Thousands Take Action, Demand Free Education Now!

Rallies and events in 36 cities and towns organized by students from 54 campuses

OTTAWA, Nov. 2, 2016 /CNW/ - Thousands of students and supporters are taking part in rallies and actions in cities across the country as part of the Canadian Federation of Students' campaign for free education.

"Today students are taking action because we know that education is a right," said Bilan Arte, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, "We have a vision of post-secondary education where our colleges and universities are fully funded, where all campus workers are paid fairly, and where students can focus on learning without the burden of student debt. Our vision of post-secondary education is one without tuition fees."

Today's actions are part of a broader campaign launched in June 2016 for free post-secondary education for all students, including graduate students and international students and marks the first time since 2012 students have organized a national Day of Action. Students are calling on both federal and provincial governments to immediately take steps to eliminate tuition fees, address mounting student debt and increase funding for Indigenous students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP).  

Decades of underfunding have resulted in significant tuition fee increases, with few exceptions, across the country. Today, undergraduate students pay an average of $6,373 while graduate students pay an average of $6,703. International students pay much higher fees, often up to 3.7 times that of domestic students. International undergraduate students pay an average of $23,589 while international graduate students pay an average of $15,009. Underfunding has also led to larger class sizes, a reliance on contract instructors, and a shift to corporate funding.
"Our government and university and college administrators can no longer ignore the crisis in education– we simply won't let them," said Arte. "The historic coalition of students, workers, and communities will continue to push Canada forward until we win free education for all students."

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's oldest and largest students' union, uniting more than 650,000 college and university students in the demand for high-quality, public, post-secondary education.

Quick Facts:

  • From 2001-2014, revenues from tuition fees at colleges more than doubled (a 214 percent increase); and from 2000-2015, revenues from tuition fees at universities nearly tripled (a 268 percent increase). Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM 477-0060 (2016).
  • Government funding for post-secondary education makes up less than half of our 'public' college and university institutions' operating revenues, falling from 82.7 percent in 1982 to 48.9% in 2013-2014. Source: Parliamentary Budget Officer, Statistics Canada.
  • In 2012, the last year for which data is available, public student loan debt was $28 billion, not accounting for private loans. Source: Statistics Canada, Survey of Financial Security (February 24, 2014). In 2016-2017, it's projected that $2,800,000,000 in new loans will be issued. Source: Canada Student Loans Program
  • The Postsecondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) was created to help Indigenous Nations fund post-secondary students, but due to a 2 percent funding cap that has been in place for 20 years the number of students funded through the program has steadily declined by 18.3 percent since 1997 despite First Nations Population growth of 29 percent. Source:
  • In 2016-17 the federal government expects to write off $187 million in student loans that have defaulted. Source: Canada Student Loans Program
  • In 2011, 42 percent of Canadians between 20-29 years old lived in their parents' homes, up from 27 percent in 1981.15. Source: Anne Milan, Diversity of Young Adults Living With Their Parents, (Statistics Canada: June 15, 2016).
  • In 2013-14, approximately 750.000 students and graduates were paying back federal student loans. Of that, over 234,000 relied on repayment assistance which requires reporting pre-tax incomes of less than $20,000 per year. Source: Government of Canada, Canada Student Loan borrowers get additional loan repayment relief (October 2016)
    • 2012-2013, 203,887 graduates couldn't make a single payment on their Canada Student Loans and this claim requires reporting pre-tax incomes of less than $20,000 per year.


SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: English: Sarah McCue, Communications Coordinator, at 1-613-797-6626 (cellular), or; French: Geneviève Charest, Communications, at 1-613-704-2318 (cellular)


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