Global education report shows need for stronger government support in Canada

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

VANCOUVER–A new report on education by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that, individually, Canadians receive less benefit from post-secondary education than the OECD average.

“Record high tuition fees and student debt are, for many, erasing the benefits of post-secondary education,” said Zach Crispin, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-BC. “There are tremendous benefits to post-secondary education for society as a whole, but the rising individual cost is making college and university an increasingly risky expense for families.”

The annual report, titled Education at a Glance, measures several outputs of post-secondary systems among the 34 OECD member states. In its coverage of Canada, the report says that a male university graduate in Canada can expect a lifetime net premium of USD 80,000 over a high school graduate, USD 10,000 less than the OECD average.

The university earnings premium is even lower for Canadian women. The OECD estimates that the lifetime premium for female university graduates in Canada is only USD 46,000 over high school graduates.

The net wage premium is calculated by subtracting the costs of post-secondary education from the average lifetime financial benefits.

“University presidents have been grossly exaggerating the earnings of university grads as an excuse to raise tuition fees. Their national organization regularly claims the average graduate earns over a million dollars more in a lifetime,” said Crispin. “I trust this new data will keep them honest.”

At $27,000 after a four-year program, student debt in BC has never been higher. BC ranks dead-last among the provinces in grants and other student aid disbursements. The cost of a degree in BC has increased by more than $10,000 since 2001.

The Canadian Federation of Students-BC is composed of 150,000 students in British Columbia from 17 universities and colleges. Post-secondary students in Canada have been represented by the Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organizations since 1927.


Contact: Zach Crispin, Chairperson
Tel: 604-733-1880

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