Tuition fees increase in most provinces: Students call for federal leadership on education

OTTAWA, Sept. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - Tuition fees for university students increased to record levels in most provinces according to data released today by Statistics Canada. This year's undergraduate tuition fees increased by 4.3% to an average of $5,366.

"Students are now confronted with higher tuition fees than ever before," said Roxanne Dubois, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Tuition fees are the main barrier to post-secondary education."

Canada remains one of few countries without a national framework for post-secondary education. The disparity in fees is most prevalent between students in Ontario, paying over 2.5 times as much as students in Newfoundland and Labrador. Further, in a recent poll conducted by the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Association of University Teachers 83% of Canadians support reducing or freezing tuition fees.

"Lack of leadership at the federal level on post-secondary education is undermining access and causing huge disparities in up-front costs between provinces," said Dubois. "Most people agree that Canada's future socio-economic health depends on a well-funded, accessible system of post-secondary education. The federal government needs to step in to stop the increases to this public service user-fee."

Last year, the Canadian Federation of Students launched the Education is a Right campaign calling on the federal government to recognize the importance of adequately funding education and to adopt a post-secondary education act. Much like the Canada Health Act ensures access to basic health care for all Canadians, a post-secondary education act would create guidelines for federal funding and set an obligation to reduce tuition fees.

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organization. It is composed of over 75 university and college students' unions with a combined membership of over one-half million students.

Image with caption: "According to a poll commissioned by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Canadian Federation of Students in April 2011, 83 per cent of the public indicated that university and college tuition fees should be reduced or frozen at current levels while only 13 per cent agreed that tuition fees should increase. The poll is accurate to within +/-2.2 per cent. (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Students)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110916_C4022_PHOTO_EN_3372.jpg

Image with caption: "Since 1991 tuition fees have increased well above the rate of inflation. Had university tuition fees for domestic undergraduate students increased at the rate of inflation beginning in 1991 average tuition fees in Canada would be approximately $2,130, well below the current average of $5,366. (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Students)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110916_C4022_PHOTO_EN_3373.jpg

Image with caption: "Statistics Canada reports that average tuition fees for domestic undergraduate university students have increased by 4.3% to $5,366. Provinces set different tuition fee policies in the absence of a federal framework for affordable post-secondary education. This figure outlines the comparative change in average undergraduate tuition fees in each province from the previous year. To view the entire Statistics Canada report visit: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/110916/dq110916b-eng.htm (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Students)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110916_C4022_PHOTO_EN_3374.jpg

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information:

Roxanne Dubois, National Chairperson, office: 613-232-7394, mobile: 613-816-7486 email: chair[at]cfs-fcee.ca


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