Who Pays for “Free” Scholarship?

Both sides to the debate on whether or not scholarship should be free raise good points. On one side free scholarship offers resources to everyone; which expands the number of people who are able to access scholarship. However, on the other side if publishing and storing scholarship on databases is free to access, who is paying for it? It is not truly free; someone needs to pay for the server space and the scholarship that is being published.

I like the idea of scholarship being free because it offers more people the opportunity to read, learn, and use valuable resources. One of the articles (I can’t remember which one) made the argument that free scholarship would allow for students in low income areas, who are attending schools with limited resources, the ability to conduct research and access an abundance of resources they otherwise would not have access to. As a teacher I do see the value in extending scholarship to everyone and not limiting the access to just some students.

On the other side, who is going to be the one to pay for “free” scholarship? It would not be fair to force the author to pay to upload there scholarship and it costs money to store the scholarship on servers for all to access. One point that was made in discussion was to have a small tax to support the server space and other costs; then give access codes to all taxpayers for access to the database. I see this being a cost effective method to solving the problem; spreading the cost amongst everyone would minimize the cost. However, I do not see the majority of people willing to be taxed for a service they may never use. I also understand the unwillingness of authors to put their hard work out there for free, especially if they are forced to pay to publish their scholarship.

There is not easy way to allow for “free” scholarship. It would be nice for all students and citizens to have access to all scholarship; however, there are hurdles that need to be addressed before free scholarship can realistically be offered.

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