Raising Tuition Fees Reduces Access

MONTREAL, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The Montreal Economic Institute demonstrated its complete lack of understanding of post-secondary education policy this morning by using previously debunked data in favour of university tuition fee increases in Québec.

"The Institute is more interested in politics than facts," said David Molenhuis, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Other provinces and countries have experimented with deregulated tuition fees and the result has always been the same: decreased access, lower quality education and record levels of student debt."

The issue of financing higher education is at the centre of discussion on the future of Canada's economic recovery and international competitiveness. A growing number of people in the academic community, the corporate sector and governments are supportive of implementing tuition fee regulation to address accessibility.

The Institute's position that lower tuition fees do not improve access relies on a misreading of the participation rates in Québec. It ignores the success of the Québec CEGEP system that does not charge tuition fees. The province has much higher levels of participation at the college level than the rest of the country. In addition, the freeze in Québec has ensured that their graduates have the lowest average debt in the country compared to those graduating with mortgage-sized debts in other provinces.

"The universal access model for the college system in Québec is immensely successful and allows everyone to participate regardless of economic circumstance," added Molenhuis. "Levying flat taxes on Québec families through higher university tuition fees will reduce participation rates and fuel inadequate government funding."

In Newfoundland and Labrador the effect of lower tuition fees has been pronounced. Prior to the introduction of tuition fee reductions and freezes in Newfoundland and Labrador, university enrolment, high school graduation and population overall had been declining. Since then university enrolment has increased by close to 13%.

Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students from ten provinces.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: For further information: David Molenhuis, National Chairperson, (613) 232-7394

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