Students harmed by increasing tuition fees



    OTTAWA, Oct. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Statistics Canada's university tuition
study was released this morning, demonstrating once again a steady increase in
tuition fees across the country. While the study states a "smaller increase"
than last year, with a 2.8 percent boost on average, this further increase to
the cost of higher education poses serious problems for students in Canada who
are already faced with debilitating tuition fees.
    "Ultimately, any increase in tuition fees is a huge problem for
post-secondary students in Canada," said Zach Churchill, National Director of
the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. "This is especially a problem
for students with high financial need and students from low income
backgrounds, who already have serious troubles accessing a post-secondary
education. This issue, along with the rising cost of compulsory fees, will
without a doubt harm the aspirations of all current and prospective students."
    It is with grave concern that CASA calls on the federal and provincial
governments to respond immediately to Statistics Canada's findings and assert
a leadership role in addressing this issue. It is crucial that the government
make it a priority to increase funding for post-secondary education across
Canada and recognize the importance of financial aid for students in need. In
particular, students are demanding that the Federal Government address the
looming hole in Canada's student financial aid system that will occur with the
expiration of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation in 2009.
    "The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is the most efficient and
valuable tool for students in need of financial assistance," said Churchill.
"Students depend on the Foundation's assistance and the government's lack of
vision and urgency in regard to the renewal of the Foundation is alarming."
    With full-time undergraduate students paying an average price tag of
$4,524 annually, students face additional financial barriers each year. This
year, students in the provinces of New Brunswick, Québec and Ontario are
confronted with the largest increase in tuition fees. The dismaying rate at
which tuition fees differ between each province shows that students in Canada
are compelled to consider the drastic discrepancies when choosing their
institution.
    Increasing tuition means that students are forced to take on more debt.
This can have adverse affects on their ability to complete their programs, and
also their ability to participate meaningfully in the economy upon their
graduation.
    CASA is demanding that the government develop a national strategy for
post-secondary education, to ensure affordable, accessible and quality
post-secondary education for all qualified students in the country.

    The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is a not-for-profit
national student organization, offering progressive, common sense education
reform solutions.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jillian Flake, Public Relations and Communications Officer, Canadian Alliance
of Student Associations, (613) 236-3457 ext. 224, cell: (613) 868-6605,
casacomm@casa.ca

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Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

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