I think the cost of tertiary education should be an investment that students make in order to secure a return in the form of better earnings later. So borrowing money to make this investment is perfectly reasonable. If you don't back yourself to get a useful qualification, don't start the course
There is no such thing as "free". It's just making someone else pay for it.
Society as a whole benefits from education, not just the individual.
When something is "free" you'll have bludger losers queuing up at Uni to do Bullshi@ degrees that are worthless in the real world.
It used to be free.
Not sure how you define a "bull****" degree. Data I've seen on (from NZQA and/or MBIE) suggested to me that "common knowledge" on "bull**** degrees" may not be accurate WRT medium and long-term vocational outcomes.
OTOH, some might consider that there's an element of bull**** in what some consider to be worthwhile degrees because a self-fulfilling prophesy is in place. Example MBA - where xx% of senior executives have an MBA, it becomes accepted that the reason that they're senior executives (and such great ones - by self assessment) is because of the unique qualities they have because of that learning, so they make appointments favouring candidates with MBAs, around and around we go.