Fight the fees
There is a crisis in post-secondary education. Since 2001, the amount of revenue universities and colleges earn from tuition fees has tripled.
For several decades, the proportion of public funding for public education has declined as tuition fees have increased. The Fight the Fees campaign is a multi-province campaign that calls on federal and provincial governments to create strategies and funding formulas that progressively reduce and eliminate tuition fees, student loans and interest, and invest in public education.
As costs are increasingly downloaded onto students, the amount owed to the Canada Student Loans Program has reached over $19 billion and is increasing by nearly $1 million per day.
Today, a student who has to take out a loan will pay over $10,000 more for their education than someone who can afford these high upfront costs. As a result, college and university education is becoming increasingly out of reach for students from low-income backgrounds, who are disproportionately Indigenous, students of colour, trans students, students with disabilities and students raised in single-parent homes.
Year after year, campus administrators refuse to advocate alongside students for increased public funding and choose to hike tuition fees as a shortsighted “quick fix” to reduced public funds. The federal government wastes billions of dollars in writing-off defaulted student loans, administering complex student aid programs and paying out inefficient education tax credits rather than directly funding public post-secondary education and removing cost barriers for everyone upfront.
In the absence of any national vision, divergent paths have emerged for post-secondary education between provincial systems, leaving students to pay more for their education depending on where they live. While some provincial governments have begun to make improvements on access through the introduction of needs-based grants systems, without introducing new post-secondary education funding, these student aid policy changes can only be seen as band-aid solutions to a growing problem.
CSLP: Not In Our Interest
We have a debt crisis on our hands. With students owing $28 billion to all levels of government, we need bold action, including the elimination of tuition fees, to fix this. Instead of easing the burden placed on students, the federal government is using interest rates on student loans as a valuable source of revenue.
This year, the government of Canada is projected to generate $862.6 million in revenue from the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP).
This isn’t right. It’s time for the federal government to eliminate interest rates on CSLP loans.
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