Get Involved!

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No matter where you attend or what you study there is no question that rising tuition fees across the country continues to crunch on our ability as students to start our lives after post-secondary studies. What’s more, the debt load across the map is only on the rise with limited relief in sight which only adds another barrier. However for all of us in Ontario there is an important date that should be noted which is the November 5th Provincial Day of Action to drop fees. This is an effort taken on by local groups (there’s more than likely one on your campus!) and broadly mandated by the Canadian Federation of Students to put pressure on provincial and federal governments alike. Here is some stats for you all to have a quick look at:

  • In the early 1990s, user fees accounted for an average of 21 per cent of an institution’s operating budget. Today user fees cover almost 50 per cent of the institution’s budget
  • In Ontario, the provincial policy for domestic students is tuition fee increases of 4 to 8 per cent each year, resulting in 20 to 36 per cent hikes over four years of study.
  • Canadian full-time students in undergraduate programs paid 3.6% more on average on tuition fees in the 2008/2009 academic year compared with a year earlier. This follows a 2.8% increase in 2007/2008.
  • Full-time undergraduate students paid an average of $4,724 in tuition fees for the 2008/2009 academic year, up from $4,558 a year earlier. This is an annual average increase of 4.4% over the tuition of $3,064 paid in 1998/1999. In contrast, inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, rose at an annual average rate of 2.3% between 1998/1999 and 2007/2008.
  • Overall, graduates paid 3.3% more for tuition than a year earlier compared with a 3.6% increase for undergraduate students. On average, graduate students paid $5,777 in tuition fees this fall.

Obviously, this is simply just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to before and after. Despite what you may think, every individual student has a key role to play as a part of lobbying together to ease the exploding debtload and reduce tuition costs. We all know that tuition is simply the start when it comes to student life. As a university student here in Ottawa for over three years, it’s amazing to see the impact that various lobbying has on all levels. On February 7th, 2007 I joined about 12,000 others showing solidarity on Parliament Hill and just the collective energy alone was simply amazing to experience.

On November 5th, thousands of students across the province will re-unite all over to show the same solidarity. In Ottawa, students from all around will gather at the Human Rights Monument with another major event at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Other planned events are planned in Peterborough, London, and Windsor. For more details on these events and the ongoing CFS campaign, check out www.dropfees.ca as well as http://www.cfs-fcee.ca

Social networking pages such as Facebook and Twitter are also a great way to keep in touch with others across the country, as well as to stay updated about events in your area. See you all on November 5th!

Joignez-vous au mouvement étudiant ! À la rue le 5 novembre – l’éducation est un droit!
Join the Student Movement! All out November 5th – Education is a right!

3 Responses to “Get Involved!”

  1. Sam

    I’ve got a quick question. I support lowering tuition fees to make education more accessible. I feel that a better educated population will be more capable of leading Canada, and making the country, lacking a more precise word, better.
    I’ve heard stories from my family of attending the University of Toronto with a $500 dollar scholarship that covered more than half of tuition for a year and books. Needless to say, things have changed.
    So besides mass protests, which I believe go gather the attention of people and politicians, how do people go about changing the current situation?
    Politicians do not seem to take students seriously, as they do not vote in the same numbers as older generations. Canada still participates in anti-intellectual discourse, just look at the conversation around Michael Ignatieff’s history with Harvard. People frowned on the fact that he is a reputable scholar and professor.
    How can students, and those who support them change the situation when Canada seems apathetic to the plight of education?

    Reply
  2. freddy7

    Those are some pretty shocking statistics. I was especially surprised to learn that user fees now represent 50% of the typical institution’s operating budget – up from 21% not so long ago. And with a 4% to 8% escalation in fees per year, the user-fee percentage of the budget will surely continue to increase. I have a feeling that this will not lead the institutions to have more dollars to spend on improving programs and facilities… Probably it’s just making it easier for governments to slack off on funding. Of course, the worst is the burden this trend is imposing on already overstretched students. This will likely deter many worthy people from pursuing post-secondary education.

    Reply
  3. jessecomber

    Well I have to be honest and say that I take an alternative view to the whole lower tuition fees argument. I would like to submit an article to present an alternative view on a subject that seems to be rarely debated on college and university campuses.

    This article was published in The Fulcrum, the University of Ottawa’s student newspaper (http://www.thefulcrum.ca/articles/22637).

    Take a minute to read this article and familiarize yourself with the alternate side of this debate. Lowering tuition fees may not be the solve all solution that the CFS thinks it will be.

    Reply

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