Should students pay for at least part of their own educations? Hell no. It is and always has been immoral to make students, even from the richest families, pay for postsecondary vocational or professional education. The reason is simple: Most people in modern industrial societies are wage earners. To survive without depending on government welfare or private charity, they must sell their labor to employers. To tell most adult citizens that they must live by selling their labor, but that they must also inherit or borrow the money to purchase a credential permitting them to sell their labor in particular trades—even when the immediate beneficiaries of their skills in those trades are their employers—is sadistic.
In an ideal world, firms, agencies, or nonprofits—including legal services corporations, medical services corporations, and educational services corporations—would hire people right out of high school. Rather than hiring from outside for different positions at different levels, firms should be incentivized to pay repeatedly for the specialized training of long-term employees to help them climb up the intrafirm career ladder. With successive rounds of training paid for by hospitals, some talented nursing aides could become nurses, and a few of them could eventually become doctors. The most accomplished paralegals could work their way up to become senior attorneys within the same legal services firm.
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