Study highlights growing provincial tuition fee disparities

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

OTTAWA — Access to post-secondary education varies widely from province to province as a result of disparities in tuition fee rate, according to a report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“The lack of national standards for public post-secondary education has led to provinces setting drastically different tuition fee rates,” said Jessica McCormick, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Standards for access to post-secondary education should be set and enforced by federal legislation in the same manner by which standards for health care access are set by the Canada Health Act.”

According to the report, Degrees of Uncertainty, Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be the most affordable province in which to study for median and low-income students, while New Brunswick is the least. The report finds that Ontario continues to charge the highest tuition fees. If no action is taken, tuition fees in Ontario will far outpace other provinces, reaching more than $9500 by 2016-17.

“Skyrocketing tuition fees and the prevalence of loan-based financial assistance have pushed student debt to historic levels. Federal and provincial governments must intervene to ensure all Canadians have access to post-secondary education, regardless of their geographical location or socioeconomic background,” added McCormick.

Since the funding cuts of the 1990s, an increasing proportion of the cost of post-secondary education has been passed onto students and their families. Although government grants used to cover up to 80 percent of university and college operating budgets 30 years ago, today they cover roughly 50 percent with tuition fees making up the difference.

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students in all ten provinces. The Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927.

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Media contact:
Jessica McCormick, 613-232-7394
Regional representatives available upon request.

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