PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD - a national vision for Canada's post-secondary education system

 
PUBLIC
                                                                         EDUCATION
public education for the public good • Canadian federation of students

                                                                         FOR THE
                                                                         PUBLIC GOOD
                                                                         a national vision for Canada’s
                                                                         post-secondary education system

                                                                                Canadian federation
                                                                                of students
Canadian Federation
of Students
338 Somerset Street West
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0J9
Tel:		    (613) 232 7394
Fax:      (613) 232 0276
E-mail:   web@cfs-fcee.ca
Web:      www.cfs-fcee.ca

This report is available
in digital form on the
Federation’s website at
www.cfs-fcee.ca
The Canadian Federation of Students
With over 600,000 members, represented by more than 80 students’ unions in all ten provinces, the Canadian Federation of Students is the
voice of post-secondary students in Canada. The Federation and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since
1927. The Federation represents full- and part-time students at the college, undergraduate, and graduate levels.

British                     Prairies                   Ontario                     Ontario                    Ontario                      Québec                      Newfoundland
Columbia                    Alberta College of Art     Algoma University           (cont’d)                   (cont’d)                     Concordia Student Union     and Labrador
University of British       and Design Students’       Students’ Union             McMaster University        Trent Central Student        Concordia University        Grenfell Campus Student
Columbia Students’          Association                Association général des     Graduate Students’         Association                  Graduate Students           Union
Union Okanagan              Brandon University         étudiantes et étudiants     Association                                             Association                 Marine Institute Students’
                                                                                                              Society of Graduate
Camosun College             Students’ Union            du Collège Boréal           Nipissing University       Students of the              Dawson Student Union        Union
Student Society             Graduate Students’         Brock University            Student Union              University of Western                                    Memorial University of
                                                                                                                                           Post-Graduate Students’
Capilano Students’          Association of the         Graduate Students’          Ontario College of Art     Ontario                      Society of McGill           Newfoundland Students’
Union                       University of Calgary      Association                 and Design Student         Wilfrid Laurier University   University                  Union
Douglas Students’ Union     First Nations University   Carleton University         Union                      Graduate Students’                                       Graduate Students’
                            of Canada Students’        Students’ Association       Student Federation of      Association                                              Union of the Memorial
Emily Carr Students’        Association                Carleton University         the University of Ottawa   University of Windsor        Maritimes                   University of
Union                                                                                                                                                                  Newfoundland
                            University of Manitoba     Graduate Students’          Graduate Students’         Students’ Alliance           Cape Breton University
Kwantlen Student            Students’ Union            Association                                                                         Students’ Union             College of the North
Association                                                                        Association des            University of Windsor
                            University of Manitoba     Association étudiante de    étudiant(e)s diplômé(e)s   Graduate Students’           Holland College Student     Atlantic Students’ Union
College of New              Graduate Students’         la Cité collégiale          de l’Université d’Ottawa   Society                      Union
Caledonia Students’         Association
Union                                                  Student Association of      Queen’s University         University of Windsor        King’s Students’ Union
                            University of Regina       George Brown College        Society of Graduate and    Organization of Part-time
North Island Students’                                                             Professional Students                                   Mount Saint Vincent
                            Students’ Union            Glendon College Student                                University Students
Union                                                                                                                                      University Students’
                            Association étudiante de   Union                       Ryerson Students’ Union    York Federation of           Union
Northwest Community         l’Université de Saint-                                                            Students
College Students’ Union                                University of Guelph        Continuing Education                                    University of New
                            Boniface                   Central Student             Students’ Association of   York University Graduate     Brunswick Graduate
Okanagan College            University of              Association                 Ryerson                    Students’ Association        Students’ Association
Students’ Union             Saskatchewan Students’     University of Guelph        Saint Paul University                                   Student Union of
College of the Rockies      Union                      Graduate Students’          Students’ Association                                   NSCAD
Students’ Union             University of              Association                 University of Toronto                                   University of Prince
Selkirk College Students’   Saskatchewan Graduate      Lakehead University         Scarborough Campus                                      Edward Island Student
Union                       Students’ Association      Student Union               Students’ Union                                         Union
Students’ Union of          University of Winnipeg     Laurentian Association      University of Toronto                                   University of Prince
Vancouver Community         Students’ Association      of Mature and Part-Time     Graduate Students’                                      Edward Island Graduate
College                                                Students                    Union                                                   Student Association
Thompson Rivers                                        Laurentian University       University of Toronto                                   Association générale des
University Students’                                   Graduate Students’          Students’ Union                                         étudiants de l’Université
Union                                                  Association                                                                         Sainte-Anne
                                                                                   University of Toronto
Vancouver Island                                       Laurentian University       Mississauga Students’
University Students’                                   Students’ General           Union
Union                                                  Association                 Association of Part-Time
                                                       Association des             Undergraduate Students
                                                       étudiantes et étudiants     at the University of
                                                       francophones de             Toronto
                                                       l’Université Laurentienne
                                                       Laurentian Students’
                                                       Union
table of contents
1    overview
     forEword
     Public opinion polling
     Recommendations

6    Funding and LEGISLATION
     Post-secondary education in canada
     Student Debt
     User fees and the income tax system
     International Students
     A post-secondary education act

16   Aboriginal Education
     Educational Attainment levels
     Post-secondary student support program

18   Research and innovation
     commercialisation of university research
     business investment in research
     graduate student funding
     EDUCATION STATISTICS

22   TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT
     Educational requirements
     Youth Un- and under- Employment
     Internships and Unpaid Work

24   Supporting information
     Costing of recommendations
     References
overview
Public education
for the public good
SUSTAINABLE INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION REQUIRES NATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Attainment of a post-secondary education has become a                which they study. In addition, Aboriginal peoples–the fastest
prerequisite to participate in the Canadian workforce. This          growing population in Canada–are still largely shut out of
shift was precipitated by a recession that resulted in the           post-secondary education, and are thereby prevented from
near-collapse of Canada’s manufacturing sector, but it reflects      contributing to the knowledge economy.
a broader shift that has been happening for the past two             Three decades of public funding that has failed to keep up
decades in Canada and around the world.                              with enrolment growth has had a notable impact on students’
Canada’s youth are facing challenges unseen by previous              education experience. Class sizes have increased, while
generations: record-high levels of student debt and a post-          required infrastructure repairs have gone largely unaddressed.
secondary education system with tuition fees that have tripled       Average tuition fees have increased at three times the rate
since the 1990’s; youth unemployment levels that are twice           of inflation in the last year alone. As the primary lenders of
as high as the unemployment levels faced by the general              student loans, the federal government plays a pivitol role in
population; and the baby boomer generation is working longer         determining the impact of student debt. While the current
or re-entering the workforce after retirement, making it difficult   funding model is unsustainable, there are realistic options
for new graduates to find jobs. All this coupled with current        within reach.
federal student debt at over $15 billion, not including provincial   Investments in students, colleges, and universities are
or private debt, means Canadian youth are now the most               investments in Canada’s future. It is time for bold leadership.
indebted generation in the country’s history. This debt will have    Maintaining Canada’s strong economic position requires
far-reaching implications for Canada’s economy and socio-            leadership at the federal level, and a substantial reinvestment
economic equality.                                                   in students, colleges and universities, and post-secondary
Without federal direction, provinces’ post-secondary                 research. This document outlines students’ recommendations
education systems are taking divergent paths. Provinces have         for the federal government to build and maintain a strong
the ability to set tuition fees at whatever level they see fit,      post-secondary education system that ensures a prosperous,
resulting in students facing significantly different challenges      equitable future for generations to come.
in accessing higher education depending on the province in

                                                   Canadian federation of students a national vision for post-secondary education
                                                                                                                                        1
Canadians support
ACCESSIBLE Public education
  A majority of Canadians AGREE that:
  •     a university or college education is more important than ever to succeed in today’s society;
  •     the federal government should attach conditions to dedicated transfer payments to the provinces;
  •     the government should invest more in post-secondary education, even if it means they have to pay slightly more in taxes;
  •     the government should invest in making college and university more affordable, even if it means a small increase in taxes; and
  •     education is a common good and should be paid for by the government.

  should tuition fees be                                        What is the most important thing                                   it is more difficult to get a     the quality of education
  increased, frozen, or                                         for government to do for college                                   university or college education   has suffered because of
  reduced?                                                      and university education?                                          than it was ten years ago.        inadequate government funding.

                                              35%                                                             51%

                                              45%                                                             17%
                                                                                                              16%
                                                                                                              11%
                                              15%                                                              5%
                                              5%

            Reduced                                           lower tuition fees and student debt                                          AGREE - 51%                       AGREE - 47%
                                                              invest more in research                                                      disagree - 33%                    disagree - 39%
            Frozen
                                                              create more spaces for qualified students                                    no opinion - 16%                  no opinion - 14%
            increased                                         reduce class sizes by hiring more professors
            Not Sure/No Opinion                               Not Sure/No Opinion

Public opinion polling results are taken from a Harris/Decima random telephone survey of 2,000 adult Canadians conducted between
November 7 and November 18, 2012. The poll was commissioned by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Canadian
Federation of Students. National results are considered accurate within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
overview
                                                                                                                             70% of canadians think
                                                                                                                             Young people have to take
                                                                                                                             on too much debt today to
                                                                65% of canadians want the                                     get a university or college
             80% of canadians oppose                            federal government to set                                      education.
             increases in tuition fees. of                      conditions on transfer payments
             those, 35% support a reduction                     to ensure provinces use the
             from current levels.                               money as intended.

high fees push students to work
more, study less
Students are struggling to pay for their post-
secondary education more than any previous                                                        working has a negative                  Far More Students
generation. Record-high tuition fees combined                        STUDENT unemployment           effect on academics                today work during the
with the recession means that those in vulnerable                               remains high   75%                                              school year
groups, including Aboriginal and other racialised
students and those with disabilities, are facing      20%                                      60%                               60%
increasing barriers to post-secondary education.      15%                                      45%
Higher costs and fewer summer employment                                                                                         40%
opportunities have contributed to an increasing       10%                                      30%
number of students working during the academic         5%                                                                        20%
                                                                                               15%
year.
                                                       0%                                      0%                                0%
Students have reported that working in low-wage,              2008 2009 2010 2011 2012                  YES           NO               1976     2006     2012
low-skilled jobs while studying often has a negative
                                                       PERCENT OF STUDENTS WHO WERE            students who were asked if they     PERCENT OF STUDENTS WHO Worked
impact on their academic performance and the
                                                       UNEMPLOYED DURING THE SUMMER            thought working had a negative      During the Year While Attending
quality of their educational experience, particularly
                                                                                               effect on academic performance      University
when one is working more than 20 hours per week.

                                                              Canadian federation of students a national vision for post-secondary education                          3
Taking advantage of Canada's
          current relative economic
        strength, compared to other
 industrialised countries, requires
leadership at the federal level and
  an investment in students, as well
     as in colleges and universities.
        This document outlines SEVEN
  recommendations for the federal
  government to build and maintain
    a strong post-secondary system
that trains a workforce capable of
      competing in today's economy.
overview
Recommendations
for a prosperous and productive future for all Canadians

1   Make a direct investment of $7.5 billion to reduce
    existing student debt by half in the next three years.
    The total outstanding student debt owed to the
    federal government must be substantially reduced,
                                                                5     Remove targeted research funding earmarks within the
                                                                      granting councils and award research funding based
                                                                      on academic merit determined through a peer review
                                                                      process. Increase the number of Canada Graduate
    and steps must be taken to prevent current and                    Scholarships to be consistent with average program
    future students from accumulating education-related               growth and distribute them proportionally among the
    debt.                                                             research councils according to enrolment figures.

2   Increase the value and number of non-repayable
    grants available to students by redirecting funds
    allocated to education-related tax credits and savings
    schemes to the Canada Student Grants Program, and
                                                                 6    Increase funding by $10 million to Statistics Canada’s
                                                                      education branch for the collection and analysis of
                                                                      statistics to properly track the impact of student debt
                                                                      on post-secondary education completion rates and the
    allow graduate students to qualify for grants under               fulfillment of labour-market demands.
    the program.

3   Implement a federal Post-Secondary Education Act
    in cooperation with the provinces, modeled after the
    Canada Health Act, accompanied by a dedicated
    cash transfer with funding allocated to:
                                                                7
                                                                     Develop a national strategy to address youth
                                                                     unemployment, underemployment, and unpaid
                                                                     internships that includes as a first step, collecting
                                                                     relevant employment data on recent graduates
    - address shortfalls in funding since 1992;                      and restoring funding for the Canada Summer Jobs
    - reduce tuition fees to 1992 levels; and                        Program.
    - address deferred maintenance costs at
      Canada’s colleges and universities.

4   Remove the funding cap on increases to the Post-
    Secondary Student Support Program and ensure that
    every eligible First Nations, Inuit, and Métis learner is
    provided funding.

                                               Canadian federation of students a national vision for post-secondary education    5
Canada’s post-secondary
education system
For over half a century, the federal         Federal funding cuts led most provinces     federal government must re-prioritise
government recognised the crucial            to reduce funding for higher education      affordable, accessible, high quality post-
role post-secondary education plays          and paved the way for a significant         secondary education.
in increasing social and economic            shift in how Canada funds universities      Canadians overwhelmingly agree that
equality and driving economic growth         and colleges. Today, nearly half of the     the federal government must provide
and innovation. The substantial public       operational funding for universities        more support for post-secondary
investments that led to the expansion of     comes from students themselves.             education.
universities and the creation of colleges    Canada’s public funding covers just
in the 1960s were based on the belief        57 percent of the cost of university        Investments in social programs, such
that access to post-secondary education      and college education (Figure 1.2),         as health care and post-secondary
should be dictated by a student’s ability    compared with the Organisation              education, regularly rank as top
and desire to learn, not by a student’s      for Economic Co-operation and               priorities for Canadians. In a recent
financial means.                             Development (OECD) average of 68            poll conducted by Harris/Decima, only
                                             percent. Canada’s university tuition        8 percent of Canadians identified tax
Over the past three decades, Canada’s                                                    cuts, and only 12 percent identified
public post-secondary education system       fees are also among the highest in
                                             the OECD. If Canada is to maintain its      deficit reduction, as the most important
has become markedly less public.                                                         priority for the federal government. By
Beginning in the 1980s, the federal          educational edge at the post-secondary
                                             level, it is going to have to address       comparison, over 60 percent identified
government limited the increases in                                                      investments in social programs,
funding transfers to the provinces for       these public-funding shortfalls.
                                                                                         reducing unemployment, or reducing
post-secondary education, resulting in       Prior to these cuts, access to post-        poverty as their top priority.
a decrease in per-student funding. In        secondary education was similar from
1995, the federal government made one        province to province. Now, the province
of the deepest funding cuts to social        that a student lives in is a key factor
programs in history by slashing transfers    in determining the individual cost of
to the provinces by $7 billion. In every     post-secondary education because
province, with the exception of Québec,      tuition fees vary so widely. For example,
this funding cut was passed on directly      an undergraduate students in Ontario
to students in the form of massive           pay about three times as much as their
tuition fee increases. Despite the federal   peers in Newfoundland.
government posting multi-billion dollar      In order to reduce inequalities
surpluses in the late 1990s and early        across socioeconomic groups
2000s, funding for post-secondary            and regional differences—and
education was never restored.                to increase the country’s global             Annual cost of corporate tax
                                             economic competitiveness—the
                                                                                          cuts to the government.
Public education for the public good Canadian federation of students
IS Canada’s higher education system economically competitive?

                                                                                                                                                          Funding and governance
                                              According to the World Economic Forum’s annual report on economic competitiveness,
                                              Canada’s higher education system is failing to keep pace with other countries in equipping
                                              citizens with the skills needed to advance the domestic economy and remain globally
                                              competitive.

                                              CANADA WAS RANKED:

                                               8 12 15
Despite public opinion, the federal
government has prioritised tax cuts                      th                             th
                                                                                                                   th
and deficit reduction over essential                         {2010}
investments in Canada’s social                                                          {2011 }
programs. Reducing the government’s

                                                                                                                                16
fiscal capacity by multi-billion dollar tax                                                                        {2012}
cuts over the past decade undermines
the federal government’s ability to
                                                    the data suggest a slight                                                                   th
                                                    downward trend of [Canada’s]                                                                {2013 }
adequately fund training both for the
                                                    performance in higher education...
country’s future workforce and for out-of
work Canadians.                                     driven by lower university enrollment rates
If the government were to shift its
                                                    and a decline in the extent to which staff is being
priorities, it could provide the necessary          trained at the workplace.”
funding to make education affordable                     -World Economic Forum Report on Economic Competitiveness
for all Canadians while also improving
the quality and facilities of Canadian
colleges and universities.
                                              Figure 1.1: 2012-13 World Economic Forum: Global COmpetitiveness INDEX, Higher
                                              Education rankings (Effectiveness of the higher education sector in developing
                                              an economically competitive society).

                                              #1               #2                 #3               #4                 #5              #6

                                                   finland            singapore        Germany     switzerland              Belgium   netherlands

                                              #7                      #8          #9                #10               #11             #12
 60% of Canadians agree that
 investing in social programs,
 and reducing poverty and                       United States          SWEDEN      new zealand                          Taiwan             Iceland
 unemployment are higher
 priorities than tax cuts and                 #13              #14                #15              #16
 deficit reduction.
                                               Austria                Denmark          Australia          Canada
                                                                                                                                                               7
FIGURE 1.2: university operating
revenue divided between private                 Fees are a barrier: Let the
funding and government funding.
100%
                                                income tax system work
80%
                                                The federal funding cuts of the 1990s passed          lower for female graduates who, on average,
                                                an increasing proportion of the cost of post-         earn only an additional $48,000.
60%                                             secondary education onto students. Although           Given that at least 70 percent of new jobs
                                                government funding used to cover up to 80             require some form of post-secondary
40%                                             percent of an institution’s operating budget          education, higher education is increasingly a
                                                three decades ago, it now only covers roughly         prerequisite to participate in the labour market
20%                                             50 percent, with tuition fees making up the           and to earn an average income. It is not a
                                                difference (Figure 1.2).                              guarantee of future wealth.
 0%                                             In the last fifteen years, tuition fees have          Education not only benefits the individual, but
       1982      1992      2002      2012       become the largest expense for university and         all of society as well. Populations with higher
                                                college students increasing, on average, over         levels of education statistically have better
                TUITION and other fees
                                                five times the rate of inflation (Figure 1.4). High   health outcomes, lower poverty rates, and
                government funding              tuition fees limit access to post-secondary           lower crime rates.
                                                education for students from low- and middle-
                                                income households. At their current rate of           The current funding model forces individuals
                                                increase, tuition fees are estimated to exceed        to shoulder significant costs for a college or
FIGURE 1.3: TUITION FEES have INCREASED         all other student expenses combined in five           university education, neglecting the substantial
FASTER than all other student costs.            years.                                                public benefit of post-secondary education.
                                                Statistics Canada has determined that students        The most efficient and effective method of
40%                                                                                                   financing post-secondary education is through
                                                from low-income families are less than half as
                                                likely as those from high-income households to        a progressive income tax system.
30%
                                                pursue a university education. They have also         Such a system ensures that the wealthy and
                                                found that finances were the most frequently-         poor are taxed in a fair manner by reflecting
                                                reported reason high school students did not          their respective ability to contribute, and
20%                                             pursue post-secondary education.                      the subsequent personal economic benefit
                                                Tuition fees act as a flat tax—a cost applied to      obtained as a result of their education.
                                                all students at the same rate, regardless of their    Canadians have made it clear that they are
 10%                                            financial resources. While some think tanks and       comfortable with increased government
                                                governments have exaggerated the personal             spending to improve access to post-secondary
                                                benefits of a college or university credential        education. According to a recent Harris/
 0%                                             to justify high tuition fees, the reality is much     Decima public opinion poll, Canadians rank
    2002
    2003
    2004
    2005
    2006
    2007
    2008
    2009
    2010
    2011
    2012

                                                more modest. The OECD reports that male               tuition fee reductions as the top priority for
                                                graduates earn only an additional $100,000            government investment in education.
       TUITION fees                      FOOD   over their lifetime. The return is substantially
       PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION             Rent
Funding and governance
                                                                                                              Figure 1.4: Tuition Fees Grow
                                                                                                        Dramatically Faster Than inflation.
                                                                                                                 TUITION fee increases
                                                                                                                 inflation
                                                                                                      50%
The same poll also found that 67 percent of        While new infrastructure is welcome, it only
Canadians want the federal government to           increases the funds needed to maintain and         40%
exercise more control over transfers to the        renovate infrastructure on campuses, a cost
provinces for post-secondary education.            that is already over $1 billion per year, and
The benefits of investing in higher education      does little to address existing renovation and     30%
go well beyond the individual. A highly            maintenance needs.
educated workforce increases the tax base and      University and college budgets are strained
reduces the cost of a number of other publicly-    to such an extent that deferred maintenance        20%
funded social programs, including health care,     poses serious health and safety risks at many
public safety, and employment insurance.           schools across the country. In 2009, the           10%
A recent report by the OECD found that             Canadian Association of University Business
the direct public benefit of investing in post-    Officers estimated that the total value of
secondary education was in excess of $100,000      deferred maintenance on Canadian campuses          0%
per individual, a 160 percent return on each       was more than $5 billion, half of which is
dollar invested.                                   considered urgent, a 35 percent increase in less
                                                   than a decade.
Since the cuts to federal transfer payments
in the 1990s, the quality of post-secondary        Despite the moderate reinvestment in post-
education has declined. Class sizes have           secondary education in recent years, the
increased substantially, while institutions        federal government has done little to ensure
have pushed to casualise the academic              that these investments will have their desired
workforce by replacing full-time tenured faculty   impact.
members with overworked and inadequately
compensated contract academic staff. In
addition, between 1990 and 2006, the ratio of
students to full-time faculty members increased
by almost 40 percent.
Cash transfer payments for post-secondary
education are roughly $1.3 billion short of
1992 levels when accounting for inflation and
population growth.
                                                                                                            64% of canadians believe that
The 2009 federal budget allocated $2 billion                                                                  the cost of a post-secondary
to college and university infrastructure,
focused entirely on new building projects.                                                                            education is too high.

                                                     Canadian federation of students a national vision for post-secondary education                 9
Student debt loads have never been higher... people
are graduating with $30,000 in student loans on top of
                                                                a generation
$5,000 in credit card debt... the result is that many
students fall into a hole they can’t easily climb out of.”
                                                                in debt
  - Laurie Campbell, Executive Director, Credit Canada          Canadians are making sacrifices to prepare themselves for an
                                                                evolving workforce. Past federal and provincial government
                                                                decisions are forcing students to take on more education-related
            Figure 1.5: incidence and average amount of         debt than any previous generation, while middle class earnings
                     student loan debt upon graduation.         have largely stagnated in the past twenty years.
                                                                Skyrocketing tuition fees and the prevalence of loan-based financial
            inflation                                           assistance have pushed student debt to historic levels. This past
 $26,000                                                        year, almost 455,000 students were forced to borrow in order to
 $24,000                                                        finance their education. The amount owed to the Canada Student
                                                                Loans Program is increasing by nearly $1 million per day.
 $22,000
                                                                In September 2010, the total amount of student loans owed to the
 $20,000
                                                                government reached $15 billion, the legislated ceiling set by the
 $18,000                                                        Canada Student Financial Assistance Act. This figure only accounts
 $16,000                                                        for a portion of total student debt; it does not include provincial
                                                                and personal loans, lines of credit, and education-related credit
 $14,000                                                        card debt. In response, the government altered the definition of
 $12,000                                                        “student loan” to exclude over $1.5 billion in federal student loan
 $10,000                                                        debt. Even with this new definition, the federal student loan debt
                                                                surpassed the $15 billion limit. In response, the federal government
  $8,000                                                        again amended the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act in
  $6,000                                                        order to increase the limit to $19 billion while, at the same time,
           1990         1995   2000   2005   2010        2012   dramatically reducing parliamentary oversight of the program.

                                                                Recommendation                        1
                                                                Make a direct investment of $7.5 billion to reduce existing
                                                                student debt by half in the next three years. The total
                                                                outstanding student debt owed to the federal government
                                                                must be substantially reduced, and steps must be taken
   number of canadians unable to make any                       to prevent current and future students from accumulating
                                                                education-related debt.
    payments on their canada student loan
                     as of September 2013
Funding and governance
The impact of debt on
students and society
High tuition fees force students to          Research finds that debt levels have a
take on large amounts of debt in order       direct impact on success and retention.
to cover the high up-front costs of          Students with higher debt levels are far    According to the Canada Student loans program:
pursuing post-secondary education.           less likely to complete their degree or         average tuition fees per year for the 2013
Many potential students are rightfully       diploma.
                                                                                                           kindergarten class when they
reluctant to take on this debt and           After graduation, student debt distorts
associated risk. Of the 70 percent of                                                                          reach university in 2026:
                                             career choice, especially among
high school graduates who cite financial     professionals. Studies of medical and
reasons as the main factor for not           law students found that debt levels
pursuing post-secondary education,           prompt these students to seek higher
one in four cited accumulation of debt       paying jobs in fields or regions that
as the main deterrent. Those from                                                         $13,100 $13,700 $14,40 $15,100
marginalised communities, low-income
                                             are not necessarily their first choice                             0
                                             or where demand is greatest. For
backgrounds, and single parents are          example, student debt appears to be                                     Tuition fee estimates based on provincial

more likely to be strongly averse to         driving committed young doctors away
                                                                                                               government policy announcements, and current
                                                                                                                  legislation, indexed to 2.5% above inflation.

accumulating student debt.                   from family practice and young lawyers
Funding post-secondary education             away from public and community
through student debt is an unfair            service work.
model. Requiring low- and middle-            High levels of debt also discourage
income students to finance education         individuals from starting a family,             high levels of student debt are onE
through debt results in these students       purchasing a home, or starting a                of the primary effects of the move
paying more for education than
students who have the resources to pay
                                             business. It also discourages graduates         towards policy that downloads the
the full cost of their education up-front.
                                             from pursuing low paying or volunteer           costs of public education onto
                                             experience in a career-related field that
Students who can afford to pay their         may offer necessary experience to get a         students and their families.”
fees up-front only pay the sticker price,    middle-income job.                                 - ALTERNATIVE FEDERAL BUDGET
while students who take on debt to                                                               Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
pay their fees must pay both the fees
and the accumulated interest on their
student loans. Such a system unfairly
burdens low- and middle-income
families.

                                                 Canadian federation of students a national vision for post-secondary education                                   11
effective measures:
                                        grants not loans
                                        Creating the Canada Student Grants               the Canada Student Grants Program, the
                                        Program was an important first step to           government could significantly reduce
                                        meaningfully reduce student debt, however        student debt.
                                        a larger investment in up-front grants is
                                        required. The total cost of tax credit and
                                        education savings schemes currently
                                        operated by the federal government are
                                        anticipated to exceed $2.58 billion this year,
                                        making these programs the government’s           Recommendation 2
                                        most expensive direct spending measure on        Increase the value and number of non-
                                        student financial assistance, by far.            repayable grants available to students
Amount that the Canada Student Loans    Despite their substantial price tag, the         by redirecting funds allocated to
Program expects to lend for             education tax credit and savings programs        education-related tax credits and
the 2013-14 year.                       are poor instruments to improve access           savings schemes to the Canada
                                        to post-secondary education and relieve          Student Grants Program, and allow
                                        student debt. All students qualify for tax       graduate students to qualify for grants
                                        credits, regardless of financial need, which     under the program.
                                        ultimately benefits those with the lowest
                                        amount of debt and those from high-income
                                        backgrounds. Furthermore, saving schemes
                                        have largely benefitted those from higher-        (Canada Education Savings Grants) give
                                        income brackets, as individuals from low-         scarce public funds to the wrong
                                        income families often do not have the funds       households... the CESG program should
                                        necessary to invest in the first place.           be discontinued.”
                                        If this $2.58 billion were used for up-front             - Kevin Milligan
                                        grants instead, it would turn every dollar
                                                                                                  UBC Economist
                                        loaned by the Canada Student Loans
                                        Program (CSLP) into a non-repayable grant.
    Approximate cost of education tax   The CSLP expects to lend approximately
          credits and savings schemes   $2.46 billion during the 2013-14 academic
                                        year. By shifting money spent on education-
                         for 2012-13.   related saving schemes and tax credits to
Funding and governance
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
in canada                                                                                         GDP Contribution of
                                                                                                  International Students to the
                                                                                                  Canadian Economy in 2011:

                                                                                                                         $8
While all students in Canada have faced         and decrease shortfalls in the aging labour
dramatic fee increases over the last            market.
decade, tuition fee regulation has rarely       The federal government anticipates
applied to international students. By fall      significant shortages in the labour market
2013, average tuition fees for international    over the next 15 years. Specifically, it is
undergraduate students were $19,514,            estimated that there will be more than two
more than three times the already high          million job openings over the next decade.
fees paid by Canadian residents (Figure                                                           Figure 1.6: Average Undergraduate Tuition Fees
1.6). At some universities, international       By increasing the number of international         for Domestic and International Full-Time Students
students pay over $23,000 per year in           students who make Canada their                    IN CANADA.
tuition fees, and this figure rises to over     permanent home, the expected shortage
$25,000 for some graduate programs, and         of skilled workers could be significantly                 $4,724            $14,487       2008
a staggering $57,000 per year for some          eased. A greater number of international
professional programs, such as dentistry        students making the transition to the
and law.                                        domestic workforce, particularly in key
                                                                                                           $4,917           $15,674       2009
                                                sectors and regions, will help meet
High differential fees are an unfair burden     upcoming skills shortages and help ensure
and a barrier to post-secondary education       that the Canadian economy continues to
for international students. Ultimately,         grow.                                                      $5,146           $16,768       2010
such fees could threaten Canada’s ability
to attract and retain foreign scholars          There will be strong competition for
from diverse backgrounds. According to          future international students among
the federal government’s own research,          Canada’s peer countries, as other leading                  $5,313            $17,571      2011
immigrants who have previously worked           jurisdictions are equally aware of the
or studied in Canada have the easiest time      benefits of international education and
integrating into the Canadian workforce         are pursuing their own strategies to
and prospering in Canadian society.             attract larger shares of students , including              $5,581            $18,641      2012
                                                reducing and eliminating tuition fees
International students already contribute       altogether.
over $8 billion annually to the Canadian
economy. Their potential contribution as        Eliminating differential fees for international
residents and citizens, if naturalised, would   students would greatly increase Canada’s                  $5,772            $19,514       2013
present a boon to the Canadian economy          ability to attract international students.

                                                                                                              international student tuition fees
                                                                                                              Domestic student tuition fees

                                                      Canadian federation of students a national vision for post-secondary education                  13
a post-secondary education act
CREATING Accountability for                     Federal Cash Transfers for                       A Federal Post-Secondary
Federal Funding                                 Post-Secondary Education                         Education Act
Although the federal government is one          To return to a level of federal funding          The adoption of a federal post-secondary
of the single largest sources of funding        equivalent to the level before the cuts of       education act would establish conditions
for post-secondary education, there is no       the mid-1990s would mean a dedicated             on the provinces for receiving post-
regulatory system to ensure that the monies     post-secondary education transfer to the         secondary education transfer payments.
transferred to provincial governments           provinces of approximately $5.08 billion.        Such legislation would require provinces
actually make it into the post-secondary        The federal government currently allocates       to uphold principles similar to those
education system. Without accountability        just over $3.75 billion to post-secondary        found in the Canada Health Act: public
measures for federal funding transfers,         education as part of the Canada Social           administration, comprehensiveness,
provincial governments are free to              Transfer; however, there is no requirement       universality, portability, and accessibility.
misallocate transfers intended for post-        for the provinces to spend this money            In return for upholding these principles,
secondary education to other provincial         on increasing access to post-secondary           provincial governments would receive
priorities.                                     education. Pairing a funding increase with       adequate and predictable funding from the
Under previous federal-provincial cost-         a new post-secondary education act is            federal government.
sharing models, the provinces had to invest     essential to ensuring additional funding
their own funds in order to receive federal     reaches post-secondary institutions to
transfers. If a provincial government chose     address increased costs and deteriorating
to cut funding, federal transfers would be      infrastructure.
reduced by a proportionate amount. The
current block-funding model—the Canada
                                                Since the funding cuts in the early 1990s,       Recommendation 3
                                                full-time enrolment has increased 55.1           Implement a federal Post-Secondary
Social Transfer—has no requirement that         percent, resulting in an increase of $1.33
provincial governments maintain their                                                            Education Act in cooperation with the
                                                billion in costs to the system that are yet to   provinces, modeled after the Canada
funding in order to receive federal money.      be addressed by the federal government.
Indeed, there have been numerous                                                                 Health Act, accompanied by a dedicated
                                                Additionally, similar to the health care         cash transfer with funding allocated to:
examples of provincial governments              system, university and college-related costs
receiving additional federal funds and                                                           - address shortfalls in funding since 1992;
                                                increase at a much higher rate than the          - reduce tuition fees to 1992 levels; and
then reducing their provincial contribution.    standard Consumer Price Index. Over the
For example, in 2008, the Government of                                                          - eliminate deferred maintenance at
                                                previous eighteen years there has been,            Canada’s colleges and universities.
British Columbia cut funding to universities    on average, an annual post-secondary
in the same year that it received new post-     education-related inflation of three percent,
secondary education funding from the            per year, or about $1.87 billion over that
federal government. This approach has           period.
lead to significant variations in provincial
funding and policies. Tuition fees now differ
greatly from province to province, creating
unequal access to education depending on
a student’s province of study (Figure 1.7).
Funding and governance
                                                                                                   Figure 1.7: Map of tuition fees across Canada.
                                                                      Average domestic undergraduate arts and sciences tuition fees in 2013-2014.

                                                                                                                                                   $2,644
                                                                                                                                                     NL
                                         $5,670
                                           AB
                      $5,029                                                 $3,779
                        BC                                                     MB

                                                                                                                    $2,653                                       $5,696
                                                                                                                      QC                                           PEI
                                                           $6,394
                                                             SK
                                                                                            $7,259
                                                                                              ON
                                                                                                                                 $6,113
                                                                                                                                   NB                   $6,185
                                                                                                                                                          NS

Figure 1.8: Tuition fee levels, 1992 to 2015.
in current dollars                                              $9,231
                                                                                                                 2015                1992
$9,000                         $8,815

$8,000               $7,649
                                                                                         $6,741                     $6,743
$7,000                                                              $7,259                             $6,449

$6,000    $$5,637               $6,394                                                                                  $6,185
                      $
                      $5,670                                                              $6,113
$5,000                                                                                                  $5,696
           $5,029
           $                                 $4,064
$4,000                                                                        $3,160
                                                  $3,779                                                                             $2,743
$3,000
                                                                               $2,653
                                                                                                                                      $
                                                                                                                                      $2,644
$2,000                                                              $2,105
           $1,962                                                                         $2,016        $2,120          $2,147
$1,000                $1,551    $1,591            $1,671                                                                                  $1,442
                                                                                $1,115

   $0
            BC         AB        SK                MB                ON          QC         NB            PEI             NS                NL
                                                             Canadian federation of students a national vision for post-secondary education                               15
Keeping the promise of aboriginal
education AND PROSPERITY
Access to post-secondary education plays a          degree compared to 23 percent of the total            costs of tuition fees, books, supplies, travel, and
pivotal role in the creation of a more equitable,   population.                                           living expenses.
financially stable and sustainable society. Yet,    This low-level of educational attainment is in        In 1968, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
there is great disparity in access across the       stark contrast with the right to education for        Development Canada (AANDC), formerly the
country, not only affecting students, but Canada    Aboriginal peoples laid out in a series of treaties   Department of Indian and Northern Affairs
as a whole.                                         signed over the course of several decades and         Canada, began providing direct funding for
As with most OECD members, Canada’s                 recognised in Canada’s Constitution.                  First Nations and Inuit students to pursue post-
economic future depends on its ability to           In spite of the economic and legal necessity          secondary education. In 1977-78, only 3,600
meet the challenge of an aging workforce and        to ensure access to education for Aboriginal          students received funding; by 1999-2000, over
relatively low domestic birth rates. Unlike peer    peoples, funding for their education has              27,000 students were federal funding recipients.
countries, however, Canada has an advantage         remained stagnant for over a decade. The              Nevertheless, educational attainment levels of
with its rapidly growing Aboriginal population.     participation rates in post-secondary education       Aboriginal peoples remained significantly lower
Canada’s Aboriginal population is growing at six    can be attributed to the significant and complex      than the overall population (Figure 2.2).
times the rate of the non-Aboriginal population     barriers to access that Aboriginal students face.     Before 1992, funding was determined by the
(Figure 2.1). According to the 2011 National        Research has found that Aboriginal learners are       number of eligible students and their expenses.
Household Survey, 1.4 million people, 4.3           much more likely to be reluctant to use loan-         Between 1992 and 1997, the model shifted from
percent of Canada’s population, identified as       based programs if they are in financial need.         per-student funding to block funding, which
Aboriginal. Of these, 46 percent were under the     Aboriginal students are also more likely to have      was to be administered by local Band Councils.
age of 24.                                          dependents which results in high costs due to         In 1996, increases in funding to the PSSSP were
It is estimated that over 300,000 Aboriginal        childcare and relocation, as well as a higher         capped at two percent annually. As a result of
youth could enter the labour force in the next      likelihood of entering post-secondary education       this limit on increases, funding has been unable
15 years alone. In May 2009, the Centre for         at a later age than non-Aboriginal Canadians.         to keep pace with annual increases in the cost
the Study of Living Standards concluded that                                                              of living and tuition fees—which increased
                                                    Additionally, approximately 20 percent of             on average by three percent this year. While
closing the education gap between Aboriginal        the First Nations population is unemployed,
and non-Aboriginal students would lead to an                                                              approximately 27,000 Aboriginal students
                                                    including a staggering 41 percent of those in         received financial assistance prior to the
additional $179 billion in direct GDP growth,       the 15-24 year age group. Unemployment limits
and over $400 billion in total growth over the                                                            implementation of the funding cap, the number
                                                    financial resources for families to pay for the       of students fell to just over 22,000 by 2006.
next 20 years.                                      rising costs of college or university education.
Educational attainment levels among Aboriginal                                                            The lack of funding has meant that communities
                                                    Currently, the federal government provides            administering the funds must make difficult
peoples remain significantly lower than the         financial assistance to status First Nations and
non-Aboriginal population. In 2006, 34 percent                                                            decisions about who receives funding each
                                                    Inuit students through the Post-Secondary             year. Between 2006 and 2011, over 18,500
of Aboriginal persons over the age of 25 did        Student Support Program (PSSSP), which was
not have a high school diploma compared to 15                                                             people were denied funding—roughly half of
                                                    created to facilitate access to post-secondary        those who qualified. Because of the shortfall in
percent of the non-Aboriginal population. Only      education by alleviating the financial barriers
8 percent of Aboriginal persons hold a university                                                         funding, priority is often given to shorter college
                                                    faced by Aboriginal students by covering the
ABORIGINAL EDUCATION
                                                                                                                              Figure 2.1: Aboriginal
                                                                                                                              population growth by
                                                                          18%
                                                                                                                                   province between
                                                                                                                                     2001 and 2011.
programs—to the detriment of those interested in pursuing more                            13%                20%
expensive professional or graduate programs of study.
According to the Assembly of First Nations, a total of $724 million
is required to ensure that no Aboriginal student is denied access        37%
to post-secondary education due to financial barriers, and that                        41%
                                                                                                                                                         91%
those students who are funded receive an adequate level of                                      21%
                                                                                                       31%
support. As AANDC currently provides $306 million, an additional
                                                                                                                                   79%             66%
$418 million would be required. This funding would support a                                                       60%
total of approximately 40,000 students across Canada.
The funding disbursed through the PSSSP has a proven track                                                                                 33%              99%
record for those who can access it. Most Aboriginal students
who are able to receive funding through the PSSSP succeed in
completing their studies and go on to find meaningful work.
Regardless of their place of residence, the majority of Aboriginal
graduates return to work in their communities and are employed               Figure 2.2:        25%
in their field of study, achieving economic self-reliance and          Proportion of the        20%
helping to develop healthy and stable communities while               population with a
improving the Canadian economy.                                                                 15%
                                                                      university degree.
It is important to note that although the economic return for                                   10%
those who are able to access education is high, there is no federal            non-ABORIGINAL
                                                                                                5%
funding support provided for non-status First Nations and Métis                    ABORIGINAL
students, in addition to funding restrictions currently impacting                               0%
                                                                                                      1981    1991   1996   2001    2006    2011
Aboriginal learners. As the situation currently stands, this limits
the potential for this population as well as Canada’s well being as
a whole.
                                                                                   The potential GDP contribution
                                                                                                                                                      ion
                                                                                of Aboriginal Canadians over the                                  bill
                                                                                                                                            400
                                                                                 next twenty years if Aboriginal
Recommendation 4                                                                 education levels rose to match
                                                                                those of the general population:
Remove the funding cap on increases to the Post-
Secondary Student Support Program and ensure that
every eligible First Nations, Inuit, and Métis learner is                                The cost per year to raise
provided funding.                                                                        Aboriginal education levels                                lion
                                                                                                                                                Mil
                                                                                              to match those of the                         418
                                                                                                 general population:
                                                                                                                                                                  17
Is Canada’s Drive to Commercialise University Research paying off?

                                        The Centres of Excellence for                                                              FIGURE 3.1: INDIRECT GOVERNMENT SUPPORT for
500                                     Commercialization Research                                                           research and development through tax incentives.
450                                     (CECR)—the network established
                                        by the federal government to                                                         0.20
400                                     bring together industry and
                                         academia­— has reviewed 500                                                         0.15

                                                                                                       (percentage of GDP)
350                                      publicly funded projects over
                                         the last ten years. Of these,                                                       0.10
300                                      only 80 were identified for
250                                      commercial viability and, of                                                        0.05
                                         those, only 40 moved forward.
200                                                                                                                          0.00

150                                       This means that             460

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100                                       programs, funded by the

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                                          public, failed to produce
                                          commercially viable results.                                     Note: Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, and Italy
                                                                                                           provide no tax incentives for research and development to businesses

      FIGURE 3.2:       3.5
                        3.0
         business       2.5
  expenditures on       2.0

    research and        1.5
                        1.0
     development        0.5
 (as A share of gDp).     0
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Supporting research and innovation,

                                                                                                                                                       Research and Innovation
and investing in Canadians
In order for Canada to remain economically         of research, to discouraging private market       leads to fewer employment opportunities
competitive at a global level, it must secure      innovation.                                       for graduates in an already difficult job
its status as a centre for research and            Since the late 1990s, a number of initiatives     market. The result of this restructuring is
innovation. Investment in graduate studies         have been undertaken to bend public               that many highly skilled workers are often
provides the foundation for long-term              university infrastructure to meet the             unable to contribute their full potential, thus
innovation and trains the highly skilled           government’s commercialisation objectives,        undermining Canada’s global economic
workers and researchers needed to respond          such as requiring publicly-funded research to     competitiveness.
to the economic and social challenges that         secure direct, private sector investment.         Canada has consistently ranked low on
Canada faces now and will face in the future.                                                        measurements of innovation. The World
                                                   University research geared towards
Enrolment in graduate studies increased            commercialisation is focused on generating        Economic Forum’s annual competitiveness
by 41.5 percent between 1998 and 2008.             products that may yield short-term results,       report highlighted the need for Canada to
Despite this, there have only been modest          with little consideration of long-term            increase the sophisticated and innovative
funding increases to the federal research          research and innovation goals. As research        nature of private sector research and
granting councils and scholarships. The            funding is increasingly directed in this way,     development. This year, Canada slipped from
stagnation in federal funding for research         basic research and academic pursuits are          eleventh to sixteenth place for the quality
and graduate education limits the number of        undermined.                                       of scientific research institutions – a sharply
masters and doctoral students that receive                                                           declining trend over the past five years from
grants, thus limiting the pool of highly skilled   Recent increases in funding for the federal       Canada’s 2008-2009 ranking of fourth.
researchers to those who are able to afford it     research granting councils, especially those
                                                   resources dedicated to graduate students,         As this trend continues, private sector
personally or who are able to secure limited                                                         research and development infrastructure
institutional or industry funding.                 have disproportionately benefited applied
                                                   research programs that are designed to            is being replaced with a publicly-backed
In spite of the relatively high number of          pursue a commercialised research agenda           university system that is forced to advance
university graduates, Canada ranks second-         over basic, curiosity-driven research.            private sector research, a collaboration that
to-last among peer countries for PhD                                                                 does not have a consistent track-record
graduation rates, notwithstanding a dramatic       Shifting the motivation for university research   of successfully bringing innovations to the
expansion of graduate studies over the last        away from the public interest and towards         marketplace.
ten years.                                         commercial interests has resulted in the
                                                   private sector increasingly relying on public     The private sector’s encroachment on
                                                   infrastructure at universities for research       universities undermines the independence
Commercialisation of research                                                                        of the academy, as money for research is
                                                   and development, rather than investing in
Recent federal budgets have directed               their own infrastructure. This dependence         increasingly tied to entities outside the
research funding to meet the short-term            contributes to lower private sector               academic system. These corporations often
priorities of the private sector, undermining      investment in research and development in         influence decisions that are normally left to
basic research and long-term innovation. The       Canada than in comparable countries.              the research community, such as investment
drive to commercialise university research has                                                       in maintenance, research facilities, and new
far-reaching consequences—from limiting            Discouraging private sector investment in         infrastructure. The research community
academic freedom and public ownership              its own research and development facilities       can also come under pressure from private

                                                        Canadian federation of students a national vision for post-secondary education                 19
funders of research when outcomes are not            However, there are currently no need-based
                                                                                             commercially favourable for those funders.           grants available to graduate students from the
                                                                                             Despite the threat to the independence of            federal government. Students from low-income
          Figure 3.3: Graduate TUITION FEES                                                  university research resulting from an increased
                                                                                             reliance upon industry sponsorship, there
                                                                                                                                                  families have a harder time affording graduate
                                                                                                                                                  studies due to high tuition fees and the lack
                     compared to inflation.                                                  is currently no whistleblower protection for         of financial assistance. In the absence of a
                   tuition fees
                                                                                             graduate students who wish to report research        grants program, completion rates for graduate
                  Inflation
                                                                                             misconduct.                                          degrees remain low.
$6,000
                                                                                                                                                  Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) provide
$5,000                                                                                       Barriers to Access                                   merit-based funding directly to graduate
                                                                                             Graduate students often face a variety of            students. These scholarships are administered
$4,000
                                                                                             challenges in pursuing their studies, including      through the granting councils and are one
$3,000                                                                                       limited funding options, an increasingly             of the main mechanisms for the federal
                                                                                             commercialised and restrictive research              government to fund graduate studies. The
$2,000                                                                                       environment, rising tuition fees, little access to   limited number of scholarships available has
                                                                                             need-based grants, and high levels of student        meant that many of the best and brightest
$1,000
                                                                                             debt from previous degrees. Last year, average       researchers are unable to maximise their
   $0                                                                                        tuition fees for graduate students increased by      potential. Increasing the number of CGS would
                                                                                             2.3 percent, to over $6,000 (Figure 3.3).            help promote graduate research and ensure
         1991
                1993
                       1995
                              1997
                                     1999
                                            2001
                                                   2003
                                                          2005
                                                                 2007
                                                                        2009
                                                                               2011
                                                                                      2012

                                                                                                                                                  that graduate students have the resources to
                                                                                             The financial burden of high fees for graduate       focus on their research, which will pay long-term
                                                                                             students is exacerbated by the foregone              dividends to Canada’s research capacity and
                                                                                             earnings from not being employed full-time,          innovation.
                                                                                             along with substantial debts accumulated
                                                                                             from earlier degrees. Despite their significant
                                                                                             investment of time and money, a recent study
                          Figure 3.4: PhD Graduates
                                                                                                                                                  Recommendation 5
                                                                                             indicated that doctoral graduates earn little
                                                                                             more–and in some instances, less–than those
                                (Number of PhD graduates                                     with only a master’s degree.                         Remove targeted research funding
                        per 100,000 people, aged 25-29).                                                                                          earmarks within the granting councils
  350                                                                                        Graduate Student Funding                             and award research funding based on
  300                                                                                        Funding for curiosity-driven grants in the social    academic merit determined through a
                                                                                             sciences and humanities lags far behind the          peer review process. Increase the number
  250                                                                                        applied sciences. Without proper levels of           of Canada Graduate Scholarships to be
                                                                                             funding and support for graduate students,           consistent with average program growth
  200
                                                                                             Canada’s research and innovation capacity will       and distribute them proportionally
  150                                                                                        continue to fall behind global competitors.          among the research councils according to
                                                                                             An investment in graduate students will help to      enrolment figures.
  100
                                                                                             produce the highly skilled workers that Canada
   50                                                                                        needs to compete in the global economy.
         1996
         1999
         2000
         2001
         2002
         2003
         2004
         2005
         2006
         2007
         2008
         2009
         2010

                                                                                             Students often enter graduate programs with
                                                                                             substantial debt from their previous degree.
Research and INNOVATION
Tracking success:
education statistics
Collectively, the federal and provincial governments spend billions      on students, their first post-graduation interaction with the labour
of dollars each year on post-secondary education, but adequate           market, and the relationship between education and employment.
data to fully analyse the effectiveness of that spending are not         The YITS results are necessary for fulfilling Canada’s international
collected. A recent OECD report noted that Canada does not               commitment to provide the OECD with comparable data on post-
provide sufficient post-secondary education indicators used to           secondary education.
compare countries. Although the Council of Ministers of Education        Without sufficient data, it is impossible for governments to make
has started to fund the collection of some of the missing data, it is    informed decisions about post-secondary education policies and
not a sustainable solution to the federal government’s underfunding      priorities. The absence of this information makes it extremely
of the education branch of Canada’s national statistical agency, nor     difficult to conduct further research regarding Canada’s post-
does it make up for the entire shortfall.                                secondary education system.
Canada does not currently collect information about the age of           While the impact of discontinuing this research is significant, the
students when they enter or leave the post-secondary education           amount of funding necessary to properly conduct research on
system, nor are data collected on completion rates for higher            students and the post-secondary system is relatively small. An
education or the average length that a student spends in the post-       increase of $10 million, less than 0.3 percent of what the federal
secondary system. In a more general sense, Canada lacks much             government spends on post-secondary education, would establish
of the data regarding both the inputs and outcomes of the post-
                                                                         the resources needed to undertake this research.
secondary education system.
In May 2010, the Department of Employment and Social
Development (formerly Human Resources and Skills Development             Recommendation 6
Canada) announced that it would cease funding the Youth in               Increase funding by $10 million to Statistics Canada’s
Transition Survey (YITS) and the National Longitudinal Survey            education branch for the collection and analysis of
on Children and Youth. These studies are primary sources of              statistics to properly track the impact of student debt
information about who pursues post-secondary education and               on post-secondary education completion rates and the
who does not. Among other things, they provide vital information         fulfillment of labour-market demands.

       Figure 3.5: The number of
    education-related indicators                64%           57%          63%          37%           21%          30%           22%
 Canada collects for assessment
         by the OECD has declined
                    significantly.
                                                2000           2002         2004          2006          2008        2010           2012
                                                              (Percentage of indicators collected for annual assessment)

                                                       Canadian federation of students a national vision for post-secondary education           21
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