As someone who is currently in the process of applying to universities and preparing to get into incredible debt once actually getting accepted into a post-secondary institute, I have witnessed first hand just how expensive post-secondary is. There has been many debates about low cost or free post-secondary education. Especially with the senate confirmation hearing in the USA of Trump’s Secretary of Education nominee, Betsy DeVos (sorry but this post has nothing to do with grizzly bears). There is a video of Bernie Sanders (FEEL THE BERN) questioning DeVos on her views on post-secondary education costs which has been attached right here.
This video covers a few topics but it shows what the democratic and republican views are on free or low cost post-secondary education. In summary, the democratic view is that it is a good investment to send all students who want to receive a higher level of education to school, regardless of their ability to pay for the current price of tuition. The republican view is that it’s simply too much of an investment for the country.
In his Theory of Justice, John Rawls says,
“…a society satisfying the principles of justice as fairness comes as close as a society can to being a voluntary scheme, for it meets the principles which free and equal persons would assent to under circumstances that are fair.”
Personally, I believe that everyone should be given equal opportunity to succeed. If someone or something excludes a particular group or prevents anyone from living their life the way they deserve, that is morally wrong. There are so many brilliant people in the world who aren’t able to go to university because they are disadvantaged somehow, especially financially. If we were to apply the Theory of Justice to financial statuses, then that would justify free/low cost post-secondary education. By giving everyone access to advanced education after high school it would give more people the opportunity to find work that pays more than minimum wage, which is near impossible to live off of but that’s another conversation. Though I believe that being under the veil of ignorance is beneficial in some situations, it isn’t practical in others. In this situation, ignoring a potential student’s financial standing, ethnicity, gender, etc. is good, but universities must still take a student’s academic standing and potential into consideration, in order to make sure that these students are fit to go into the careers they are studying for. By enabling free or low cost post secondary education, you are making sure that a higher education is more accessible, not a guarantee for all. This would make society more productive and and create a more inclusive environment.