Day of Action: student fees are too high


Originally uploaded by Jeffery Simpson.

Having dealt with the Canadian Federation of Students for several years as a student and a student journalist, I don’t have a lot of good things to say about them as an organization. I do however support their call for lower student fees. In fact I agree 100% with them that post-secondary fees should be free for all Canadian citizens.

As someone who paid for several years of university, and is looking at paying for a few more in the future, I know how much the typical student has felt the money pinch since the provincial Liberals came to power and removed the NDP’s tuition freeze, and frankly the rates that the NDP froze tuition at were too high as well.

Yesterday was the CFS’s nation wide Day of Action [cfs] in which they called for:

– reducing tuition fees by 10% in 2007-2008;
– increasing funding for all post-secondary education institutions;
– making adult basic education tuition fee free;
– reinstating student grants for those in need, including graduate students
– increasing funding for trades and apprenticeship students

Though they’re making their case against the wrong government, funding for post-secondary education is a provincial issue not a federal one, their goals are good. If you happen to know an MLA, why not give them a poke about student fees?

8 Comments so far

  1. Kim (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 12:07 pm

    Primary and secondary education is a right, but university/college shouldn’t be, especially when you consider that the primary benefactor of one’s own university education is the individual themself.

    (ie: higher salary, better quality of life – maybe not in the short term, but over a 25-35 year career. Loans do get paid off eventually).

    Besides, when considering how we fund education, student groups don’t do a good job of considering it within the wider context – we have limited resources as a society, so we need to apportion them according to our priorities: what about health care, social services?

  2. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

    Health care and social services are obviously important and I don’t think anyone at the CFS, or any student group would argue otherwise.

    It costs far less to put someone through post-secondary education, whether a trades program or a degree, than it does to put them in jail. Society benifits from having a more educated population. A more educated work force means more jobs, more taxes collected and thus more money over all.

    Australia and Britain both are countries which offer much lower tuition than Canada, to the point of being free in many instances. A country that charges higher tuition? The US.

    It’s not an entirely unrelated matter that the economies of Canada, US and Britain are doing better than the American one at this point.

    Clearly there would need to be some controls so people aren’t taking Intro to Finger Painting Theory 112 for several years. Doctors, teachers and lawyers who benifit from government funded educations should be mandated to work 5 – 10 years in Canada before leaving for higher paying jobs elsewhere.

    It’s also possible to require that anyone who benifits from a government funded education would have to work a few years in northern communities that are always short of educated labour.

    So to argue that it’s an either or proposition, either we have health care or education, is incorrect. Clearly education is an important component of both health care and other social services.

  3. Robert (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

    Your mom paid for your school

  4. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

    Ha. Not the last few years.

  5. Robert (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 2:39 pm

    You havent gone to school the past couple of years. Dont listen to any of this guy has zero street cred.

  6. Jeffery Simpson (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 2:50 pm

    “Robert” if you want to start an argument you have my telephone number. Coming around and annoying your brother isn’t the new hip internet thing.

    The point that you make though, if not entirely correct, is important. We had financial help from our parents to pay for a good deal of our education, and that’s not something everyone gets. Lower, to free, tuition rates would ensure that post secondary education was not just for the privlaged and wealthy. That would contribute to greater upward mobility in society and allow people from sectors of society that have previously been shut out of higher education due to financial barriers, access.

    Clearly it’s not a cure all or miracle solution. Most natives are eligible for free or heavily subsidised education, but that has not stopped a great deal of inequality and poverty on reservations.

  7. Kim (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 3:36 pm

    Per my first post, I’m not saying funding post-secondary education is an either-or proposition when it comes to other social programs.

    We already do put a lot of money into public education (from primary school to high school), while a substantial portion of post-secondary education is publicly subsidized. How much is it now – 50%, 60% of total costs?

    I sincerely do not understand how students today can claim that they can’t afford to pay their way through school.

    Here’s how I did it on my own with no debt, and how I differed from my classmates who did graduate with debt:

    -I finished my degree in 4 years, not 5 or 6
    -I worked full-time during my entire 4-month summer, and then part time during the school year, 2 or 3 days/week (typically 1 weekday evening, 1 weekend day)
    -rather than settling for a minimum wage job flipping burgers, I took up a trade (and paid for my own training), which helped me earn more over the long run
    -I lived at home and commuted during first year, then on campus in student housing for 3 years (living at home in the summers)

    And yes, I still got good marks and had a great social life (plenty of parties, road trips, smoked a lot of grass).

    So why can’t other people do it?

    Back to my original point – without infinite resources, we do have to make some choices wrt funding, and frankly, our system already does a good job at giving extra support to those who need it:

    Single mothers, aboriginals, people from poor families – they all get special grants and bursaries, and deservedly so.

    What I don’t support is an across-the-board tuition cut that would primarily benefit middle class kids – if they’re going to get their degrees, they need to earn their degrees the hard way.

  8. George Bush (unregistered) on February 8th, 2007 @ 3:39 pm

    Now you gotta be hating on the native people? You clearly are going to be going to H.E. double hockey sticks.

    I think Robert just was pointing something out to your readers. I read it as he wasnt trying to offend.

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