In the last few decades, the federal government has significantly reduced its funding for post-secondary education (PSE). The consequences have been devastating: increased tuition fees, corporatization, precarious work, bigger class sizes, and outdated infrastructure.

Following the Second World War, Canadian governments were the most important funders of post-secondary education, providing more than 80 per cent of college and university revenue. But over the past two decades that has changed. More of the cost has shifted to students and to wealthy donors.

In this backgrounder, we look at what has happened to federal funding for PSE and what the consequences of the drop of federal funding have been for students, workers, and institutions. We look specifically at the direct federal contribution to PSE, which comes in the form of a transfer to the provinces.

We need the federal government to once again become a significant partner in post-secondary education. That’s why CUPE is calling for a Post-Secondary Education Act and a dedicated Post-Secondary Education Transfer.

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