Federal budget fails to deliver affordable education for Canadians
Canadian Federation of Students
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Today's federal budget does little to make post-secondary education affordable for most Canadians, despite better than expected revenue projections.
"Students and their families are being forced to assume more education-related debt than any previous generation," said David Molenhuis, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "This at a time when family income is being stretched to the breaking point."
The federal transfer payment for post-secondary education remains approximately $800 million short of 1992 levels when accounting for inflation and population growth. As a result, universities and colleges are relying increasingly on private funding, primarily higher tuition fees. Between 1978 and 2008, the proportion of university operating revenue provided by government sources declined from 84% to 58% while the proportion funded by tuition fees` increased from 12% to 35%.
Student loan debt owed to the federal government surpassed $15 billion for the first time in September 2010. The federal government currently spends over $2.5 billion on ineffective education-related tax credits and savings schemes that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Canadians, money that could easily be redirected to increasing the value and number of non-repayable student grants.
"Without a national strategy for higher education tuition fees and student debt will continue to increase, threatening to bankrupt a generation," added Molenhuis. "This is a recipe for failure."
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.
David Molenhuis, National Chairperson