The numbers are startling. In the middle of the 1980s, governments - both provincial and federal - contributed 80 per cent of the total funding of colleges and universities. Today, they contribute barely 50 per cent.
The consequences of these cuts to public post-secondary education funding have been dramatic. Accessibility to higher education has decreased. Tuition fees have exploded, forcing many to start their adult lives (and young families) burdened with soaring debt. Universities and colleges are more and more dependent on private donations or corporate contributions, increasing the corporatisation and insidious privatization of education. And, employment on campuses is increasingly precarious, which increases workers’ stress and hurts the overall quality of education.
The federal government can and must do more for post-secondary education. It must adopt a Post-Secondary Education Act, create a dedicated Post-Secondary Transfer, increase transfer funding by 40 per cent, and work with the provinces to reduce and eventually eliminate tuition fees.
It is time to act.