Should Higher Education Be Free?

Education has been the driving force behind the development of the human race and of the world. Education at all levels used to be free and provided by the government in the past in the UK. During the 80s and 90s, there was an increase in the number of students taking up higher education and a decrease in the funding that universities received. It became apparent that this way of public investment through the grant system was not supportable and a new way of funding had to be developed. This led to the introduction of education reform act 1988 which strengthened central planning of higher education and introduced Britain’s first large scale student loan scheme. In 1998, the newly elected labour government, with the help of the Dearing report, introduced flat tuition fees of £1,000 to be paid upfront (not covered by a loan), which would be income-tested so that students from poor backgrounds did not pay. The maintenance grant were abolished and replaced by a loan. In the year 2006/7 a variable tuition fee of £3,000 was introduced, loans were extended to cover fees and grants were restored. (Barr and Crawford, 2005)
In the following essay arguments will be presented on why education should not be free to the students with the relevant economic theories presented and analysed. The essay will conclude with how the higher education should be funded.

Why education should not be free.
One of the main reasons why free higher education would not work is because it would not be practical from an economic point of view. Yes, it used to be free in the 50s and 60s. It was possible then because there were lot fewer students than there are right now. Making higher education free would rapidly increase the demand. The UK is not geared up to satisfy that kind of demand and the resources will prove to be scarce.
Scarcity is the excess of human wants over what can actually be produced. Because of scarcity, various choices have to be made between alternatives....