Should a college education be free?

With rising tuition rates and average student debt at near $30,000, tuition-free college is one popular proposed solution. Some say it will make the positive effects of higher education accessible to more people, while others argue taxpayers will pay too much to benefit those who can take on the costs themselves.


Here's The Fine Print On The Country's Biggest-Ever Free College Plan

A Degree With Zero Student Debt. Does It Work?

Additional resources to think about

The True Costs Of Community College
Youth Radio reporter Tylyn Hardamon found that paying for school is just one of many challenges facing today's students.

If 'Free College' Sounds Too Good To Be True, That's Because It Often Is
To millions of parents and students, they're magical words: free college. But is the idea pure fantasy?

Is Free College Really Free?
"Free" is a word with a powerful appeal. And in the past year or so it has been tossed around a lot, followed by another word: "college."


Who created this message?

  • What kind of “text” is it?
  • How similar or different is it to others of the same genre?
  • What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?


What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • What do you notice (about the way the message is constructed)?
  • What’s the emotional appeal?
  • What makes it seem “real?”
  • Are there any symbols? Persuasive devices used?

How might different people understand this message differently from me?

  • How many other interpretations could there be?
  • How could we hear about them?
  • How can you explain the different responses?

What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

  • What type of person is the reader/watcher/listener invited to identify with?
  • What ideas or perspectives are left out?
  • How would you find what’s missing?
  • What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?


Why is this message being sent?

  • What's being sold in this message? What's being told? 
  • Who is served by or  benefits from the message
    – the public?
    – private interests?
    – individuals?
    – institutions?

5 Key Questions of Media Literacy used with permission from the Center for Media Literacy.
Copyright 2002-2018, Center for Media Literacy,


Should a college education be free?

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