For decades in Canada, governments were the most important funders of post-secondary education. But over the past 30 years, that has changed.

To make up for the shortfall in revenue following funding cuts, universities and colleges have increased tuition fees for students. Over the past 30 years, tuition fees for undergraduates have doubled, even after accounting for inflation.

But tuition fees aren’t the only thing that have increased. Schools have also been dumping more “ancillary” fees on students – mandatory fees that are supposedly intended to cover things like health services, athletics, student associations, and in some cases, even graduation.

This backgrounder looks at what the consequences of this shift have been for students and graduates, including higher levels of student debt.

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