autumnsoliloquy90: (straight through the heart)
[personal profile] autumnsoliloquy90
(Princeton Review, Practice Test, Writing Task 2) Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

A university education should be provided free of charge to all interested scholars.

Start: 16:45
End: 17:15

I concede that when it comes to education, I am a huge proponent of free access to educational opportunities. Therefore, it only follows that I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that a university education should—and must—be free of charge to all students, regardless of socioeconomic and demographic background.

One of the biggest barriers to education for young people is the problem of financing their university studies. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, access to education is one of the most fundamental rights of any human being. However, tertiary education nowadays has transformed from an inalienable human right into a luxury good that only the youths from wealthy families could afford. This is especially true all over the world, be it in a developing region like African states, where college students have protested widely in recent years against massive increases in tuition fees; or in a highly developed country like the United States, where exorbitant student loans required to finance college expenses remain a formidable deterrent for students from lower-income backgrounds to break the cycle of poverty. Therefore, I believe that the best solution to equalize the playing field for disadvantaged students, and promote socioeconomic upward mobility through education, is to remove these barriers that prevent access to a tertiary education. Eliminating the need for tuition fees would tremendously relieve young people of the financial burden of loans and having to work alongside their studies, allowing them to concentrate on their education full-time, and therefore allowing them the opportunity to improve their life circumstances.

Many might argue that there are scholarships available for less privileged students to gain access to a college education, thus circumventing the problem of how to pay for their education. However, scholarships are few and limited, and they are often available only for the academically gifted or those who have displayed extraordinary talent in various fields. Thus, scholarships empower only the intellectually endowed and the talented students, but leave the problems of the average young person unaddressed, who might not have the best talents or skills, but have the zest for learning and interest in the subject to compensate for it. After all, access to education is not the sole right of the wealthy, the genius or the gifted alone --- it is a basic human right that all young people should be able to exercise. Hence, it is only through the provision of tertiary education free of charge, e.g. through the eradication of tuition fees, that universal access to education could be guaranteed, not through merely providing scholarships alone.

Furthermore, the abolishment of matriculation fees has already proven to be successful not only in increasing literacy rates but also in improving overall well-being of the citizens of the country. Scandinavian countries and wealthy Western European states like Germany have already implemented such education systems which allow students of all backgrounds the free access to education. These countries thus boast some of the most literate and highly educated populations in the world. Moreover, they also rank highly in various indicators of the Human Development Index, which assesses the health, education and income of the country’s citizenry. Therefore, I believe making university education free for all would not only benefit the students individually, but more importantly, their societies as a whole.

In conclusion, it only makes sense for education, being a basic human right, to be freely accessible to everyone, regardless of background. This is best achieved through the elimination of barriers to education, such as tuition fees, thus making universities free of charge to students. Such a policy not only improves the lives of the students, but also the welfare of their countries in the long term.

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December 2016

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