TORONTO, March 10 /CNW/ - A report released today by the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario shows that rising tuition fees and student debt disproportionately affect visible minority students. The report concludes that this trend demonstrates the structural discrimination that is built into Ontario's high fees, high debt system of post-secondary education.
"Visible minority students are more likely to come from low-income backgrounds, they accumulate more debt and they earn less after graduation, so they take longer to pay off their loans and pay more for their higher education through compound interest," said Hamid Osman, Ontario Representative of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Education is supposed to be the great social equaliser but for many racialised students, high tuition fees and student debt help to perpetuate inequality."
The report compares average incomes, rates of poverty, post-graduate earnings and debt repayment between racialised and non-racialised students in order to evaluate the additional burden of tuition fees and student debt on visible minorities. The report finds that tuition fees eat up between 15 and 21 percent of the average earnings of visible minority people-four percent more than it does for non-visible minorities. It also found that higher student debt levels and lower post-graduate earnings conspire to mean that racialised people pay more, on average, for their education than do non-racialised people.
"Many of the racialised students who are fortunate enough to attend college or university are the first in their families to get a higher education and they have to make bigger sacrifices to get where they are," said Vickita Bhatt, Ontario Constituency Commissioner and Vice-President Equity of the University of Toronto at Mississauga Students' Union. "Ontario needs to level the playing field for low-income and racialised students by reducing student debt and tuition fees."
"Record-high student debt levels make graduate studies impossible to access for many willing and qualified racialised students," said Kimalee Phillip, Chairperson of the Ontario Graduate Caucus and President of the Carleton Graduate Students' Association. "McGuinty's plan to create an 'Open Ontario' has to include measures to reduce systemic discrimination and create educational opportunities for everyone to succeed in our economy and our society-not just the privileged."
The Racialised Impact of Tuition Fees was released just two days following the Ontario Throne Speech and weeks in advance of a much-anticipated announcement of a new funding framework for post-secondary education in Ontario. A full copy of the report is available for download at www.cfsontario.ca and a summary is linked to this release (http://files.newswire.ca/485/ExectiveSummary.pdf).
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000 college and university students studying at public post-secondary institutions across Ontario.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario
For further information: For further information: Hamid Osman, Ontario Representative of the CFS: (647) 448-2823 or (416) 925-3825; Kimalee Phillip, Ontario Graduate Caucus Chairperson: (613) 261-3231