Getting it free is good, but take note that the Government will need to get some source of funding to make them free. It could be by increased taxes, tariffs on certain goods, raised prices on some facilities/commodities, etc. I agree with you OP that people tend to be less appreciative of the values of education if they don't put any money into it. When they work hard for it they tend to value it more. Free education is best served to people who really wants to study and upgrade themselves badly but could not afford it for its cost. There should be some set of conditions in place for one to avail it though, e.g., scholarship programs, Sponsorship, Outreach/Education programs for the poor who wants to study, etc. for the rest, if you have money to burn like Paris Hilton and the Kardashians and getting higher education would just be a plus factor to your advancement, why hesitate to spend for education? You can easily earn what you spend there in a day. Don't be greedy and stingy. Whip out your wallets for all its worth!