THUNDER BAY – As students head back to college and university, the cost of education is on the minds of many young people. Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario states that “After facing a summer of criticism for higher sales taxes and new user fees, McGuinty’s planned tuition fee increases demonstrate that his government is unwilling to learn from its mistakes.
The CFS says that new and returning students who are struggling to broaden their opportunities in the faltering economy will have to struggle harder this fall as record-high tuition fees climb past $6,000 for undergraduate students and $9,000 for graduate students.
“This fall, post-secondary education students will be billed for an additional $250 to $700 in fees at a time when youth unemployment remains unabated and new consumer taxes have inflated their monthly living expenses,” said Sandy Hudson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.
As a result of high fees, students across Canada collectively owe $15 billion to the Government of Canada and billions more to the Government of Ontario. This excludes money that is owed to banks and credit card companies. McGuinty’s decision last March to increase allowable student debt combined with this year’s fee increases of 4 to 8 percent will continue to drive cumulative debt upwards.
“Dalton McGuinty’s strategy for managing the economy appears to rely on downloading government funding responsibilities onto students and their families,” said Hudson. “Using debt to justify higher upfront costs is irresponsible, short-sighted and will deepen the economic divide in Ontario while miring graduates in unmanageable debt.”
“For someone who boasts that he is the ‘Education Premier,’ Dalton McGuinty has shown a surprising lack of leadership in expanding affordability or quality in post-secondary education,” said Hamid Osman, Ontario Representative to the Canadian Federation of Students. “In the year leading up to the 2011 Ontario election, students will be reminding voters about the government’s poor track record on education.”