Why is higher education not free in the US?

Why is higher education not free in the US? Aug, 2 2023

The Crux of the College Conundrum

In a world where opportunities need to be developed, skills need to be sharpened, and potential achieved, one wonders why something as vital as higher education isn't free in the U.S. For many, tackling such a tough question often seems as arduous as convincing a cat to take a bath, like my Bella. Boy, you should see her scampering off every bath time! But, alas, as much as I might love to regale you with feline anecdotes, today's topic isn't about Siamese cats and their bathing disdain. So let's decode the costliness of American education, shall we?

It's About Funding, My Friend!

The first point on why higher education is not free in America, explicitly is about funding. Education in America doesn't function in a vacuum. It's a system – involving layers of regulation, institutions, educators, and students. You got to remember, every college professor, every librarian and every maintenance worker needs to be paid. This reality makes it essential for revenue generation, which majorly happens through tuition fees and student loans.

The Role of Private and Public Institutions

While we're speaking about fees, it's good to consider the role of public and private institutions. As diverse as the students they serve, these institutions have different funding models. Public institutions obtain a portion of their funding directly from the state. On the other hand, private colleges derive most of their revenue from tuition, endowments, and donations.

Higher Education - Price Tag Included

Putting a price tag on knowledge might seem morally challenging, but we need to remember that higher education is not just about learning. It's about creating skilled professionals who contribute to society and the economy. It's also about providing students with resources like accommodation, health services, and much more. But hold up! If you're visualizing me typing this with a stethoscope around my neck and a word "doctor" written on my forehead, I'm sorry to disappoint. Remember, I'm just your everyday blogger trying to make sense of the world, and my only companion is a moody cat, Bella.

The Allure of the American Dream

The value associated with American higher education is also a significant aspect. You know as well as I do that an American degree holds considerable weight worldwide. It's like the golden ticket into prosperity which fuels the ‘American Dream.' Not only is it recognized globally, but a majority of the top-ranked universities worldwide hail from the U.S. This reputation magnifies the demand, and therefore, it also magnifies the price.

The Intriguing Phenomenon of Student loans

Let's flip the pages a bit and dive into the fascinating world of student loans. Student loans are crucial to understanding why higher education in America isn't free. They've become such an integral part of the American educational ecosystem, causing some to shout "Free us from the chains of student loan debt!" Even my Grace sometimes humorously suggests we should start a Kickstarter to pay off my lingering college loans.

Rising Costs and the Future of Higher Education

It's clear that higher education in America comes with a price, and the discussion about 'how to make higher education affordable' seems continuous. Should it be completely free? Should we revisit the corporation taxes to fund tuition-free colleges? Or should we limit the availability of easy credit that's been driving up prices? These questions are like a hot potato in politics and will likely determine the future trajectory of American higher education.


The intricacies of higher education funding in the US are complex and multifaceted. As we've seen, it's about much more than just textbooks and lectures. So, until someone invents a magical money tree outside every university, it's likely that American higher education will continue to wear a price tag. Be it good, bad or indifferent, the situation, just like my Bella's aversion to baths, appears to be here to stay. All we can do is to navigate this labyrinth of learning costs as best as we can and never lose sight of the true worth of education.