After years of government underfunding, access to high quality post-secondary education is at risk.
Did you know?
- Federal transfers for post-secondary education are almost 40 per cent less per student now than they were twenty-five years ago.
- Thirty years ago, universities received more than 80 per cent of their operating revenue from governments. Today, government funding has shrunk to barely 50 per cent.
- Tuition fees at Canadian universities have increased by three times the rate of inflation since 1990.
- The proportion of college operating revenue coming from tuition has increased by 40 per cent since 2001.
- Since 1990, average student debt has grown 40 per cent while average real wages have stagnated.
- Over half of post-secondary workers in Ontario experience one or more indicators of precarity in their work: juggling multiple jobs, more temporary work and more unpaid work.
- For example, more than half of undergraduate university courses in Ontario are now being taught by contract academic staff.
- More and more publicly funded colleges and universities are opening the door to for-profit academic service providers, including deals which allow students studying at some private, for-profit colleges to receive a degree from a public college.
- Around the world, more than twenty countries, including Brazil, Germany, and Sweden, provide free post-secondary education to all their citizens.
High quality, publicly funded, accessible post-secondary education is essential.
It helps to foster engaged, well-informed citizens with the skills needed to participate in a changing economy. It helps to lessen social and economic disparities. And it contributes to our country’s economic, cultural, and intellectual development.
But chronic government underfunding is creating a crisis.
It’s transforming post-secondary education from a public good to a private benefit enjoyed by the wealthy. It’s making work more precarious, putting the quality of education at risk. It’s opening the door to corporate control over higher education and research, threatening academic freedom.
The consequences are serious.
Students who are burdened by debt and workers dealing with short-term contracts and low wages struggle to participate fully in the life of our communities. They face limited economic choices, such as being unable to buy a car or qualify for a mortgage. They may have difficulty starting a family or caring for elderly parents. No wonder that debt and precarity are associated with mental and physical health problems and higher levels of stress.
This is about choices.
Governments in other countries are making the choice to invest in post-secondary education. Canada can make that choice, too. It’s up to us.
It’s Our Time to Act.
It’s time for the federal government to be a real partner in post-secondary education again. It’s time for the federal government to:
- Adopt a Post-Secondary Education Act with clear conditions and accountability measures for federal funding.
- Create a dedicated Post-Secondary Transfer.
- Increase transfer funding by 40 per cent to restore the level of per-student PSE funding that was provided in 1993.
- Work with the provinces to reduce and eventually eliminate tuition fees for post-secondary education.
What you can do:
- Write, call or visit your Member of Parliament.
- Sign our petition.
- Send a postcard to the Prime Minister.
- Share information on social media.
- Have conversations with your friends and family.