. However, there are arguments against abolishing tuition fees. Firstly, the external benefits of higher education may be less than imagined. Most of the benefits from studying a degree go to the student in the form of higher incomes. Therefore, if they get higher salaries it is fair they should pay for it. Secondly, there is an opportunity cost. If we spend a high amount on university education, it means less to spend on primary and secondary education or it requires higher taxes. Primary education may have a greater return for society than university education. Also, firms often state there are shortages of workers with vocational skills such as

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