In a new article, Dr Ariane de Gayardon investigates the link between higher education access and free tuition.
While many believe that eliminating tuition fees improves access to higher education, particularly for students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, she argues that this is not the case.
Free higher education often involves limiting the number of university places subsidised by the government. Yet such a move restricts access, often penalizing the most disadvantaged groups.
Using Latin America countries as examples, she shows that higher education access and success are not defined by tuition fee policies. While a policy of free higher education is egalitarian, it can, and often does, create inequity.
She concludes that we should spend more energy setting up equitable ways to help students pay for higher education, rather than negate its cost.
Free Higher Education: Mistaking Equality and Equity is published in International Higher Education.