Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Is Tuition Really THAT Unreasonable in Ontario?

E-mail from the student federation at my university:
In May of this year, student representatives from across the country voted to call a national day of action in 2012 to demonstrate Canada-wide support for a national vision for higher education. This means on February 1, 2012 students from Victoria to St. John's will be taking to the streets to demand reductions in tuition fees, greater investment in college and university education and measures to alleviate student debt.

Is tuition really THAT bad? I did some calculations and on a bad year, it'll be 8k a year including textbooks. Minimum wage (10.25) for 20 hours a week, for the rest of the year will earn someone roughly 9000 dollars after tax returns and all that crap for students. Now, you factor in that minimum wage isn't even mandatory - there are plenty of student jobs that pay 12/hour at the very least. That comes to around $11000 dollars after tax returns. So that gives students more than enough spending money. If they want even more spending money, they can find plenty of jobs that'll pay 15/hour. Or they could even find a higher-paying job, work less, and still afford this "insane tuition" (which, by the way, is 10000 - ~50000 a year in the United States).

On top of all this, it seems like people forget that OSAP is a privilege; not something that we're entitled to. If you can't work and focus on school at the same time, then the government's nice enough to give you an interest-free until you graduate. I'd even go so far as saying that being able to go to a university in another city isn't something that we're entitled to get a loan for.

WTF gives? Are students just whiny little babies, or am I missing something here?


  1. It's not as easy as you make it.

  2. It was never supposed to be. I guess I'm just finding it hard to take a rally against rising (already-subsidized) tuition fees seriously when people are participating with a starbucks coffee in hand.

    I know very few people who aren't paying for their own education without struggling - and that's why OSAP's available. Thankfully, we've got loan programs in place for people that need them - the problem is that people who don't need them are taking them too. But I guess there's more than one issue at hand here...

  3. OSAP is not enough to cover EVERYTHING though. Some people are not eligible to apply. Loan programs have preliminary assessments before they get released. And in turn, people don't always get the help they need.

    If we don't resist it, who's to say they won't keep raising tuition fees in the near future? $6000+ per year IS a lot, x 4 = roughly around $24000 in debt post grad. Who wants to start off a life like that? Granted, student jobs are available and yes in an ideal world, working for $15 would be available for everyone. But unfortunately, that's not the case.

  4. This, I know. I didn't qualify either because I worked part-time. The system's designed in a way for you to be a broke student in debt, or one who isn't in debt but still broke. There are pros & cons to whichever route you decide to take, but my point is that it can be done with a part-time job. Some can even be done while working full time if you're motivated enough and are good with your time management (this is what I did because I hated being broke).

    There are thousands of canadian scholarships that go unclaimed every year. There are also plenty of bursaries for the people who aren't economically well-off. It's also very easy to get an on-campus job (because they use your OSAP profile to figure out whether you're eligible).

    It depends how you see University. Is it really a right or a privilege? First off, it's already heavily subsidized by the government. So their increasing tuition isn't really increasing it per se, they're decreasing the subsidy (which is the amount that that they're already helping us with).

    If the goal is to get a job, it actually makes more sense to go to college - you'd also be spending a little over half the amount that you would in university. You can then upgrade when your foot's in the door. For a lot of fields, you're more likely to get a job graduating from college with experience than having a generic degree with no experience.

    A $15 dollar job isn't hard to find and if I know you personally, I'll help you find one, help you with your resume, teach you how to interview well, and get you that job. You wouldn't be the first person that I've helped. You're not gonna get a job that pays the minimum if you're just like everybody else - you need to set yourself apart to get paid a premium.



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