a national vision for Canada’s post-secondary education system

o o n p n f a n a n o s o t o o i a a o o t n d n o n g c o tson o on tio di pu ods p d cdu n d fo ub of ed d a di fe n p n f d n oion f uc f n o oo at f ian d o n a b ia d a d o u o c e a e fo f d i s u a c o c f l s e public education for the public good • canadian federation of students n pu or ca f f n lic ca bl n at f s an r t ic tu ra n ian n f er f s bl r anf s fo de ti de r st c on tu t r r o r t u a t f o b e a t ic t n i a io t a h e n s o f n f lic th a tu r ed ed a c e di n ud d e du de io ed fe de ti u e he ad ud t at n at he de nafo d h a t e i p f d d ic fe stu e e p dia de he ra uc ia du n fo en an ub cant n oera e ra on endu pu ian en e ion or ion pu nt di t pu b s a g de d du u n n p t a n c fe r t f l t s f t ra t o t c b t ti oo ra en c bl fe ts ub iontio fe at d th s p ed ic ionpu st io ti ion f s s pat lic feds p blof heof lic pu io a ic b u n o o s s u p e g d i e e ts n d ctio ts tio g de ublic o n f e on ra p ub ra oo fo lic d o n of tu ub n go er bl ic tu pu tu go o p fo a n pu n oo ra li g f s or ra fo tio ub lic ti d r e en f s of s de lic fo odat ic go d bl d t r io e o e i e n u r n o b f d t c o t o c t d t t s t n l r a o bl th ad f s li or c ion ed od ud th ion t n o ic ed n a he uc s p ud tu ud ts ed t ca n d d nt c g n f ic e i t c g u o n h u h n o u c s e a e e fe st e p an u ed th n of uc ca n pu of e f s oo ca f s ad pu at ub en de nt pu cae p a f ca an pu ic p t d e a a n ts u d s t a d u d u t t i b io l t n s b a go er de u bl fe en uc pu diast tio a p bli st ub ud d c io udan lic n ic s p ts p lic tio bl ia tu io d d t a c t n d n i d u c u l e u u f e u n n n ionod at nt at ic er s ti bl n de n ia bl g de ic n an f en fe go or du b pu bl ed f ic fe en fo t ts c io s io go a pu o ic fe n fo n i o n g s a o t d o t c li bl ic u o g d t n p fo a n pu n o tio b n f g de ts r fe c e od ts oo p diar t s p er d h at c e ic e ca r t oo er s h u a c e io d e d t h d a p o u r n o b f d n li o o r p t d d p d u n f bl th ad f s lic or ca o c e r od at u he er ucca u c bl n f e p bl tio an pu n uc du uc io e c ti f d t a n p a o f s ic e i t i n a b f i b p a a n b a ic e t li ed tu e p an ud ed he na st u he ca on lic ub tio ti ad lic na e de ub c e o d lic or at ca ti fo ub na io t o r l c e d d u f o i d u c p n u d d r l d f ia d g ra en uc bl eden ca pu ia d at ub adof ed lic n o n an ed ia uc at ic u st n go th n ion n t ic f t u o g c u f u e n c o tio ts at ic er s ti bl n f n ion lic ia st c go f s or fe c n at ion o at ud fed ode p fo fo or he a d a f i o n u a u r i g a p o i e t p o of tio c n pu on oo ti ub n c g d s p fo go f de ti od tu thde tioed on o d ionen er ca b th r th o b li e th e er u r ed n o d s f c a o l f o t a e d e r ed ca tu n f na f s lic fo d c n ic or o a b t od e t n f ca en p at n f ra fo st an fo s p tiona c g p e d t l h r s r a o e u io o t r u d n u p t r d o ia uc na e r dia ud ed th n f s d th c ionic e pca at puor a ts bl n r io th d ad t ub n o ia oo bl n at d nt th n e u e ad t uc e p an o ed u na io b th di pu ic o th n e en ia he lic f n d i d fe io ian s e fe nt ca pu ia ud at u a f uc bl d n lic e an b g f s e of pu ts n p e st fe ca p p d s t l o t p f u d u d n d i i o p n e i b d s n ca er f fe ub ub er p io bli f nt on lic ia tu at c gan f s ed ubfedic od ud ub stubli pu ed bl ucud er n c e s n d io o f t u l e e a u o c b e i e l s di tio at r de ic lic at bl fo g de p fo go f e n o e u c ic r du ca en lic de g li ra c g at nt ed n f d d d a r e c t o io a p a n io t i i o r t n o e ub n f n he at d go on c e r t o ra ub t od e ts o c er en tio go ti ca na s go t o ed io o n u o o d h d t li h c r o t d p o s d u n d r a a t p l f o o p io o fe ub ic ed r t f u n ca d f u e caion c e e p a at pu th na tio s n f d n oion ia ub d pu ca c o c s b c p n i b p ts de lic ed er he tu li of tio ca st a u na o du ub a on li e p di n u or ca f fon f lic ca bl naat f s i t a u ti b s f c i d c a o b p ra gouc ti pu de g st n f na de o li di s ca lic ia of e ub n f li th na tu r ed ed na c e di on n ub ti o a on b n o u o d n n c a tu t g n s d l f s c e d d th er u d d a f li fo li on d tio o lic ts od de r ian ts fo go n f d ion o fe tuuc ic ed tu ed pu ian en e at ca ian ucn f e o d d a g e d u b c r c o c n f t p i t a e p c n th p r o e n a go th ed f an fo st go ub a ts e fed u th d de ts fo d c er en tiooo ra en ca lic fe s pub on io fe ti n d o b d c n n p l d t t d a od e uc st ad r ud od lic a pu u er li e p a ra pur t an at ts n c io s tio g er ub ic of f er p a u i th e c ia d d b bl a c u n ti b h a io p fo a n p n o a l g s o a a o u o r e ia l e i n n ia c u t d a t e n n fe f n an bl io en n e p ts an du n ic ic io dubli di n lic p dia o ub r t a of bl fo d tio c e oo tu t u n f l h d s i r c n d d d ic n t f u c a o a c f e g n d e f n e de ed ad g fo s ed b pu di a ed du oo o ca g n f ed bl f s ic e ia tuc e th an o u c en r t p e l c a i t t o f s p n a of at ra er ian oo r ub ra ic bl an io er ca d cf s io o ed tuuc c ged u ed u f de du e ad f s at n ti s i t a p t i e d u b e d n a a t o t on io ti fe d c he lic tiogo c e fe f ti tio an u n f c er de ti oo ra en c li d nt ca ub ia tu io d o a a n o d t t a c er s t l n d n f n u d o o n o o a ed o d o o n de an pu ed n o d du er r n n f ad en r n ti ts n c io s tio g a p io ic fe en en f f o r a b u o u n d e f a o ia r s t s s f at d l c f ca ca at th of or ian ts th d n p fo an n pu n o tio bl f go de t a t s tu t s i ia ic a st n ti io e s t e ia o u r a of b fo d n i o o r g n t u p o f io d p d ud tu on n g ti u ad on n pu tu he fe u pu n f bl th d s lic r ca o c e r d o ed n e u e e d n d d b b f s ic e ia t f d t o b d t f o o d fo c e o nt bl nt n e of ed od n en ian fo f li e pu er lic li ed tu e p n ud ed he na st u he c n ts r a ra f s ic s ts nt s e c fo ts f r st c g nt bl a e c er de du ub fe e u p di u ca p t d g t r n c fe p th na tiostupu ed pu pu s p ud at an r t p ed th ud o s p ic io u o at nt ca lic de t at ub an de tio o u g n c o i s t s u e e u n b b p de bl e p dia n de li uc li bl ub en io ad he bl ra p en d b o o at d on p io gora p io lic fe ts u n g d u r i u n o n c a c ic l t n i p i t u t c l o f i c t u n s bl at c e bl f f s ts ed tio ed e ic s of an ub c e io bl s p an ic d st on an of bl f od ionbl fo o er d e p i i o e c o p i n u c gion du ic ed tu pu uc n uc uc du ub st fe lic du n oc g ub ad du an ud fo ad st ic r ca o c e r t d ed t n f d h c g er d b a fo a a c l u d a b o c f o l i c e r i u u dialic o of at oo a en li ti r tio ti a ic de er go at s o ic an ca ad nt t an de u he a st uc e c n e d s io d ti t c o t n o ti e n a o io tu d ed f ti ia s he f n c p d u a p a o s e n h t d n o d c e o d c t e t a u ia d fe tio fe u an ud n f ca n pu d fo e p fo f n ucts io c n f de anuc de n n f pu pu d s tio b n enti u d n d ca a e o n o b uc r u r or fo a p n a o n a a r fo e bl b er pu n lic fe t d c e t a e l a s n r a f l t u o n r t b t a at ra fo ra tio dia ts t di st ic at th li he th r t io bl f s ad ths p dia ion tior t er ic ic ti bli fo gode h a u e io e c ed g o c r r d io t r t n n e h n ic h a u p ia n io th io f f pu e p n d d n pu g pu p e f e tu ian e p b n f fo n e ti u oo n e t od u n f n en u f o d d li e r o p o c d o d he u o e n or ed bl u fe b f u n a c o b o b b pu r u e f u c d f u u lic fe or of puof t e ic bl de ts at r lic d lic li bl t c n ed bl e e th s b o t c s c p

Public education For the Public good

Canadian federation of students

Canadian Federation oF StudentS
338 Somerset Street West Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0J9 Tel: Fax: E-mail: Web: (613) 232 7394 (613) 232 0276 info@cfs-fcee.ca www.cfs-fcee.ca

This report is available in digital form on the Federation’s website at www.cfs-fcee.ca/ Ce rapport est également disponible en françcais.

The Federation is thankful to the following photographers whose

works were used under a Creative Commons license in this document: •

Francois de Halleux Cheryl Maze Walker Jeremy Wilburn •

Jon Erickson University of British

Columbia Library

the canadian federation of students
With over 600,000 members, represented by more than 80 students’ unions in all ten provinces, the Canadian Federation of Students is the voice of post-secondary students in Canada. The Federation and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927. The Federation represents students at the college, undergraduate, and graduate level, and students who study both part and full-time.
British ColumBia
university of british columbia students’ union okanagan camosun college student society capilano students’ union douglas students’ union emily carr students’ union Kwantlen student association college of new caledonia students’ union north island students’ union northwest community college students’ union okanagan college students’ union college of the rockies students’ union selkirk college students’ union simon fraser student society students’ union of Vancouver community college thompson rivers university students’ union Vancouver island university students’ union university of Victoria students’ society

Prairies
alberta college of art and design students’ association brandon university students’ union graduate students’ association of the university of calgary first nations university of canada students’ association university of Manitoba students’ union university of Manitoba graduate students’ association university of regina students’ union association étudiante du collège universitaire de saint-boniface university of saskatchewan students’ union university of saskatchewan graduate students’ association university of Winnipeg students’ association

ontario
algoma university students’ union brock university graduate students’ association carleton university students’ association carleton university graduate students’ association association étudiante de la cité collégiale student association of george brown college glendon college student union university of guelph central student association university of guelph graduate students’ association lakehead university student union laurentian association of Mature and part-time students laurentian university graduate students’ association laurentian university students’ general association association des étudiantes et étudiants francophones de l’université laurentienne McMaster university graduate students’ association

ontario (Cont’d)
nipissing university student union ontario college of art and design student union student federation of the university of ottawa graduate students’ association des étudiant(e)s diplômé(e)s de l’université d’ottawa Queen’s university society of graduate and professional students ryerson students’ union continuing education students’ association of ryerson saint paul university students’ association university of toronto at scarborough campus students’ union university of toronto graduate students’ union university of toronto students’ union university of toronto at Mississauga students’ union association of part-time undergraduate students of the university of toronto trent central student association

ontario (Cont’d)
trent university graduate student association university of Western ontario society of graduate students Wilfrid laurier university graduate students’ association university of Windsor students’ alliance university of Windsor graduate students’ society university of Windsor organization of part-time universitvy students York federation of students York university graduate students’ association

maritimes
cape breton university students’ union holland college student union university of King’s college students’ union Mount saint Vincent university students’ union university of new brunswick graduate students’ association student union of nscad university university of prince edward island student union university of prince edward island graduate student association association générale des étudiants de l’université sainte-anne

newfoundland & laBrador
grenfell college student union Marine institute students’ union Memorial university of newfoundland students’ union graduate students’ union of the Memorial university of newfoundland college of the north atlantic students’ union

QuéBeC
concordia student union concordia university graduate students association dawson student union post-graduate students’ society of Mcgill university

table oF contents
1 2 3 5 6 13 14 16 19 22 23 24 introduction students WorKing public opinion polling recoMMendations canada’s post-secondarY education sYsteM education statistics student debt in canada aboriginal education research and graduate studies costing of recoMMendations further reading references

introduction - public education for the public good

Public education For the Public good
inVesting in post-secondarY education is essential to future econoMic success and social eQualitY
While Canada has begun to show signs of recovery from the recession, the global recovery appears increasingly shaky. In Canada and around the world, millions of the people who lost their jobs are still unemployed and the job market in the United States, Canada’s largest trading partner, still shows few signs of recovery. Following the large loss of manufacturing and other jobs during the recession, many Canadians returned to school for education and retraining. Combined with a large cohort of high school graduates, this has produced the largest class of post-secondary students in Canada’s history. While students continue to enrol in higher education, saddling a generation with billions of dollars in debt will have far reaching implications for Canada’s economy and socio-economic equality. This massive student cohort reflects the new economic reality: a highly educated workforce is the foundation of Canada’s economy. While the recession saw a major downturn in Canada’s manufacturing sector, the importance of a highly skilled workforce reflects a change that has been underway for the past two decades. With a highly educated workforce and a relatively stable economy compared to other OECD countries, Canada is positioned to emerge from the global recession in a stronger position than other Western nations. However, record-high levels of student debt and a post-secondary education system that is increasingly out of reach for ordinary Canadians threatens Canada’s long-term economic prosperity. In the absence of a national strategy for post-secondary education divergent paths have emerged between the provinces’ post-secondary education systems. Across the country, students bear significantly different burdens for pursuing higher education. This disparity threatens Canada’s long-term economic strength and social equality. In addition, Aboriginal peoples, the fastest growing population in Canada, are still largely shut out of post-secondary education and prevented from achieving their potential. Following two decades of declining public funding, Canada’s colleges and universities are seriously underfunded. Class sizes have increased significantly, while needed repairs to infrastructure have gone unaddressed. Tuition fees have grown more than four-fold over the past two decades, causing average student debt to increase to over $25,000. Taking advantage of Canada’s current relative economic strength, compared to other industrialised nations, requires leadership at the federal level and a substantial reinvestment in students and colleges and universities. This document outlines five recommendations for the federal government to implement in order to build and maintain a strong postsecondary system that trains a workforce capable of competing in the twenty-first century.

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

high fees push students to work more, study less
Students

are

struggling

to

afford

their

post-secondary

education

more

than

any

previous generation. Record high tuition fees

combined with the recession have taken a

heavy

toll

on

students

and

their

families,

with

the

worst

of

it

borne

by

vulnerable

groups including those with disabilities, and

racialised

and

Aboriginal

peoples.

Rapidly

increasing

student

costs

and

lower

than

average

availability

of

summer

work

have

contributed

to

an

increasing

number

of

students working during the school year.

Research

has

found

that

working

while

in

school

can

have

negative

effect

on

student’s

academic

performance,

particularly

when

the

student

is

working

more than 20 hours per week, an occurrence

that is becoming much more common.

student unemployment remained high this past summer

substantially more students today work during the school year
50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 75% 60% 45% 30% 15% 0%

students say working has a negative effect on academic performance

25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% 2008 2009 2010 PERCEnT oF STUdEnTS WHo WERE

UnEMPLoyEd dURing THE SUMMER

1976

2008

Yes

No

PERCEnT oF STUdEnTS WHo

WoRkEd dURing THE yEAR, WHiLE

ATTEnding UnivERSiTy

STUdEnTS WHo WERE ASkEd iF

THEy THoUgHT WoRking HAd A

nEgATivE EFFECT on ACAdEMiC

PERFoRMAnCE

publiC eduCation, For the publiC good Canadian federation of students

canadians want leadershiP
the quality oF education has suFFered because oF inadequate government Funding
agRee - 51% dIsagRee - 33% No opINIoN

students WorKing and public opinion polling

it is more diFFicult today to get a university or college education than it was ten years ago
agRee - 50% dIsagRee - 36% No opINIoN

a majority of Canadians believe that:

a university or college education

is more important than ever to get

by in today’s society;

the federal government should

attach conditions to transfer

payments to the provinces; •

the government should invest

more in post-secondary education,

even if it means they have to pay

a little more in taxes; •

the government should invest in

making college or university more

affordable, even if it means a

small increase in taxes; and •

a university or college education

should be provided free for

everyone who can’t afford it.

should tuition Fees be increased, Frozen or reduced?
50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
Reduced - 35% FRozeN - 44% INcReased - 15%

what is the most imPortant thing For government to do For college and university education?
50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
LoweR tuItIoN Fees aNd studeNt debt - 48% cReate moRe spaces FoR quaLIFIed studeNts - 21% Reduce cLass sIzes bY hIRINg moRe pRoFessoRs - 14% INvest moRe IN ReseaRch - 11%

67% 59% 79%

Want the federal government to set conditions on transfer payments to ensure that provinces use the money as intended. think governments are not doing enough to make sure that everyone who is qualified has a chance to get a university or college education. are against increases in tuition fees, with 35% supporting a reduction from current levels.

results are taken from a harris/decima random telephone survey of 2,000 adult canadians conducted between april 8 and april 19, 2010. the poll was commissioned by the canadian association of university teachers and the canadian federation of students. national results are considered accurate within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

recoMMendations

recoMMendations
develoP and imPlement a national vision For a high quality and aFFordable system oF Post-secondary education

The federal government should, in cooperation with the provinces, implement a federal Post-Secondary Education Act modeled after the principles of the Canada Health Act, accompanied by a dedicated cash transfer with funding allocated to: • Immediately restore per capita funding to 1992 levels; • Over three years, reduce tuition fees to 1992 levels; and • Over five years, eliminate deferred maintenance at Canada’s colleges and universities.
track success: measure results

Increase funding by $10 million to Statistics Canada’s branch for the collection and analysis of postsecondary education statistics.

oPen doors: reduce student debt

Increase the value and number of non-repayable grants available to student, by redirecting funds allocated to education-related tax credits and savings schemes to the Canada Student Grants Program, and allow graduate students to qualify for grants under the Program.
meet canada’s obligations: Fund aboriginal education

Remove the funding cap on increases to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and ensure that every eligible First Nations and Inuit learner is provided adequate funding to attend postsecondary education.
Foster innovation: Funding For research and graduate studies

Increase the number of Canada Graduate Scholarships to 3,000 – consistent with average growth in the program since 2003 – to be distributed proportionally among the research councils according to enrolment figures.

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

canada’s post-secondary education system
For

over

one-half

century,

the

federal

government has recognised the crucial role

post-secondary

education

plays

in

driving

economic

growth

and

innovation,

and

increasing

social

and

economic

equality.

The

substantial

public

investments

that

led

to

the

expansion

of

universities

and

the creation of colleges in the 1960s were

based

on

the

belief

that

access

to

postsecondary education should be dictated by

ability and desire, not financial means.

Canada’s public post-secondary education

system has become remarkably less public

over

the

last

two

decades.

Beginning

in

the

1980s,

the

federal

government

limited

increases

in

transfers

to

the

provinces

for

post-secondary

education,

effectively

decreasing

per-student

funding.

in

1995,

the

federal

government

made

one

of

the

deepest

funding

cuts

in

history,

slashing

transfers

to

the

provinces

for

social

programs

by

$7

billion.

in

every

province,

with the exception of Québec, this funding

cut was passed directly on to students and

their families in the form of massive tuition

fee increases. despite

the

federal

government

posting

multi-billion

dollar

surpluses

for

over

decade,

funding

for

post-secondary

education was not restored.

These

cuts

triggered

provinces

to

spend

less

on

higher

education,

and

paved

the

way

for

dramatic

shift

towards

private

funding

as

the

primary

source

of

revenue

for

Canada’s

universities

and

colleges.

Today,

post-secondary

institutions

rely

largely

on

private

sources

of

funding,

primarily through tuition and ancillary fees.

Almost

half

of

the

operational

funding

for

universities

today

comes

from

students

themselves.

Prior

to

these

cuts,

access

to

postsecondary

education

was

similar

from

province

to

province.

Today,

tuition

fees

vary

widely,

making

geography

one

of

the

largest

factors

in

determining

whether

an

individual

can

afford

to

obtain

postsecondary credential.

in order to reduce inequalities across socioeconomic

groups

and

regional

disparities,

and increase the country’s competitiveness

internationally,

the

federal

government

must once again prioritise affordable, highquality post-secondary education.

canada’s post-secondarY education sYsteM

government spending: a question of priorities
Canadians

overwhelmingly

believe

that

the

federal

government

must

provide

more

support to the post-secondary education. While

Canada’s

social

programs

are

often

treated

as

expendable,

funding

such

programs

is

necessity

in

order

for

Canada

to

maintain

its

standard

of

living

and

preserve

the

stability

of

our economy. The federal government posted an $18.1 billion

surplus in the year 2000. By 2009 that surplus

had

turned

into

multi-billion

dollar

deficit.

While a large part of the deficit can be attributed

to

downturn

in

the

economy

and

short-term

stimulus

spending,

Parliamentary

Budget

officer

kevin

Page

projects

that

Canada

has

structural

deficit

that,

without

corrective

action,

will

continue

after

Canada’s

economy

has

rebounded

and

stimulus

spending

has

wound

down.

Current

funding

priorities,

and

fiscal

capacity

that

has

been

reduced

by

multi-billion

dollar

tax

cuts,

undermine

the

federal

government’s

ability

to

afford

to

adequately

retrain

of

out-ofwork

Canadians

and

train

the

country’s

future

workforce. investments

in

social

programs,

such

as

health

care

and

post-secondary

education,

continuously

rank

as

top

priorities

for

Canadians. in a recent poll conducted by Harrisdecima, only 8 percent of Canadians identified

tax

cuts,

and

12

percent

deficit

reduction,

as

the

most

important

priority

for

the

federal

government.

By

comparison,

over

60

percent

identified

investments

in

social

programs,

reducing

unemployment,

or

reducing

poverty

as

their

top

priority.

despite

this,

the

federal

government

has

prioritised

tax

cuts

and

deficit

reduction over needed investments in Canada’s

ailing social programs. Significant

reductions

in

Canada’s

corporate

tax

rate,

brought

in

during

recent

years

with

the ostensible goal of encouraging investment,

have

failed

to

place

Canada

in

position

of

significant economic advantage.

in

recent

report,

the

World

Economic

Forum

placed

Canada

in

the

middle

of

the

pack

for

investment climate. The report rated the impact

that

the

level

of

taxation

has

on

investment.

Canada experienced only a slight increase in its

rating, compared to two years earlier, when the

most

recent

round

of

corporate

tax

cuts

were

beginning

to

be

phased

in.

Cutting

corporate

tax

rates

is

clearly

an

ineffective

mechanism

to

increase

investment.

This

policy

has

failed

to pay sufficient dividends to justify its massive

cost. Providing adequate funding for post-secondary

education is well within the government’s reach,

and

will

do

far

more

to

guarantee

Canada’s

future

economic

success

than

reducing

the

government’s fiscal capacity through ineffective

tax cuts.

$13.7billion
annual cost to the government of planned corporate tax cuts by 2013

60%

of canadians believe that investments in social programs and reducing poverty and unemployment are higher priorities than tax cuts and deficit reduction.

There is... not enough revenue to pay for the programs and services Canadians cherish most; but that, is a political problem rooted in years of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
caNadIaN ceNtRe FoR poLIcY aLteRNatIves
alternative Federal budget 2010

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

fees are a barrier: let the income tax system do its job
100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 1978 1988 1998 2008
tuItIoN aNd otheR Fees goveRNmeNt FuNdINg

Since the federal funding cuts of the mid-nineties, the

responsibility

for

financing

post-secondary

education

has

been

downloaded

on

the

backs

of

students

and

their

families.

government

grants

as

share

of

university

operating

revenue

have

plummeted

to

nearly 50 percent in some provinces, down from over

80 percent less than three decades ago. This resulted

in the share of university budgets funded by tuition fees

more than doubling between 1988 and 2008, from 14

to 35 percent (Figure 1.1).

While government funding has been partially restored,

fee

increases

have

made

up

the

majority

of

the

difference. over the past fifteen years, tuition fees have

grown to become the single largest expense for most

university and college students, increasing significantly

faster than inflation and all other student costs (Figure

1.2). This is especially concerning, as studies have found

that

high

tuition

fees

limit

access

to

post-secondary

education

for

students

from

low-

and

middle-income

backgrounds.

figure 1.1: university operating revenue divided between tuition fees and government funding
tuItIoN Fees pubLIc tRaNspoRtatIoN Food INFLatIoN ReNt

Some

organisations

make

the

dubious

claim

that

university

graduates

will

earn

an

additional

$1

million

over their lifetime as a result of obtaining a university

degree

or

college

diploma.

This

mythical

$1

million

figure

has

been

thoroughly

debunked.

Research

has

found that most graduates are middle-income earners.

The

organisation

for

Economic

Co-operation

and

development

(oECd)

reports

that

male

graduates

earn only an additional $149,373 over their lifetime. The

return is substantially lower for female graduates who,

on

average,

earn

only

an

additional

$87,280.

given

that at least 70 percent of new jobs require a degree,

post-secondary

education

has

become

virtual

prerequisite

for

participation

in

the

labour

market,

not

guarantee of future wealth.

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%
2003 2004 2000 2005 2001 2001 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

The

most

equitable

way

to

finance

the

postsecondary

education

system

is

through

the

progressive income tax system, which recovers the

cost of an individual’s education many times over. in

addition, this system ensures that the wealthy and

Statistics

Canada

reports

that

students

from

low- poor

are

taxed

in

fair

manner,

reflective

of

their

income families are less than half as likely to participate

respective

ability

to

contribute

and

the

economic

in university than those from high-income households.

benefit obtained as a result of their education.

A survey conducted by the national statistical agency

Education costs are a source of significant unease

tallied

the

reasons

high

school

graduates

did

not

go

among

Canadians.

According

to

recent

Harris/ on to participate in post-secondary education. it found

decima poll, Canadians rank tuition fee reductions

that, by an overwhelming margin, the most frequently

as

the

top

priority

for

government

investment

reported reasons were financial. in

education.

The

same

poll

also

found

that

67

per

cent

of

Canadians—including

majority

of

Tuition fees act as a flat tax that is applied to all students

at the same rate, regardless of their financial resources.

Québec

residents—want

the

federal

government

The

argument

that

post-secondary

education

will

to

exercise

more

control

over

transfers

to

the

increase

student’s

long-term

earning

potential

is

provinces for post-secondary education. often

presented

as

an

argument

against

tuition

fee

regulation.

figure 1.2 tuition fees grow faster than all other student costs

canada’s post-secondarY education sYsteM

national leadership needed
The 2007 federal budget contained the largest

increase

to

core

transfer

payments

for

postsecondary education in fifteen years, increasing

transfer payments by $700 million. Although this

was the largest increase in recent memory, cash

transfer payments for post-secondary education

are still roughly $410 million short of 1992 levels

when

accounting

for

inflation

and

population

growth.

and

safety

risks

to

students

and

staff.

in

2009,

the Canadian Association of University Business

officers estimated that the total value of deferred

maintenance on Canadian campuses was more

than $5 billion, half of which is considered urgent,

a 35 percent increase in less than a decade.

The 2009 federal budget allocated $2 billion to

college

and

university

infrastructure.

However,

the

government

placed

conditions

on

the

funding, specifying that it only go to new projects

and

those

with

research-intensive

focus.

in

addition, the government required that provincial

governments or the private sector contribute at

least

fifty

percent

of

the

project’s

cost.

These

restrictions

prevented

the

funds

from

going

to

badly

needed

renovations,

resulting

in

the

high

levels

of

deferred

maintenance

going

unaddressed.

The

benefits

of

investing

in

higher

education

go

well

beyond

the

cost

of

direct

investment

in

teachers,

staff,

and

infrastructure.

highly

educated

workforce

increases

the

tax

base

and

reduces

the

cost

of

number

of

social

programs,

including

health

care,

public

safety

and

employment

insurance.

recent

report

by

the

oECd

found

that

the

direct

public

benefit

of

investing

in

post-secondary

education

was

in excess of $100,000 per individual: an amount

despite

the

substantial

reinvestment

in

postthat exceeds the costs by $62,141. secondary

education

in

recent

years,

the

Since

the

cuts

to

federal

transfers

payments

federal

government

has

actually

done

very

in

the

nineties,

the

quality

of

post-secondary

little to ensure that these investments will have

education

has

significantly

declined.

Class

their

desired

impact.

The

lack

of

regulations

sizes

have

increased

substantially,

while

at

the

governing

the

Canada

Social

Transfer

(CST)

same time institutions have pushed to casualise

is

only

symptom

of

broader

problem:

the

the

academic

workforce,

replacing

full-time

federal government has never outlined its vision

tenured

faculty

members

with

overworked

and

for Canada’s post-secondary education system.

inadequately compensated sessional instructors.

Without

such

vision,

federal

investments

will

Between 1990 and 2006, the ratio of students to

continue to be undermined and devalued.

full-time

faculty

members

increased

by

almost

40 percent.

University

and

college

budgets

have

become

strained

to

such

an

extent

that

deferred

maintenance has begun to pose serious health

Let’s be clear about the effect of unsustainable cost and the resulting debts on individual students...The lower the fees, the more egalitarian the society. The lower the fees, the more we are able to release the genius of the citizenry as a whole. And that genius, that collective unconscious is the key to a successful democracy.
JohN RaLstoN sauL

64%

of canadians believe that the cost of a post-secondary education is too high.

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

towards a postsecondary education act
Although the federal government is one of the

largest sources of funding for post-secondary

education, there is no mechanism to ensure

that

the

funds

transferred

to

provincial

governments, who administer education, are

actually spent on post-secondary education.

Under

previous

federal-provincial

funding

models,

the

provinces

had

to

match

the

federal

government’s

investments

in

order

to receive funding. if a provincial government

chose

to

cut

funding,

federal

transfers

were

reduced

by

proportionate

amount.

The

current

block-funding

model—with

funds

transferred

through

the

CST—has

no

requirement

that

provincial

governments

maintain

their

funding

in

order

to

receive

federal money.

transfers

intended

for

post-secondary

education. There

is

consensus

in

the

post-secondary

education sector that the current design of

transfer payment mechanisms is insufficient

to

meet

the

challenges

facing

Canada’s

post-secondary education system.

The federal government has a responsibility

to

ensure

equality

of

access

to

postsecondary

education

in

every

province.

despite

this,

the

barriers

facing

students

vary

greatly

from

province

to

province.

Students attending the Memorial University

of newfoundland pay fees that are less than

half those charged at dalhousie University.

Similarly

student

studying

law

at

Mcgill

University

pays

just

one-tenth

the

fees

There

have

been

numerous

examples

of

study pays to study law at the University of

provinces

receiving

federal

funds,

then

Toronto. reducing

their

funding

for

post-secondary

education.

For

example,

in

2008,

the

Although federal politicians often attempt to

government

of

British

Columbia

cut

deflect responsibility by claiming that postfunding

to

universities

by

$50

million

secondary

education

is

the

exclusive

in

the

same

year

that

it

received

over

domain

of

provincial

governments,

they

$110 million in new funding from the federal

are

only

partially

correct.

distinction

government.

The

federal

government

must

be

drawn

between

“jurisdiction”

and

must

accept

its

responsibility

to

ensure

“responsibility”. Education is constitutionally

that

federal

funds

for

social

programs

within the legislative jurisdiction of provincial

are

used

as

intended.

in

the

absence

of

governments. However, this assignment of

federal

oversight,

provincial

governments

legal

and

legislative

authority

should

not

have

been

free

to

misappropriate

federal

be

confused

with

the

responsibility

of

all

levels

of

government

to

coordinate

their

canada’s post-secondarY education sYsteM

behaviour in order to build the best system of post-secondary

to

improve

the

affordability

and

quality

of

post-secondary

education possible. education. Recently, all provincial governments have signed on

if

the

federal

government

is

to

play

role

in

reducing

socio- to the federally-initiated “Service delivery vision” for integrating

economic

inequality

and

increasing

global

competitiveness,

provincial and federal student loan and grants programs. provincial coordination is not an option, but rather a necessity.

The

federal

government

must

use

this

willingness

to

reach

an

Reductions in federal spending are only possible because of a

agreement on transfers for post-secondary education, in part by

lack of leadership. restoring

cash

transfer

levels

to

1992

levels.

Most

importantly,

Canada

has

solid

record

of

federal-provincial

collaboration,

the

federal

government

and

provincial

governments

must

where

federal

legislation

is

in

place

to

lend

structure

to

the

establish long-term objectives, including reducing tuition fees. relationship. Canada’s health care system is a living example of

how

governments

can

prioritise

the

needs

of

Canadians

over

jurisdictional debates.

With the increase in core funding announced in the 2007 federal

budget,

the

next

logical

step

is

to

adopt

federal

legislation

to

govern

the

funding

allocated

for

post-secondary

education.

Earmarking funding for post-secondary education, as has been

the case in recent federal budgets, is not enough.

The

Canadian

Federation

of

Students

and

the

Canadian

Association

of

University

Teachers

both

recommend

the

adoption of legislation or other binding forms of agreement that

would establish conditions for federal post-secondary education

transfers.

These

conditions

must

commit

the

provinces

to

upholding principles similar to those of the Canada Health Act.

Specifically,

the

act

should

be

based

on

principles

of

public

administration,

affordability,

comprehensiveness,

democratic

governance,

and

academic

freedom.

in

return

for

upholding

these

principles,

provincial

governments

would

receive

increased and stable funding from the federal government. Provincial governments have signalled that they are interested

in exploring further collaboration with the

federal

government

ecommendation 1
The federal government should, in cooperation with the provinces, implement a federal Post-Secondary Education Act, modeled after the principles of the Canada Health Act, accompanied by a dedicated cash transfer with funding allocated to: • Immediately restore per capita funding to 1992 levels; • Over three years, reduce tuition fees to 1992 levels; and • Over five years, eliminate deferred maintenance at Canada’s colleges and universities.

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

11

12 publiC eduCation, For the publiC good Canadian federation of students

education statistics

tracking success: collecting education statistics
Collectively the federal government and provincial governments

spend

billions

of

dollars

per

year

on

post-secondary

education,

but

adequate

information

to

fully

analyse

the

effectiveness

of

that spending is not collected. A 2006 report by the organisation

for Economic Cooperation and development (oECd) noted that

Canada could not provide data on 57 of the 96 indicators used

to compare countries with respect to post-secondary education.

Recently the Council of Ministers of Education has started to fund

some

collection

of

these

missing

statistics,

through

Statistics

Canada. However this is not a sustainable solution to the federal

government’s underfunding of the education branch of Canada’s

national statistical agency. youth

in

Transition

Survey

(yiTS)

and

the

national

Longitudinal

Survey

on

Children

and

youth.

These

studies

are

the

primary

sources of information on who pursues post-secondary education,

and

who

is

excluded

from

it.

They

provide

vital

information

on

students,

their

first

post-graduation

interaction

with

the

labour

market, and the relationship between education and employment.

The yiTS is critical to fulfilling Canada’s international commitment

to

provide

the

oECd

with

comparable

data

on

post-secondary

education.

Without

the

data

supplied

by

these

studies

it

is

impossible

for

governments to make informed decisions about post-secondary

education policies and priorities. The absence of this information

Canada

does

not

currently

collect

information

about

the

age

of

will also make it extremely difficulty to conduct further research

students when they enter or leave the post-secondary education

regarding the post-secondary education system.

system,

nor

is

data

collected

on

completion

rates

for

higher

While the costs to discontinuing research of this nature are great,

education

or

the

average

length

that

student

spends

in

the

the

amount

of

funding

necessary

to

properly

conduct

research

post-secondary system. in a more general sense, Canada lacks

on

students

and

the

post-secondary

system

is

extremely

small.

much of the data regarding both the inputs and outcomes of the

An increase of $10 million, less than three tenths of one percent

post-secondary education system. of

what

the

federal

government

spends

on

post-secondary

While

significant

number

of

students

attend

private

post- education, would establish the resources needed to carry out this

secondary

colleges,

these

institutions

lack

both

government

research. oversight and data collection regarding their operations. Private

colleges lack accountability and have been repeatedly found to

not

meet

basic

standards

regarding

quality

and

administration.

While Canada would be better off with a completely public postIncrease funding by $10 million to secondary education system, should private institutions continue

Statistics Canada’s branch for the to exist it is important that sufficient data is collected to monitor

collection and analysis of posttheir operations.

ecommendation 2
secondary education statistics.

in

May

2010,

the

department

of

Human

Resources

and

Skills

development Canada announced that it would cease funding the

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

13

students today: buried in debt
Canadians are making extraordinary sacrifices to

prepare

themselves

for

an

evolving

workplace.

Past

government

decisions

at

the

federal

and

provincial

levels

are

forcing

students

and

their

families to take on more education-related debt

than

any

previous

generation,

during

time

when

earnings

for

many

families

have

been

stagnant for the past twenty years. Skyrocketing tuition fees and the prevalence of

loan-based

financial

assistance

have

pushed

student

debt

to

historic

levels.

This

past

year,

almost 400,000 students were forced to borrow

to

finance

their

education.

Loans

disbursed

by

the

Canada

Student

Loans

Program,

less

those

that have been repaid, are increasing by nearly

$1 million dollars a day.

in

September

2010

the

total

amount

of

student

loans

owed

to

the

government

reached

$15

billion,

the

legislative

ceiling

set

by

the

Canada Student Financial Assistance Act.

in

response

the

government

altered

the

definition

of

“student

loan”

to

exclude

over

$1.5

billion

in

federal

student

debt.

Even

with

this

new

definition, it is expected that federal student debt

will

hit

the

legislative

ceiling

again

in

the

near

future.

in

addition,

the

$15

billion

figure

actually

only

accounts

for

portion

of

Canada’s

total

education-related

debt,

as

it

does

not

include

provincial and personal loans, lines of credit, and

credit card debt.

the impaCt of debt on students and soCiety Many

students

are

adverse

to

taking

on

the

high

levels

of

debt

that

are

required

to

afford

college

or

university

degree.

debt

aversion

is

the

personal

calculation

that

the

sacrifice

of

debt accumulation and repayment are not worth

the

risk

associated

with

the

costs

of

obtaining

degree

or

diploma.

Research

has

found

that

debt

aversion

is

strong

among

those

who

chose not to pursue post-secondary education.

of

the

70

percent

of

high

school

graduates

who

cite

financial

reasons

as

the

main

factor

in

not

attending

post-secondary

education,

for

one

in

four

accumulating

debt

was

the

biggest

deterrent.

in

addition,

students

from

marginalised

communities,

lower

income

backgrounds,

and

single

parents,

are

more

likely

to

hold

negative

feelings

about

accumulating

student

debt,

leading

to

additional

barriers

for

already

marginalised people.

Research

finds

that

debt

levels

have

direct

impact on success and retention. Students with

higher debt levels are far less likely to complete

their degree or diploma. After

graduation

student

debt

distorts

career

choice,

especially

for

professionals,

which

undermines

some

people’s

access

to

health

care

and

legal

aid.

Studies

of

medical

and

law

students

found

that

debt

levels

cause

these

students

to

seek

higher

paying

jobs

in

fields

“Student debt loads

have never been

higher... People

graduating with

$30,000 in student

loans on top of $5,000

in credit card debt...

The result is many

students fall into a hole

they can’t easily climb

out of.”
Laurie Campbell,

Executive director Credit Canada

amount that the canada student loans program expects to lend for the 2010-11 year.

$2.12billion $2.52billion

student debt in canada

[Canada Education Savings Grants]’s give scarce public funds to the wrong households... the CESG program should be discontinued.
KevIN mILLIgaN
ubc economist

[High levels of] Student debt are one of the primary effects of the move towards policy that downloads the costs of public education onto students and their families
aLteRNatIve FedeRaL budget 2010
canadian center for policy alternatives

approximate cost of education tax credits and savings schemes for the 2009-10 year.

or

regions

that

are

not

necessarily

their

first

choice.

Student

debt

appears

to

be

driving

committed

young

doctors

away

from

family

practice

and

young

lawyers

away

from

the

public

service

and

pro

bono work. High levels of debt also prevent individuals from starting

families, working in public service careers, purchasing a home, and

pursuing low paying or volunteer experience in a career related to

the field of study, often necessary to “get a foot in the door.” invest in effeCtive measures: grants not loans in

fall

2009,

the

Millennium

Scholarship

Foundation

was

replaced

with

publicly

accountable

federal

grant

program.

For

the

first

time

the

federal

government

has

the

mechanism

necessary

to

provide

direct

financial

assistance

to

students.

While

creating

the

Canada

Student

grants

Program

is

an

important

first

step,

in

order

to meaningfully reduce student debt, a larger investment in up-front

grants is required. Tax credits and savings schemes are by far the most expensive direct

federal measure for post-secondary education. The most recent data

indicates

that

the

total

cost

of

the

federal

government’s

tax

credits

and savings schemes will exceed $2.5 billion this year. despite their large price tag, federal tax expenditures are a very poor

instrument to either improve access to post-secondary education or

relieve student debt. All students qualify for tax credits, regardless of

financial need, thus diverting vast sums of public funding to families

who do not necessarily need the support.

This massive public expenditure, if offered as upfront grants, could

turn

every

dollar

loaned

by

the

Canada

Student

Loans

Program

(CSLP)

into

non-repayable

grant.

The

CSLP

expects

to

lend

approximately

$2.1

billion

during

the

2010-11

academic

year.

if

the

amount of money the federal government spent on savings schemes

and education related tax credits each year had been simply shifted

to

the

Canada

Student

grants

Program,

student

debt

owed

to

the

federal government could be eliminated.

ecommendation 3
Increase the value and number of non-repayable grants available to students by redirecting funds allocated to education-related tax credits and savings schemes to the Canada Student Grants Program, and allow graduate students to qualify for grants under the Program.

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

15

Improving the social and economic well-being of the Aboriginal population is not only a moral imperative; it is a sound investment which will pay substantial dividends in the coming decades. Aboriginal education must be a key component in any such effort..”
Centre for the study of living standards
2009 Research Report

keeping the promise: funding for aboriginal education
aboriginal learners Post-secondary

education

plays

vital

role

in

improving the standard of living and developing

more

equitable

society.

investments

in

post-secondary

education

provide

essential

improvements

to

the

well-being

of

Aboriginal

peoples and communities.

Canada’s Aboriginal population is growing at six

times

the

rate

of

the

non-Aboriginal

population.

According to the 2006 census, over one million

people,

roughly

four

percent

of

Canada’s

population, identified as Aboriginal. of these, 48

percent were under the age of 24. it is estimated

that

over

300,000

Aboriginal

youth

could

enter

the

labour

force

in

the

next

15

years

alone.

in

May

2009,

the

Centre

for

the

Study

of

Living

Standards

reported

that

closing

the

educational

gap

would

lead

to

an

additional

$179

billion

in

direct gdP growth, and over $400 billion in total

growth over the next 20 years. to

attend

post-secondary

education.

These

programs

were

clearly

successful.

in

1977-78,

only

3,600

students

received

support

to

attend

college or university; by 1999-2000, over 27,000

students

benefited.

despite

this

investment,

educational

attainment

levels

of

Aboriginal

peoples

remain

significantly

lower

than

the

overall population.

The

gap

in

participation

in

post-secondary

education

can

be

attributed

to

the

significant

and

complex

barriers

that

Aboriginal

students

face. Research has found that Aboriginal people

are

much

more

likely

to

be

debt-averse

and

more

reluctant

to

access

loan-based

programs

if they are in financial need. Aboriginal students

are

also

more

likely

to

enter

post-secondary

education

at

later

age,

which

makes

them

more

likely

to

have

dependents.

This

leads

to

higher

costs

such

as

childcare

and

relocation.

Additionally, approximately 20 percent of the First

nations’

population

is

unemployed,

including

staggering 41 percent of those in the 15-24 year

age group. This lack of access to work severely

limits financial resources for families to pay for the

rising costs of college or university.

$400billion

the potential gdp contribution of aboriginal canadians over the next twenty years if aboriginal education levels rose to match those of the general population.

[the] two percent increase to the overall [PSSSP] budget does not meet the increasing costs of tuition and other expenses, such as cost of living and books, and it has been recommended by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Affairs that it be eliminated for the PSE program
indian and northern affairs Canada
evaluation of the postsecondary education program

Education’s

place

as

right

for

Aboriginal

peoples

is

the

result

of

series

of

treaties

signed over the course of several decades and

recognised

in

Canada’s

Constitution.

However,

despite the clear economic and moral necessity

to

ensure

access

to

education

for

Aboriginal

A majority of Aboriginal peoples have aspirations

peoples,

funding

for

their

education

has

to

pursue

post-secondary

studies,

but

are

deterred by financial barriers, caused by a lack of

remained stagnant for more than a decade.

federal funding for post-secondary education.

in 1968, the department of indian and northern

Affairs

Canada

(inAC)

began

providing

direct

funding

for

First

nations

and

inuit

students

aboriginal education

funding for aboriginal eduCation

Currently,

the

federal

government

provides

financial assistance to status First nations and inuit

students

through

the

Post-Secondary

Student

Support Program (PSSSP). The PSSSP is meant to

facilitate access to post-secondary education and

alleviate the financial barriers faced by Aboriginal

According

to

the

Assembly

of

First

nations,

students

by

covering

the

costs

of

tuition

fees,

total

of

$545

million

is

required

to

ensure

that

no

Aboriginal

student

is

denied

access

to

postbooks, supplies, travel, and living expenses. Prior

to

1992,

funding

was

determined

by

the

secondary

education

due

to

financial

barriers,

number

of

eligible

students

and

their

expenses.

and that those students that are funded receive

Between

1992

and

1997,

the

model

shifted

an adequate level of support. As inAC currently

from

per-student

funding

to

block

funding.

in

provides $306 million, an additional $239 million

1996,

increases

in

funding

were

capped

at

two

would be required. An additional $208 million is

percent annually. As a result of this strict limit on

needed

to

address

the

roughly

19,000

students

increases,

funding

has

been

unable

to

keep

up

that

have

previously

been

denied

funding.

in

with increasing living costs, inflation and tuition fee

increases that averaged four percent this year. Prior

to

the

implementation

of

the

funding

cap

approximately

27,000

Aboriginal

students

received

financial

assistance.

By

2006,

the

number had fallen to just over 22,000. The lack

of funding has forced communities administering

the funds to make difficult decisions about who

receives

funding

each

year.

it

is

estimated

that

between 2001 and 2006, over 10,500 students

were

denied

funding,

with

roughly

3,000

more

students denied each year. due to the shortfall in

funding, priority is often given to shorter college

programs

to

the

detriment

of

more

expensive

professional or post-graduate programs of study.

Québec,

an

injection

of

$24

million

(in

addition

to $23 million to address the backlog) would be

required to meet the needs of Aboriginal students

in

that

province.

This

funding

would

support

total

of

36,382

students

across

Canada

and

roughly 4,000 in Québec. The funding disbursed

through

the

PSSSP

has

proven

track

record

for

those

who

can

access

it.

Most

Aboriginal

students who are able to access funding through

the

PSSSP

succeed

in

completing

their

studies

and

find

meaningful

work.

Regardless

of

their

place

of

residence,

the

majority

of

Aboriginal

graduates

return

to

work

in

their

communities

and are employed in their field of study, achieving

economic

self-reliance

and

helping

to

develop

healthy and stable communities.

ecommendation 4
Remove the funding cap on increases to the PostSecondary Student Support Program and ensure that every eligible First Nations and Inuit learner is provided adequate funding to attend post-secondary education.

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

17

funding for research and graduate studies

supporting research and innovation, investing in canadians
investment

in

graduate

studies

provides

the

foundation

for

long-term

innovation

and

trains

the highly skilled workers and researchers that

are

needed

to

respond

to

the

economic

and

social challenges Canada faces now and in the

future. However,

despite

Canada’s

relatively

high

level

of

university

graduation,

Canada

ranks

last

among

peer

countries

for

Phd

graduation

(Figure

5.3

on

next

page).

This

is

despite

dramatic

expansion

of

graduate

studies

over

the last ten years.

Enrolment

in

graduate

studies

increased

by

37.5

percent

between

1996

and

2006

(Figure

5.1). despite this, there have been only modest

funding

increases

to

the

federal

research

granting

councils

and

scholarships

that

make

graduate

education

affordable.

The

federal

government’s

lack

of

commitment

to

research

and

graduate

education

limits

the

number

of

masters

and

doctoral

students

that

can

be

funded, thus reducing the pool of highly skilled

researchers. in addition, these limits reduce the

quality

of

graduate

education

and

prevent

the

maximum utilisation of university research. Leading

up

to

the

2009

budget,

there

had

been

modest

improvements

to

research

funding

delivered

through

the

federal

granting

councils.

However,

the

tens

of

millions

of

dollars

in

cuts

contained

in

the

2009

budget

undermined the progress that had been made

towards

recovering

from

the

larger

cuts

of

the

1990s.

These

cuts

have

prevented

funding

for

university research from keeping pace with the

increases in graduate student enrolment. in

addition,

recent

federal

budgets

have

also

targeted

an

increasing

amount

of

research

funding

for

the

short-term

priorities

of

the

private sector, thus undermining basic research,

which leads to long-term innovation. The 2009

budget provided funding to the Social Sciences

and

Humanities

Research

Council

(SSHRC)

for

additional

Canada

graduate

Scholarships

(CgS), but directed they go to “business-related

degrees”.

Research

funded

by

the

natural

Science

and

Engineering

Research

Council

has

also

become

increasingly

directed

toward

government-prioritised sectors of the economy.

This

approach

of

directing

research

priorities

undermines

the

independence

and

peerreview

standards

within

Canada’s

research

community

and

has

earned

criticism

from

many in the scientific and research community.

Research

policy

of

this

nature

is

short-sighted

and guarantees that Canada will fail to take full

advantage of Canada’s world-class researchers. graduate

students

face

many

obstacles

that

include limited funding options, an increasingly

commercialised

and

restrictive

research

environment,

rising

tuition

fees,

no

access

to

needs-based grants, and high levels of student

debt from previous degrees. This year tuition

200,000 175,000 150,000 125,000 100,000 75,000 50,000 25,000 0

1998

2000

2002

figure 5.1: graduate enrolment

$8,000 $7,000 $6,000 $5,000 $4,000 $3,000 $2,000 $1,000 $0 1990 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 1992 1994 1996 1998

actuaL tuItIoN Fees INFLatIoN

figure 5.2: graduate tuition fees compared to inflation

2006

2008

2004

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

19

800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100
austRIa swItzeRLaNd austRaLIa swedeN FINLaNd NetheRLaNds IReLaNd u.s. geRmaNY NoRwaY deNmaRK beLgIum FRaNce JapaN ItaLY u.K. caNada

speNdINg $50 $40 $30 $20 $10 2003 2004 2006 2007 RetuRN oN INvestmeNt

The failure to fund world-class universities is one explanation for Canada’s comparative weaknesses in high-level academic achievement—and its associated weaknesses in innovation.
ConferenCe Board of Canada
education and skills Report card

figure 5.3 phd graduates
(Number of PhD graduates per 100,000 people, aged 25-29)

figure 5.4: return on investment in commercialisation
(In millions of dollars)

fees

for

graduate

students

increased

by

6.6

percent, to over $6,400 (Figure 5.2 on previous

page),

an

increase

that

is

nearly

50

percent

larger

than

increases

in

undergraduate

tuition

fees, and almost four times the rate of inflation.

introducing

commercialisation

into

university

research

discourages

corporate

investment

in

their own research facilities, which leads to fewer

employment

opportunities

for

researchers

in

an already difficult job market. The result of this

despite

their

significant

investment

of

time

and

restructuring

is

that

many

highly-skilled

workers

money,

recent

study

indicated

that

doctoral

are unable to contribute to their full potential. graduates

earn

little

more–and

in

some

Federal

funding

geared

towards

market

driven

instances

less–than

those

with

only

master’s

research

programs

has

resulted

in

the

private

degree.

sector relying on public universities for research

and

development

to

an

unhealthy

degree,

CommerCialisation of researCh thus

undermining

long-term

innovation.

This

The

drive

to

commercialise

university

research

corporate subsidy contributes directly to Canada

has

number

of

negative

consequences.

lagging

behind

peer

countries

in

private-sector

As

jobs

in

government

research

facilities

are

investment

in

research

and

development

and

becoming

increasingly

scarce,

and

universities

the products those labs produce.

are

replacing

tenure-track

professors

with

Canada has consistently ranked low on indexes

contract staff, graduates are having a harder time

that

measure

innovation.

The

World

Economic

finding employment in their field.

Forum’s

annual

competitiveness

report

again

ranked

Canada

poorly

with

regards

to

most

measures

of

innovation

this

year.

despite

being

placed

seventh

for

university-industry

collaboration

and

eighth

for

the

quality

of

scientific

research

institutions,

Canada

achieves

poor

grade

based

largely

on

lacking

private

sector

investment.

Canada

ranked

fourteenth

for

innovation

in

the

report,

behind

the

United

States,

Japan,

germany,

Sweden

and

Switzerland, amongst others. As

this

trend

deepens,

private

sector

research

and development infrastructure is giving way to

publicly-backed

university

system

that

does

not

have

consistent

track-record

of

bringing

innovations to the marketplace.

Since the late 1990s, a number of initiatives have

been

undertaken

to

transform

public

university

20 publiC eduCation, For the publiC good Canadian federation of students

funding for research and graduate studies

infrastructure to meet the government’s commercialisation objectives,

of funding and support for graduate students, Canada’s research and

such

as

requiring

publicly

funded

research

to

seek

direct,

private- innovation capacity will continue to fall behind that of other countries.

An investment in graduate students will help produce the highly skilled

sector investment. Commercialised

university

research

is

geared

towards

producing

workers that Canada needs to compete in the global economy. products

that

can

yield

short

term

results,

with

little

consideration

to

Students

often

enter

graduate

programs

with

substantial

debt

from

long-term

innovation.

As

research

funding

is

increasingly

directed

in

their

previous

degree.

However,

there

are

currently

no

need-based

grants

available

to

graduate

students

from

the

federal

government.

this way, basic research and long-term innovation are undermined.

Recent increases in funding for the federal research granting councils,

Students

from

lower

income

families

have

harder

time

affording

especially

those

resources

dedicated

to

graduate

students,

have

graduate studies without the need-based grants that they would have

disproportionately

benefited

applied

research

programmes

that

are

had

access

to

in

their

undergraduate

degrees.

in

the

absence

of

designed

to

pursue

commercialised

agenda

over

basic,

curiosity- grants program, Canada will continue to lose the most highly qualified

people

to

the

labour

market

before

they

finish

their

training

based

driven research. purely on individual finances. The

encroachment

of

the

private

sector

into

universities

undermines

the

independence

of

the

academy,

since

money

for

research

is

Canada

graduate

Scholarships

(CgS)

provide

merit-based

funding

increasingly

tied

to

entities

outside

the

normal

academic

program.

directly

to

graduate

students.

These

scholarships

are

administered

These corporations can wield power over decisions that are normally

through

the

granting

councils

and

are

one

of

the

main

mechanisms

left

to

the

research

community,

such

as

investment

in

maintenance,

for the federal government to graduate studies. The limited number of

research facilities or new buildings. The research community can also

scholarships available has meant that many of the best and brightest

come under pressure from private interests that fund research to not

researchers

are

unable

to

maximise

their

potential.

increasing

the

report

results

that

are

against

the

economic

interests

of

the

private

number of CgSs would help promote graduate research and ensure

funding source. despite the fact that the shift to an increasingly private

that graduate students have the resources to focus on their research,

funding

model

threatens

the

independence

of

university

research,

which will pay long-term dividends for Canada’s research capacity and

there

is

currently

no

whistle-blower

protection

for

graduate

students

innovation. who wish to report research misconduct. graduate student funding Although in recent years there have been small increases to funding

for the granting councils, they have never fully recovered from the cuts

of the 1990s. despite the fact that funding has failed to keep pace with

the

rising

enrolment

of

graduate

students,

the

2009

federal

budget

cut $148 million from the granting councils. This came at a time when

most

countries

were

investing

heavily

in

their

university

research

capacity. Funding

for

discovery-type

grants

in

the

social

sciences

and

humanities lags far behind the applied sciences. Without proper levels

ecommendation 5
Increase the number of Canada Graduate Scholarships to 3,000 – consistent with average growth in the program since 2003 – to be distributed proportionally among the research councils according to enrolment figures.

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

21

post-secondary education: a necessary investment
With

an

annual

investment

of

$2.7

billion,

and

the

adoption

of

post-secondary

education

act,

the

federal

government can stop the shift towards a privatised user-pay model. investing in post-secondary education is

not an option, but a necessity. it would pay substantial dividends for the economy and ensure that everyone in

Canada, including Aboriginal peoples, can benefit from higher education.

cost of proposals
(amounts in millions)

Creation of new Pse transfer inCrease to Pse transfer addressing deferred maintenanCe reduCe tuition fees to 1992 levels inCrease funding for aBoriginal eduCation Clear BaCklog of funding for aBoriginal eduCation inCrease funding to statistiCs Canada Centre for eduCation statistiCs inCrease the numBer of Canada graduate sCholarshiPs to 3000 inCrease in grants (less savings from eliminated tax Credits and savings sChemes)

0 410 1,000 799 245 208 10 25 0 note 3 note 1 note 2

$
FUnding To REMAin AT $1 BiLLion PER yEAR FoR FivE yEARS AMoUnT To inCREASE To $1.59 BiLLion in yEAR TWo, And 2.39 BiLLion

in yEAR THREE, And FoR EvERy yEAR THEREAFTER

onE TiME CoST

2,697
note 1 note 2 note 3

22 publiC eduCation, For the publiC good Canadian federation of students

costing of recoMMendations and further reading

for further reading...
the

facts

about post-secondary education

Local•Section 1281

Strategy for Change:

Fall 2009 Canadian Federation of Students www.cfs-fcee.ca

Money Does Matter

Post-Secondary Education Tax Credits
Billions in Misdirected “Financial Aid”
the number of months enrolled in post-secondary education multiplied by $65 for full-time students and $20 for full-time As defined by the federal government’s Department of students. Finance, tax expenditures include “exemptions, deductions, rebates, deferrals and credits” that serve “to advance a wide Scholarship, fellowship and bursary tax credit: all range of economic, social, environmental, cultural and other amounts received for post-secondary scholarships, fellowships and bursaries exempt from tax, where these public policy objectives”. amounts are received in connection with enrolment in a Since the mid-1990s, federal governments have increasingly program for which the student can claim the education tax favoured tax expenditures over directly allocated student credit financial assistance. In total, Registered Education Savings federal tax expenditures for Plans: Contributions to post-secondary students have Figure 1. Each year, the federal government spends more on Registered Education Savings education related tax breaks for families earning over $70,000 grown from $566 million in Plans (RESPs) grow tax-free until than it does on needs based grants. 1996 to more than $2.4 billion the time that they are withdrawn, in 2009.1 This represents a 431% at which point the saved amount Tax Credits Transferred increase and more than seven is taxable as income for the to High Income Earners times the amount the federal beneficiary. For more information, government’s granting program see the Canadian Federation of $432M will distribute in student Students’ factsheet on the RESP financial aid. program at www.cfs-fcee.ca. $345M The collection of tax All of the post-secondary tax expenditures offered by the Low- and Middle-Income credits can be used either by the federal government for postCanada Student Grants student or transferred to a family secondary education fall into member. Registered Education two categories: tax credits for Saving Plans are, in the vast expenses that have already been majority of cases, established by parents for their children’s incurred; and tax deductible savings plans to be used for future education costs. future education costs.

CANADA POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT

LOI CANADIENNE SUR L’ENSEIGNEMENT POSTSECONDAIRE

Background

BILL C-X
An Act relating to post-secondary education objectives and to cash contributions by Canada in respect of post-secondary education under provincial administration and to amend certain Acts in consequence thereof.

PROJET DE LOI C-X
Loi concernant les objectifs de l’enseignement postsecondaire et les contributions pécuniaires versées par le Canada au titre de l’enseignement postsecondaire de compétence provinciale et modifiant d’autres lois en conséquence.

Public Risk Private Gain
An introduction to the commercialisation of university research
2009 National Graduate Caucus Canadian Federation of Students

As proposed by the Canadian Association of University Teachers

Proposé par l’Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université

2007

2007

An alternative for accessible, high-quality post-secondary education

National Office • Bureau national 338 rue Somerset Street West / Ouest Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0J9 (613) 232-7394 www.cfs-fcee.ca

Canadian Federation of Students October 2007

Education Tax Credit: Students may claim a 16% tax credit for the accrued “education amount”. The education amount is equal to the number of months enrolled in post-secondary education multiplied by $400 for full-time students and $120 for part-time students. Tuition Fee Tax Credit: Students may claim a 16% tax credit for tuition fees and ancillary fees paid. In 1987, it became possible to transfer this credit to a spouse, parent, or grandparent. As of 1997, this credit may be carried forward for application in future tax returns. Student Loan Interest Tax Credit: Students may claim a 16% tax credit for the interest paid in a year during repayment of a Canada Student Loan and provincial student loan. Textbook Tax Credit: Students may claim a 16% tax credit for the assigned “textbook amount”. The amount is equal

A Poor Approach to Reducing Student Debt

The non-refundable education and tuition fees tax credits have been the most widely used and expensive federal tax measures for post-secondary education. In the 2007 tax year, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 2,688,240 claims were filed for the education, tuition fee and student loan interest credits, costing the federal government almost $1.8 billion in foregone tax revenue.2 This massive public expenditure, if offered as upfront grants, could have almost eliminated the need for students to borrow. For example, the Canada Student Loans Program expects to lend roughly $2.2 billion during the 2009-10 academic year.3 In other words, if the amount of money the federal government spent on education related tax credits this year had been shifted to the “front-end” in the form of grants through the Canada Student Grants Program,

a Primer on the CommerCialisation of university researCh

strategy for Change: an alternative ProPosal for student finanCial assistanCe

faCt sheet: Post-seCondary eduCation tax Credits

Post-seCondary eduCation aCt Canadian assoCiation of university teaChers www.caut.ca/uploads/pseact-2007.pdf

the

facts

Local•Section 1281

about post-secondary education

Fall 2009 Canadian Federation of Students www.cfs-fcee.ca

FUNDING FOR POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION

TUITION FEES IN CANADA

Student Employment
Introduction
Employment is an important source of income for students. According to Statistics Canada, income from employment held during the current academic year was the second most commonly used source of funding after personal savings. In fact, 63% of students age 20-24 relied on employment to finance their education and over 25% cited income from current employment as their most important source of funding.1 Studies have found that working a significant number of hours (over 20 per week) while in school has a negative impact on academic success. Roughly 60% of university students who worked during the year reported that it had a negative impact on their academic performance. One in four of these students rated the impact as significant. 9, 10 Working during the year also decreases a student’s likelihood of finishing their degree. Statistics Canada’s Youth in Transition study found that, “working at all and working more hours both have a negative effect on persistence”.11 While employment can help a student gain work experience and pay for expenses, students who work over 20 hours a week and rely on employment to pay for the increasing cost of their education find themselves at a disadvantage. As tuition fees and other costs continue to rise, more and more students are finding little choice but to take on more work.

Work and Academic Success

Although there are several reasons that students are increasingly combining work with school, rapidly increasing tuition fees are most likely the biggest factor. Undergraduate tuition fees in Canada have increased almost 300% from an average of $1,706 in 1991-92 to $4,917 in 2009-10.2 International students are often charged tuition fees of up to $15,000 per year, and some professional students in excess of $25,000. Tuition fees have grown to become the single largest expense for most post-secondary students. The 2006 College Student Survey (CSS) asked Canadian college students why they worked. A majority said that they worked to “pay for necessities” while another 10 percent said they worked to “pay for school or school-related debt”. Today, one in four college and university students depend on working to make ends meet.

Summer Employment

During the 2008-09 year, 48% of full-time students between the ages of 20 and 24 worked during the school year, compared to just 26.6% of their counterparts in 1976.4 Part-time students worked even more, with 91% of those between the ages of 20-29 being employed during the course of their degree.5 The number of full-time students working more than 35 hours per week has almost doubled over the past two decades.6 Full-time students who work do so an average of 15 hours per week, while part-time students work more than 30 hours per week. Over the course of their degree an increasing number of students rely on employment, with over 50% more students working during the last year of their degree than their first.7

Working during studies

In summer 2009 student unemployment rose to over 20%, the second highest rate ever recorded. The combination of students having less savings from summer work, family’s savings and income being diminished as a result of the economic downturn and students facing higher tuition fees than ever before has resulted in one-third of college and university students saying they will run out of money by the end of the Fall semester.12 More than 4 in 10 students rely on earnings from summer employment to pay for their tuition fees and living costs. For these students, savings from summer work account for over one-third of their money for the year.

The Summer Canada Career Placement Program
The Summer Career Placement Program was created by the federal government in the mid-nineties to help students find summer employment and get careerbuilding work experience. The Program is a partnership between employers and the federal government in which the government subsidises private, public and non-profit employers to hire students over the summer. In 1996, a study done by the government found that nearly 7 in 10 participating employers would not have hired a student without the program, which indicates that the program created summer employment for over 50,000 students.

Female students report working more than their male counterparts. In 2008, female students were 25 % more likely to be employed during the academic year. 8

CA NAD I A N F E D E RAT I O N O F ST U D E N TS

C A N A D I A N F E D E RAT I O N O F ST U D E N TS

faCt sheet: funding for PostseCondary eduCation

faCt sheet: tuition fees

faCt sheet: student emPloyment

effeCts of tuition fees hugh mCkenzie www.ocufa.on.ca

publications of the canadian federation of students
All publications are available for download at www.cfs-fcee.ca

related publications

Canadian federation of students a national viSion For poSt-SeCondary eduCation

23

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24

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