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

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

                                                                         FOR THE PUBLIC
                                                                         a national vision for
                                                                         Canada’s post-secondary
                                                                         education system      CANADIAN FEDERATION
                                                                                                      OF STUDENTS
PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD - a national vision for Canada's post-secondary education system
338 Somerset Street West
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0J9
Tel:      (613) 232 7394
Fax:      (613) 232 0276
This report is available in digital form
on the Federation’s website at

The Federation is thankful to the following student
photographers whose works were used under a
Creative Commons license in this document:
•   Cheryl Maze Walker            •   Carol Dunlop
•   Abdul Kaznizili               •   Kirsten Humphreys
•   Jon Erickson                  •   Jared Tyson
PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD - a national vision for Canada's post-secondary education system
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 students at the college, undergraduate, and graduate level, and students who study both full- and part-

BRITISH                     PRAIRIES                   ONTARIO                     ONTARIO                      ONTARIO                      MARITIMES                   NEWFOUNDLAND
COLUMBIA                    Alberta College of Art     Algoma University           (CONT’D)                     (CONT’D)                     Cape Breton University      & LABRADOR
University of British       and Design Students’       Students’ Union             Nipissing University         Trent Central Student        Students’ Union             Grenfell College Student
Columbia Students’          Association                Brock University            Student Union                Association                  Holland College Student     Union
Union Okanagan              Brandon University         Graduate Students’                                                                    Union                       Marine Institute Students’
                                                                                   Ontario College of Art and   Trent University Graduate
Camosun College             Students’ Union            Association                 Design Student Union         Student Association          University of King’s        Union
Student Society             Graduate Students’         Carleton University                                                                   College Students’ Union     Memorial University of
                                                                                   Student Federation of the    University of Western
Capilano Students’ Union    Association of the         Students’ Association       University of Ottawa         Ontario Society of           Mount Saint Vincent         Newfoundland Students’
                            University of Calgary      Carleton University                                      Graduate Students            University Students’        Union
Douglas Students’ Union                                                            Graduate Students’
                            First Nations University   Graduate Students’          Association des              Wilfrid Laurier University   Union                       Graduate Students’
Emily Carr Students’        of Canada Students’        Association                                                                                                       Union of the Memorial
Union                                                                              étudiant(e)s diplômé(e)s     Graduate Students’           University of New
                            Association                Association étudiante de    de l’Université d’Ottawa     Association                  Brunswick Graduate          University of
Kwantlen Student            University of Manitoba     la Cité collégiale                                                                    Students’ Association       Newfoundland
Association                                                                        Queen’s University           University of Windsor
                            Students’ Union            Student Association of      Society of Graduate and      Students’ Alliance           Student Union of NSCAD      College of the North
College of New              University of Manitoba     George Brown College        Professional Students                                     University                  Atlantic Students’ Union
Caledonia Students’                                                                                             University of Windsor
                            Graduate Students’         Glendon College Student     Ryerson Students’ Union      Graduate Students’           University of Prince
Union                       Association                Union                       Continuing Education         Society                      Edward Island Student
North Island Students’      University of Regina                                                                                             Union
Union                                                  University of Guelph        Students’ Association of     University of Windsor
                            Students’ Union            Central Student             Ryerson                      Organization of Part-time    University of Prince
Northwest Community         Association étudiante du   Association                                              University Students          Edward Island Graduate
College Students’ Union                                                            Saint Paul University
                            Collège universitaire de   University of Guelph        Students’ Association        York Federation of           Student Association
Okanagan College            Saint-Boniface             Graduate Students’                                       Students                     Association générale des
Students’ Union                                                                    University of Toronto at
                            University of              Association                 Scarborough Campus           York University Graduate     étudiants de l’Université
College of the Rockies      Saskatchewan Students’     Lakehead University         Students’ Union              Students’ Association        Sainte-Anne
Students’ Union             Union                      Student Union               University of Toronto
Selkirk College Students’   University of              Laurentian Association      Graduate Students’ Union
Union                       Saskatchewan Graduate      of Mature and Part-time                                  QUÉBEC
                            Students’ Association                                  University of Toronto
Simon Fraser Student                                   Students                    Students’ Union              Concordia Student Union
Society                     University of Winnipeg     Laurentian University
                            Students’ Association                                  University of Toronto        Concordia University
Students’ Union of                                     Graduate Students’          Mississauga Students’        Graduate Students
Vancouver Community                                    Association                 Union                        Association
College                                                Laurentian University                                    Dawson Student Union
                                                                                   Association of Part-Time
Thompson Rivers                                        Students’ General           Undergraduate Students
                                                       Association                                              Post-Graduate Students’
University Students’                                                               of the University of         Society of McGill
Union                                                  Association des             Toronto                      University
Vancouver Island                                       étudiantes et étudiants
University Students’                                   francophones de
Union                                                  l’Université Laurentienne
                                                       McMaster University
                                                       Graduate Students’
PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD - a national vision for Canada's post-secondary education system
PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD - a national vision for Canada's post-secondary education system
While Canada’s economy made it through the 2008 global               In the absence of national policies for post-secondary
recession in better shape than many other industrialised             education, provincial policies dealing with access and funding
countries, many workers who lost their jobs during the               have diverged dramatically from one another. Across the
recession remain unemployed. Now, the global economy looks           country, students face significantly different challenges to
to be sliding back into recession as the United States and a         pursuing higher education. This disparity threatens Canada’s
number of countries in Europe are unable to deal with massive        long-term economic stability and social equality and impacts
debts resulting from tax cuts and stimulus spending. Most            regional development and economic growth. In addition,
countries are facing the financial challenges of unemployment        Aboriginal learners across Canada continue to be marginalised
and cuts to social programs because of the close integration of      within the post-secondary education system, with enrolment
the global economy. Canada is no exception.                          rates significantly below peer groups from non-Aboriginal
With a relatively stable economy compared to other OECD              populations in spite of marked population growth in Aboriginal
countries, Canada is emerging from the global recession in           communities.
a stronger position than other comparable states. However,           Three decades of public funding that has failed to keep up
Canada’s long-term economic prosperity is threatened by              with enrolment growth has had a notable impact on students’
record-high levels of student debt and a post-secondary              educational experience, with Canada’s colleges and universities
education system that is out of reach for an increasing number       facing serious resource challenges. Class sizes have increased
of Canadians.                                                        significantly, while repairs to existing infrastructure have gone
Following the large loss of jobs during the recession,               largely unaddressed. Tuition fee increases have far exceeded
particularly in the manufacturing sector, many Canadians             the rate of inflation over the past two decades, causing the
returned to school for education and training. This, combined        average student debt to increase to over $27,000. While the
with a large cohort of high school graduates, has produced one       current funding model is unsustainable, there are realistic
of the largest classes of post-secondary students in Canada’s        options within reach.
history. While students continue to pursue higher education,         Taking advantage of Canada’s current relative economic
the saddling of a generation with billions of dollars in debt will   strength, compared to other industrialised countries, requires
have implications for Canada’s economy and socio-economic            leadership at the federal level and an important investment in
equality.                                                            students, colleges, and universities. This document outlines
This large student cohort reflects today’s economic reality:         five recommendations for the federal government to build and
higher education is essential to a successful economy. While         maintain a strong post-secondary system that trains a workforce
the recession saw a major downturn in Canada’s manufacturing         capable of competing in today’s economy.
sector, the importance of a highly skilled workforce reflects a
change that has been underway for the past two decades.
                                                    CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION                           1
PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD - a national vision for Canada's post-secondary education system
    Students are struggling to pay for their           STUDENT                              SUBSTANTIALLY MORE                    STUDENTS SAY
    post-secondary education more than any             UNEMPLOYMENT                         STUDENTS TODAY                        WORKING
    previous generation. Record-high tuition           REMAINED HIGH THIS                   WORK DURING THE                       HAS A NEGATIVE
    fees combined with the recession means             PAST SUMMER                          SCHOOL YEAR                           EFFECT ON ACADEMIC
    that those in vulnerable groups, including                                                                                    PERFORMANCE
    Aboriginal and other racialised students
    and those with disabilities, are facing
    increasing barriers to post-secondary        25%                                  50%                                   75%
    education. Higher costs and fewer
                                                 20%                                  40%                                   60%
    summer employment opportunities have
    contributed to an increasing number of       15%                                  30%                                   45%
    students working during the academic
    school year.                                 10%                                  20%                                   30%

    Students have reported that working          5%                                   10%                                   15%
    low-wage, low-skilled jobs while in school
    often has a negative impact on students’     0%                                   0%                                    0%
                                                         2008   2009   2010   2011              1976         2008                      YES
    academic performance and the quality of
    their educational experience, particularly         PERCENT OF STUDENTS WHO WERE         PERCENT OF STUDENTS WHO                STUDENTS WHO WERE ASKED IF
                                                       UNEMPLOYED DURING THE SUMMER         WORKED DURING THE YEAR, WHILE          THEY THOUGHT WORKING HAD A
    when one is working more than 20 hours                                                  ATTENDING UNIVERSITY                   NEGATIVE EFFECT ON ACADEMIC
    per week.                                                                                                                      PERFORMANCE

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

                                                                                                                                                                                                     PUBLIC OPINION POLLING
                                              WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR
                                              GOVERNMENT TO DO FOR COLLEGE AND                                      A MAJORITY
                                                                                                                    OF CANADIANS
REDUCED?                                      UNIVERSITY EDUCATION?

50%                                         50%

                                                                                                                    AGREE THAT:
                                                                               LOWER TUITION FEES
                          REDUCED - 37%                                        AND STUDENT DEBT - 52%
40%                       FROZEN - 46%      40%                                CREATE MORE SPACES FOR
                                                                               QUALIFIED STUDENTS - 19%
                          INCREASED - 13%
                                                                               REDUCE CLASS SIZES BY HIRING
30%                                         30%
                                                                               MORE PROFESSORS - 13%              •      a university or college education is
20%                                         20%
                                                                               INVEST MORE IN RESEARCH - 11%
                                                                                                                         more important than ever to get by
10%                                         10%                                                                          in today’s society;
 0%                                         0%                                                                    •      the federal government should
                                                                                                                         attach conditions to dedicated
                                                                                                                         transfer payments to the provinces;
  BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT FUNDING        OR COLLEGE EDUCATION THAN IT WAS TEN YEARS                      •      the government should invest more
                                                                                                                         in post-secondary education, even
                          AGREE - 51%                                          AGREE - 47%
                                                                                                                         if it means they have to pay slightly
                          DISAGREE - 33%                                       DISAGREE - 39%                            more in taxes;
                          NO OPINION                                           NO OPINION                         •      the government should invest in
                                                                                                                         making college and university more
                                                                                                                         affordable, even if it means a small
                                                                                                                         increase in taxes; and

                         of Canadians want the federal government to set                                          •      a university or college education
                         conditions on transfer payments to ensure that                                                  should be provided free for anyone
                         provinces use the money as intended.
                                                                                                                         who cannot afford it.

                         of Canadians think governments are not doing enough to
                         make sure that everyone who is qualified has a chance to
                         get a university or college education.                                                Results are taken from a Harris/Decima random telephone survey of 2,000 adult
                                                                                                               Canadians conducted between April 14 and April 27, 2011. The poll was commissioned

                                                                                                               by the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Canadian Federation of
                         of Canadians are against increases in tuition fees, with                              Students. National results are considered accurate within 2.2 percentage points, 19
                                                                                                               times out of 20.
                         35% supporting a reduction from current levels.
                                                                CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION                                                            3
PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD - a national vision for Canada's post-secondary education system
PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD - a national vision for Canada's post-secondary education system
   The federal government should, in cooperation with the provinces, implement a federal Post-
   Secondary Education Act modeled after the Canada Health Act, accompanied by a dedicated cash
   transfer with funding allocated to:
        • restoring per capita funding to 1992 levels;
        • reducing tuition fees to 1992 levels; and
        • eliminating deferred maintenance at Canada’s colleges and universities.

   Increase the value and number of non-repayable grants available to students by redirecting funds
   currently allocated to education-related tax credits and savings schemes to the Canada Student
   Grants Program, and allow graduate students to qualify for grants under the Program.

   Increase the number of Canada Graduate Scholarships to be consistent with average growth
   in the program since 2003 and to be distributed proportionally among the research councils
   according to enrolment figures.

   Remove the funding cap on increases to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and
   ensure that every eligible First Nations and Inuit learner is provided adequate funding to
   pursue post-secondary education.

   Increase funding by $10 million to Statistics Canada’s branch for the collection and analysis of post-
   secondary education statistics.

PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD - a national vision for Canada's post-secondary education system
For over half a century, the federal          the way for a shift towards private
government has recognised the crucial         funding as the main source of revenue
role post-secondary education plays in        for Canada’s universities and colleges.
driving economic growth, innovation,          Today, post-secondary institutions rely
and increasing social and economic            largely on private sources of funding,
equality. The substantial public              primarily through tuition and ancillary
investments that led to the expansion of      fees, to cover operating costs.
universities and the creation of colleges
in the 1960s were based on the belief         Nearly half of the operational funding
that access to post-secondary education       for universities today comes from
should be dictated by ability and desire,     students themselves, with institutions
not financial means.                          like the University of Toronto receiving
                                              more from students than from the
Canada’s public post-secondary                government.
education system has become markedly
less public over the past three decades.      Prior to these cuts, access to post-
Beginning in the 1980s, the federal           secondary education was similar from
government limited increases of transfers     province to province.
to the provinces for post-secondary           Today, tuition fees vary widely and
education, effectively decreasing per-        provincial residence is now a major factor
student funding. In 1995, the federal         of the individual cost of post-secondary
government made one of the deepest            education.
funding cuts in history, slashing transfers   In order to both reduce inequalities
to the provinces for social programs by       across socioeconomic groups and
$7 billion. In every province, with the       regional disparities and increase the
exception of Québec, this funding cut         country’s competitiveness internationally,
was passed directly to students in the        the federal government must once again
form of massive tuition fee increases.        make affordable, high quality post-
Despite the federal government posting        secondary education a high priority.
multi-billion dollar surpluses in the late
1990s and early 2000s, funding for post-
secondary education was never restored.
These cuts led most provinces to spend
less on higher education and are paving
GOVERNMENT SPENDING: 			                                                                             $13.7billion
A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES                                                                              Annual cost to the
                                                                                                      government of
                                                                                                      planned corporate
                                                                                                      tax cuts by 2013
Canadians overwhelmingly believe that the         identified investments in social programs,
federal government must provide more              reducing unemployment, or reducing poverty
support to post-secondary education. While        as their top priority. Despite this, the federal
Canada’s social programs are often targeted       government has prioritised tax cuts and            There is not enough
for budget cuts, funding such programs is         deficit reduction over needed investments in
necessary for Canada to maintain its standard     Canada’s social programs.
                                                                                                     revenue to pay for the
of living and develop its economy.                                                                   programs and services
                                                  Providing adequate funding for post-
Current funding priorities, including a fiscal    secondary education is well within the             Canadians cherish
capacity that has been reduced by multi-          government’s reach and will do far more to         most; but that is a
billion dollar tax cuts, undermine the federal    guarantee Canada’s future economic success         political problem rooted
government’s ability to adequately fund           than tax cuts or credits.
training the country’s future workforce and
                                                                                                     in years of tax cuts for
retraining out-of-work Canadians .                                                                   corporations and the
Investments in social programs, such as
health care and post-secondary education,
regularly rank as top priorities for Canadians.
                                                     60% of Canadians agree that investing in
                                                                                                       CANADIAN CENTRE
                                                                                                       FOR POLICY
In a recent poll conducted by Harris-Decima,             social programs and reducing poverty          ALTERNATIVES
only 8 per cent of Canadians identified tax              and unemployment are higher priorities        Alternative Federal
cuts, and 12 per cent deficit reduction, as              than tax cuts and deficit reduction.          Budget 2010
the most important priority for the federal
government. By comparison, over 60 per cent

                                                  CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION                 7
                                                                                     INCOME TAX SYSTEM DO ITS JOB
                       TUITION AND OTHER FEES
                       GOVERNMENT FUNDING

                                                                                     Since the federal funding cuts of the mid-            $1 million, thus justifying tuition fee increases,
                                                                                     nineties, the cost of post-secondary education        the reality is much more humble.
                                                                                     has been passed on to students. Where                 The Organisation for Economic Co-operation
                                                                                     government grants used to cover up to 80              and Development (OECD) reports that male
                                                                                     per cent of an institution’s operating budget         graduates earn only an additional $80,000 over
                                                                                     less than 30 years ago, they now covers just          their lifetime. The return is substantially lower for
                                                                                     over 50 per cent, with tuition fees covering the      female graduates who, on average, earn only an
                1979                1989           1999                2009
                                                                                     difference (Figure 1.1).                              additional $46,000.
                                                                                     While government funding has been partially           Given that at least 70 per cent of new jobs
                                                                                     restored, tuition fees have continued to rise in      require a degree, post-secondary education is
    DIVIDED BETWEEN PRIVATE FUNDING                                                  most provinces across the country. In the last        becoming more and more of a prerequisite for
        AND GOVERNMENT FUNDING                                                       fifteen years, tuition fees have become one of        participating in the labour market and earning
                                                                                     the largest expenses for many university and          an average income, not a guarantee of future
                        TUITION FEES                                                 college students, on average increasing over          wealth.
                        PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION                                        five times the rate of inflation (Figure 1.2). High
                        FOOD                                                         and rapidly increasing tuition fees limit access      The fairest method of financing the post-
  50%                   RENT                                                                                                               secondary education system is through the
                                                                                     to post-secondary education for students
                                                                                     from low- and middle-income backgrounds.              progressive income tax system.
  40%                                                                                At their current rate of increase, tuition fees       The system ensures that the wealthy and poor
                                                                                     are estimated to outpace all other student            are taxed in a fair manner, reflecting their
                                                                                     expenses combined in 15 years.                        respective ability to contribute and the personal
                                                                                     Statistics Canada has determined that students        economic benefit obtained as a result of their
                                                                                     from low-income families are less than half as        education.
  20%                                                                                likely to pursue a university education than          Canadians have made it clear that they are
                                                                                     those from high-income households.                    comfortable with increased government
                                                                                     A survey conducted by the national statistical        spending to improve access to education.
                                                                                     agency found that the most frequently-reported        According to a recent Harris/Decima public
                                                                                     reason high school students did not pursue            opinion poll, Canadians rank tuition fee
   0%                                                                                post-secondary education was financial.               reductions as the top priority for government
                                                                                                                                           investment in education.

                                                                                     Tuition fees act as a flat tax, a cost applied to
                                                                                     all students at the same rate regardless of their     The same poll also found that 67 per cent of
                                                                                     financial resources. While some argue that post-      Canadians want the federal government to
FIGURE 1.2 TUITION FEES GROW FASTER THAN                                             secondary education will significantly increase a     exercise more control over transfers to the
        ALL OTHER STUDENT COSTS                                                      student’s long-term earning potential by up to        provinces for post-secondary education.
Polling results from Quebec and Newfoundland       ratio of students to full-time faculty members
                                                                                                                                           TUITION FEES
and Labrador residents show that the majority in   increased by almost 40 per cent.                   50%
each province support free, universal education.   The 2009 federal budget allocated $2 billion
The 2007 federal budget contained the              to college and university infrastructure,          40%
largest increase to core transfer payments for     focused entirely on new building projects.
post-secondary education in the past fifteen       While the new infrastructure is welcome, it will
years, increasing transfer payments by $700        simply increase the amount of funds needed         30%
million. Although this was the largest increase    to maintain and renovate infrastructure on
in recent memory, cash transfer payments for       campuses, a cost that is already over one
post-secondary education are still roughly $1.3    billion dollars per year.
billion short of 1992 levels when accounting for   In the meantime, university and college
inflation and population growth.                   budgets are strained to such an extent that        10%
The benefits of investing in higher education      deferred maintenance poses serious health
go well beyond the individual. A highly            and safety risks at many schools across the
educated workforce increases the tax base and      country. In 2009, the Canadian Association of

reduces the cost of a number of other publicly-    University Business Officers estimated that
funded social programs, including health care,     the total value of deferred maintenance on
public safety, and employment insurance.           Canadian campuses was more than $5 billion,           FIGURE 1.3 TUITION FEES GROW
A recent report by the OECD found that the         half of which is considered urgent, a 35 per       DRAMATICALLY FASTER THAN INFLATION
direct public benefit of investing in post-        cent increase in less than a decade.

secondary education was in excess of $100,000      Despite the substantial reinvestment in post-
per individual, an amount that exceeds the         secondary education in recent years, the
costs by $62,141.                                  federal government has done little to ensure
Since the cuts to federal transfers payments       that these investments will have their desired
in the 1990s, the quality of post-secondary        impact.
                                                                                                                   of Canadians
education has declined. Class sizes have           The lack of regulations governing transfer                      believe that
increased substantially, while at the same         payments is only a symptom of the lack of                       the cost of a
time institutions have pushed to casualise         identified vision for Canada’s post-secondary                   post-secondary
the academic workforce, replacing full-time        education system. Without such a vision or
                                                                                                                   education is too
tenured faculty members with overworked and        regulatory framework, federal investments will
inadequately compensated contract academic         continue to be undermined and devalued.
staff. In addition, between 1990 and 2006, the

                                                      CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION                                                               9
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR FEDERAL                       tuition fees differ greatly from province to
FUNDING NEEDED                                   province (Figure 1.4).
The federal government has minimised its
responsibility to ensure that federal funds      FEDERAL CASH TRANSFERS FOR
for social programs are used as intended         POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
and as a result, provincial governments
have been free to misallocate federal            To return to a level of federal funding
transfers intended for post-secondary            equivalent to the level before the cuts of
education. Although the federal                  the mid-nineties would mean a dedicated
government is one of the single largest          post-secondary education transfer to the
sources of funding for post-secondary            provinces of approximately $4.9 billion.
education, there is no mechanism to ensure       The federal government currently allocates
that the monies transferred to provincial        just over $3.5 billion as part of the social
governments actually make it into the post-      transfer; however, there is no guarantee
secondary system.                                for the provinces to spend this money
Under previous federal-provincial cost-          on increasing access to post-secondary
sharing models, the provinces had to             education. Since the funding cuts in
invest their own funds in order to receive       the early 1990s, full-time enrolment has
federal monies. If a provincial government       increased 24.85%, resulting in an increase
chose to cut funding, federal transfers were     of $637 million in costs to the system that
reduced by a proportionate amount. The           are yet to be addressed by the federal
current block-funding model—the Canada           government.
Social Transfer—has no requirement that          Additionally, similar to the health care
provincial governments maintain their            system, university and college-related costs
funding in order to receive federal money.       increase at a much higher rate than the
Indeed, there have been numerous                 standard consumer price index. Over the
examples of provinces receiving additional       previous eighteen years there has been,
federal funds that then reduce their own         on average, an annual post-secondary
contribution. For example, in 2008, the          education-related inflation of three per
Government of British Columbia cut               cent, per year, or about $1.7 billion over
funding to universities by $50 million in the    that period.
same year that it received over $110 million     When compared to current federal
in new post-secondary education funding          funding levels, there is a funding gap of
from the federal government. Due to              approximately $2.3 billion.
variations in provincial funding and policies,
                             AB                    $3,588
                                                     MB                                                             $2,624
        $4,802                                                                       $2,415                           NL
          BC                                                                           QC
                                        SK                                                                   $5,131
                                                                        $6,307                  $5,516        PEI
                                                                          ON                     NB

A FEDERAL POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT                                                                     NS
The adoption of a post-secondary education act would establish
conditions on the provinces for receiving post-secondary
education transfers payments. Such legislation would require
provinces to uphold principles similar to those found in the                                 FIGURE 1.4 MAP OF
Canada Health Act: public administration, comprehensiveness,                           TUITION FEES ACROSS CANADA
universality, portability, and accessibility. In return for upholding
these principles, provincial governments would receive                       Average domestic undergraduate arts and science
adequate and predictable funding from the federal government.                tuition fees in 2011-12.

                The federal government should 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:
                • restoring per capita funding to 1992 levels;
                • reducing tuition fees to 1992 levels; and
                • eliminating deferred maintenance at Canada’s colleges and universities.

                                                      CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION          11
$2.3billion                        STUDENTS TODAY ARE
    Amount that the Canada Student
Loans Program expects to lend for the
                      2011-12 year.
                                                BURIED IN DEBT

         $2.52                     billion
    Approximate cost of education tax
                                                Past federal and provincial government
                                                decisions are forcing students to take on more
                                                education-related debt than any previous
                                                generation while middle class earnings have
                                                                                                    THE IMPACT OF DEBT ON STUDENTS
                                                                                                    AND SOCIETY
                                                                                                    Many potential students are reluctant to take
                                                                                                    on the required debt and associated risk
  credits and savings schemes for the           largely stagnated in the past twenty years. As      required to pay for a college or university
                        2010-11 year.           a result, Canadians are making sacrifices to        degree.
                                                prepare themselves for an evolving workplace.
                                                                                                    Research has found that debt aversion is
                                                Skyrocketing tuition fees and the prevalence        strong among those who chose not to pursue
                                                of loan-based financial assistance have pushed      post-secondary education. Of the 70 per cent
                                                student debt to historic levels.                    of high school graduates who cite financial
 [Canada Education
                                                This past year, almost 430,000 students were        reasons as the main factor of not pursuing
 Savings Grants]’s give                         forced to borrow in order to finance their          post-secondary education, one in four cited
 scarce public funds to                         education.                                          accumulation of debt as the biggest deterrent.
 the wrong households...                        The aggregate of loans disbursed by the             Those from marginalised communities and
 the CESG program                               Canada Student Loans Program, less the              low-income backgrounds and single parents
 should be discontinued.                        aggregate of loan repayments received, is           are more likely to be strongly averse to
                                                increasing by nearly $1 million dollars a day.      accumulating student debt.
   KEVIN MILLIGAN                               In September 2010, the total amount of              Research finds that debt levels have a direct
   UBC Economist                                student loans owed to the government                impact on success and retention. Students
                                                reached $15 billion, the legislative ceiling set    with higher debt levels are far less likely to
                                                by the Canada Student Financial Assistance          complete their degree or diploma.
         Student debt loads have                Act. In response, the government altered the        After graduation, student debt distorts career
                                                definition of “student loan” to exclude over
         never been higher... The                                                                   choice, especially among professionals, which
                                                $1.5 billion in federal student debt.               in turn undermines access to health care and
         result is many students
                                                Even with this new definition, it is expected       legal aid.
         fall into a hole they can’t            that federal student debt will hit $15 billion by   Studies of medical and law students found
         easily climb out of.                   January 2013.                                       that debt levels prompt these students to seek
           LAURIE CAMPBELL,                     This figure only accounts for a portion of total    higher paying jobs in fields or regions that
           Executive Director - Credit Canada   student debt; it does not include provincial        are not necessarily their first choice or where
                                                and personal loans, lines of credit, and            demand is highest. Student debt appears to
                                                education-related credit card debt.                 be driving committed young doctors away
from family practice and young lawyers away from public and               those from high-income backgrounds, as individuals from low-income
community service work.                                                   families often do not have the funds necessary to invest in the first
High levels of debt also discourage individuals from starting families,   place.
working in the public service, purchasing a home, and pursuing low        This $2.5 billion, if used instead for upfront grants, could allow every
paying or volunteer experience in a career-related field of study that    dollar loaned by the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) to be a
may be necessary to get a middle-income job.                              non-repayable grant. The CSLP expects to lend approximately $2.3
                                                                          billion during the 2011-12 academic year. If the amount of money the
                                                                          federal government spent on savings schemes and education-related
INVEST IN EFFECTIVE MEASURES: GRANTS NOT LOANS                            tax credits each year is simply shifted to the Canada Student Grants
While creating the Canada Student Grants Program was an important         Program, student debt owed to the federal government could be
first step to meaningfully reducing student debt, a larger investment     greatly reduced.
in up-front grants is required. The tax credit and education savings
schemes currently operated by the federal government allow for
personal income tax savings on education-related costs and a
higher rate of return on education-related savings, respectively. The
                                                                               RECOMMENDATION 2
indications are, however, that the total cost of the programs will                       Increase the value and number of
exceed $2.5 billion this year, making them by far the government’s                       non-repayable grants available to
most expensive direct spending measure.                                                  students by redirecting funds allocated
Despite their large price tag, the education tax credit and savings                      to education-related tax credits
programs are very poor instruments to improve access to post-                            and savings schemes to the Canada
secondary education and relieve student debt. All students qualify                       Student Grants Program, and allow
for tax credits, regardless of financial need, which disproportionatly                   graduate students to qualify for grants
benefits those with the lowest amount of debt and those from                             under the Program.
high-income backgrounds. Savings schemes have largely benefitted

                                                     CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION                   13
Investment in graduate studies provides the        keeping pace with the increases in graduate          150,000
foundation for long-term innovation and trains     student enrolment.
the highly skilled workers and researchers that    In addition, recent federal budgets have

are needed to respond to the economic and          also directed research funding to the short-         130,000
social challenges Canada faces now and in the      term priorities of the private sector, thus
future.                                            undermining basic research and long-term

Despite the relatively high level of university    innovation. The 2009 budget provided                 110,000
graduation, Canada ranks last among peer           funding to the Social Sciences and Humanities
countries for PhD graduation (Figure 3.3),         Research Council (SSHRC) for additional
notwithstanding a dramatic expansion of            Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS), which            90,000
graduate studies over the last ten years.          was greatly needed, but stipulated that
Enrolment in graduate studies increased by         they only be given for commercialisable
41.5 per cent between 1998 and 2008 (Figure        research. Research funded by the Natural                  0






3.1). However, there have been only modest         Sciences and Engineering Research Council
funding increases to the federal research          (NSERC) has also become increasingly
                                                   directed toward government-prioritised                          FIGURE 3.1: GRADUATE ENROLMENT
granting councils and scholarships that make
graduate education affordable. The stagnation      sectors of the economy rather than the
in federal funding for research and graduate       academic community. This approach of                  $8,000
education limits the number of masters and         directing research priorities undermines the
                                                                                                         $7,000                 ACTUAL TUITION FEES
doctoral students that receive grants, thus        independence and peer review process of                                      INFLATION
reducing the pool of highly skilled researchers    Canada’s research community and does                  $6,000

to those who are able to afford it personally or   a disservice to the role of curiosity-based           $5,000
who are able to secure limited institutional or    research in public universities.
industry funding.
Leading up to the 2009 budget, there had           BARRIERS TO ACCESS
been modest improvements to research               Graduate students often face a variety of
funding delivered through the federal granting     challenges in pursuing their studies, including

councils. However, cuts contained in the 2009      limited funding options, an increasingly                  $0
budget undermined the progress that had            commercialised and restrictive research











been made towards recovering from the              environment, rising tuition fees, little access to
larger cuts of the 1990s. These reductions have    needs-based grants, and high levels of student                    FIGURE 3.2: GRADUATE TUITION
prevented funding for university research from     debt from previous degrees. This year, average                    FEES COMPARED TO INFLATION

                                                     CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION                                                                 15
800                                                                                                                                                                                        SPENDING
     700                                                                                                                                                                                        RETURN ON INVESTMENT                    The failure to fund
     600                                                                                                                                                                                                                                world-class universities
     500                                                                                                                                                                                                                                is one explanation for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Canada’s comparative
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        weaknesses in
     200                                                                                                                                                                         $30
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        high-level academic
       0                                                                                                                                                                         $20
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        its associated















                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        weaknesses in
                                                                                                                                                                                       2003       2004      2006         2007
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           BOARD OF CANADA
                                                      FIGURE 3.3 PHD GRADUATES                                                                                                   FIGURE 3.4: RETURN ON INVESTMENT                          Education and Skills Report Card
                    (Number of PhD graduates per 100,000 people, aged 25-29)                                                                                                          IN COMMERCIALISATION
                                                                                                                                                                                              (In millions of dollars)

       tuition fees for graduate students increased                                                                                    the broader research aims of the country.                              highlighted the need for Canada to increase
       by 3.7 per cent, to over $5,600 (Figure 3.2).                                                                                   Further, it discourages corporate investment in                        the sophistication and innovative nature of
       Despite their significant investment of time and                                                                                their own research facilities, leading to fewer                        private sector research and development. This
       money, a recent study indicated that doctoral                                                                                   employment opportunities for researchers in                            year, Canada slipped from seventh to eleventh
       graduates earn little more–and in some                                                                                          an already difficult job market. The result of                         place for university-industry collaboration
       instances less–than those with only a master’s                                                                                  this restructuring is that many highly-skilled                         and from eighth to ninth place for the quality
       degree.                                                                                                                         workers are often unable to contribute to their                        of scientific research institutions, but more
                                                                                                                                       full potential.                                                        dramatically ranked 24th and 25th on capacity
                                                                                                                                       Federal funding geared towards market-driven                           for innovation and company spending on
       COMMERCIALISATION OF RESEARCH                                                                                                                                                                          research and development, respectively.
                                                                                                                                       research programs has resulted in the private
       The drive to commercialise university research                                                                                  sector increasingly relying on public universities                     Canada ranked eleventh for innovation in
       has a number of negative consequences.                                                                                          for research and development. This corporate                           the report, behind the United States, Japan,
       As jobs in government research facilities are                                                                                   reliance contributes directly to Canada lagging                        Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland, among
       becoming increasingly scarce, universities are                                                                                  behind comparable countries in private-sector                          others.
       replacing tenure-track professors with contract                                                                                 investment in research and development and                             As this trend continues, private sector research
       academic staff and graduates are having a                                                                                       the products those labs produce.                                       and development infrastructure is giving way to
       harder time finding employment in their field.                                                                                                                                                         a publicly-backed university system that does
                                                                                                                                       Canada has consistently ranked low on indexes
       Replacing the public interest with private                                                                                      that measure innovation. The World Economic                            not have a consistent track-record of bringing
       sector commercialisation as the driving                                                                                         Forum’s annual competitiveness report                                  innovations to the marketplace.
       motivator for university research undermines

Since the late 1990s, a number of initiatives have been undertaken to       levels of funding and support for graduate students, Canada’s
transform public university infrastructure to meet the government’s         research and innovation capacity will continue to fall behind that
commercialisation objectives, such as requiring publicly-funded             of other countries. An investment in graduate students will help
research to seek direct, private sector investment.                         produce the highly skilled workers that Canada needs to compete in
University research geared towards commercialisation is focused             the global economy.
on producing products that can yield short-term results, with little        Students often enter graduate programs with substantial debt from
consideration of long-term research and innovation goals. As                their previous degree. However, there are currently no need-based
research funding is increasingly directed in this way, basic research       grants available to graduate students from the federal government.
and academic pursuits are undermined.                                       Students from low-income families have a harder time affording
Recent increases in funding for the federal research granting               graduate studies due to their lack of grants (which they they would
councils, especially those resources dedicated to graduate students,        have had access to in their undergraduate degrees). In the absence
have disproportionately benefited applied research programs                 of a grants program, Canada will continue to lose many highly
that are designed to pursue a commercialised agenda over basic,             qualified people to the labour market before they finish their studies
curiosity-driven research.                                                  because of individual financial challenges.
The encroachment of the private sector into universities undermines         Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) provide merit-based funding
the independence of the academy, as money for research is                   directly to graduate students. These scholarships are administered
increasingly tied to entities outside the normal academic system.           through the granting councils and are one of the main mechanisms
These corporations often influence decisions that are normally left         for the federal government to fund graduate studies. The limited
to the research community, such as investment in maintenance,               number of scholarships available has meant that many of the best
research facilities or new infrastructure. The research community can       and brightest researchers are unable to maximise their potential.
also come under pressure from private interests that fund research          Increasing the number of CGSs would help promote graduate
to not report results that are against the economic interests of the        research and ensure that graduate students have the resources
private funding source. Despite the threats of an increasingly private      to focus on their research, which will pay long-term dividends for
funding model to the independence of university research, there is          Canada’s research capacity and innovation.
currently no whistle-blower protection for graduate students who
wish to report research misconduct.
                                                                                RECOMMENDATION 3
GRADUATE STUDENT FUNDING                                                                  Increase the number of Canada
Although funding for the granting councils has increased slightly in                      Graduate Scholarships to be
recent years, it has never fully recovered from the cuts of the 1990s.                    consistent with average growth in
Despite the fact that funding has failed to keep pace with the rising                     the program since 2003 and to be
enrolment of graduate students, the 2009 federal budget cut $148                          distributed proportionally among
million from the granting councils. This came at a time when most
                                                                                          the research councils according to
countries were investing heavily in their university research capacities.
                                                                                          enrolment figures.
Funding for discovery-type grants in the social sciences and
humanities lags far behind the applied sciences. Without proper

                                                     CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION                     17
Improving the social and
economic well-being of the              KEEPING THE PROMISE:
Aboriginal population is not
only a moral imperative; it is          FUNDING FOR ABORIGINAL
a sound investment which will
pay substantial dividends in the
coming decades. Aboriginal
education must be a key
component in any such effort.”          ABORIGINAL LEARNERS                                Lower Aboriginal participation rates in post-
                                        Post-secondary education plays a vital role        secondary education can be attributed to the
  CENTRE FOR THE STUDY                                                                     significant and complex barriers that Aboriginal
  OF LIVING STANDARDS                   in improving the standard of living and
                                        developing a more equitable society.               students face.
  2009 Research Report
                                        Targetted investments in post-secondary            Research has found that Aboriginal people
                                                                                           are much more likely to be debt-averse and

                                        education are critical improvements to the well
                           billion      being of Aboriginal peoples and communities.
                                        Canada’s Aboriginal population is growing
                                                                                           more reluctant to use loan-based programs if
                                                                                           they are in financial need. Aboriginal students
                                                                                           are also more likely to enter post-secondary
                                        at six times the rate of the non-Aboriginal        education at a later age given the higher
    the potential GDP contribution of   population. According to the 2006 census, over     likelihood they will have dependents. This leads
    Aboriginal Canadians over the       one million people, roughly four per cent of       to higher costs such as childcare and relocation.
    next twenty years if Aboriginal     Canada’s population, identified as Aboriginal.
    education levels rose to match                                                         Additionally, approximately 20 per cent of
                                        Of these, 48 per cent were under the age of        the First Nations’ population is unemployed,
    those of the general population.    24. It is estimated that over 300,000 Aboriginal   including a staggering 41 per cent of those in
                                        youth could enter the labour force in the next     the 15-24 year age group. Unemployment limits
                                        15 years alone.                                    financial resources for families to pay for the
                                        In May 2009, the Centre for the Study of Living    rising costs of college or university.
 [The] two percent increase to the      Standards reported that closing the educational
 overall [PSSSP] budget does not        gap would lead to an additional $179 billion
 meet the increasing costs of tuition   in direct GDP growth, and over $400 billion in     FUNDING FOR ABORIGINAL EDUCATION
 and other expenses, such as cost       total growth over the next 20 years.               Currently, the federal government provides
 of living and books, and it has been   Education’s place as a right for Aboriginal        financial assistance to status First Nations and
 recommended by the Standing            peoples comes from a series of treaties signed     Inuit students through the Post-Secondary
                                        over the course of several decades and is          Student Support Program (PSSSP), which was
 Committee on Aboriginal Affairs
                                        recognised in Canada’s Constitution.               created to alleviate the financial barriers faced
 and Northern Affairs that it be                                                           by Aboriginal students by covering the costs of
 eliminated for the PSE program.        However, despite the clear economic and            tuition fees, books, supplies, travel, and living
                                        moral necessity to ensure access to education      expenses.
    INDIAN AND NORTHERN                 for Aboriginal peoples, funding for their
    AFFAIRS CANADA                      education has remained stagnant for over a         In 1968, the Department of Indian Affairs
    Evaluation of the Postsecondary                                                        and Northern Development Canada (INAC)
    Education Program                   decade.
                                                                                           began providing direct funding for First
Nations and Inuit students to pursue post-        each year. It is estimated that between 2001       required. Beyond this, an additional $233
secondary education. In 1977-78, only 3,600       and 2006, over 10,500 people were denied           million is needed to address the roughly 19,000
students received funding; by 1999-2000, over     funding, with roughly 3,000 more denied            students that have previously been denied
27,000 students were funded. Nevertheless,        evey subsequent year. Due to the shortfall         funding. This funding would support a total
educational attainment levels of Aboriginal       in funding, priority is often given to shorter     of roughly 40,000 students across Canada.
peoples remain significantly lower than the       college programs—to the detriment of               The funding disbursed through the PSSSP
overall population.                               those interested in pursuing more expensive        has a proven track record, as most Aboriginal
Before 1992, funding was determined by            professional or graduate programs of study.        students who receive funding through the
the number of eligible students and their         According to the Assembly of First Nations, a      PSSSP succeed in completing their studies
expenses. Between 1992 and 1997, the model        total of $569 million is required to ensure that   and go on to find meaningful work. Regardless
shifted from per-student funding to block         no Aboriginal student is denied access to post-    of their place of residence, the majority of
funding, to be administered by local Band         secondary education due to financial barriers,     Aboriginal graduates return to work in their
Councils.                                         and that those students who are funded             communities and are employed in their field
                                                  receive an adequate level of support.              of study, achieving economic self-reliance
In 1996, increases in funding were capped at a                                                       and helping to develop healthy and stable
maximum of two per cent annually. As a result     As Aboriginal Affairs and Northern                 communities.
of this limit on increases, funding has been      Development Canada currently provides $306
unable to keep up with increasing living costs,   million, an additional $263 million would be
inflation, and tuition fees, which increased by
four per cent on average this year alone.
Approximately 27,000 Aboriginal students
received financial assistance prior to the
                                                         RECOMMENDATION 4
implementation of the funding cap. By 2006,                        Remove the funding cap on increases to the Post-
the number had fallen to just over 22,000.                         Secondary Student Support Program and ensure that
The lack of funding has meant communities
                                                                   every eligible First Nations and Inuit learner is provided
administering the funds are faced with                             adequate funding to attend post-secondary education.
difficult decisions about who receives funding
                                                       CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION                  19
Collectively, the federal and provincial governments spend billions    will also make it extremely difficult to conduct further research
of dollars each year on post-secondary education,                      regarding the post-secondary education system.
but adequate data to fully analyse the effectiveness of that           While the impact of discontinuing this research is significant, the
spending are not collected. A 2006 report by the OECD noted that       amount of funding necessary to properly conduct research on
Canada could not provide data on 57 of the 96 post-secondary           students and the post-secondary system is relatively small. An
education indicators used to compare countries. Although the           increase of $10 million, less than 0.3 per cent of what the federal
Council of Ministers of Education has started to fund the collection   government spends on post-secondary education, would establish
of some of the missing statistics by Statistics Canada, it is not a    the resources needed to undertake this research.
sustainable solution to the federal government’s underfunding of
the education branch of Canada’s national statistical agency, nor
does it make up for the entire shortfall.
For example, Canada does not currently collect information about
the age of students when they enter or leave the post-secondary
                                                                              RECOMMENDATION 5
education system, nor are data collected on completion rates for                         Increase funding by $10 million
higher education or the average length that a student spends in                          to Statistics Canada’s branch
the post-secondary system. In a more general sense, Canada lacks                         for the collection and analysis
much of the data regarding both the inputs and outcomes of the                           of postsecondary education
post-secondary education system.                                                         statistics.
In May 2010, the Department of Human Resources and Skills                                Re-introduce the mandatory long-
Development Canada announced that it would cease funding the                             form census.
Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) and the National Longitudinal
Survey on Children and Youth. These studies are primary sources                          Undo cuts to post-secondary
of information on who pursues post-secondary education and who                           education-related statistics
does not. Amongst other things, they provide vital information                           collection programs.
on students, their first post-graduation interaction with the labour
market, and the relationship between education and employment.
The YITS results are necessary for fulfilling Canada’s international
commitment to provide the OECD with comparable data on post-
secondary education.
Without the data supplied by these studies, it will be difficult for
governments to make informed decisions about post-secondary
education policies and priorities. The absence of this information

                                                         CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS A NATIONAL VISION FOR POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION       21
     With an annual investment of $2.24 billion, and the adoption of a post-secondary education act, the federal government can
     ensure that the Canadian public post-secondary education system remains accessible and of high quality. A single investment
     of $5.2 billion, spread across several years, will address outstanding deferred maintenance and safety issues at institutions and
     ensure that previously-denied Aboriginal learners receive requisite funding. Investing in post-secondary education is not an
     option, but a necessity. It will pay substantial dividends in economic growth and ensure that everyone in Canada can benefit from
     higher education and an educated workforce.

                                                                                                    COST OF PROPOSALS
                                                                                                                        (amounts in millions)

                                                                                             CREATION OF NEW PSE ACT      $              0
                                                                                  ADDRESSING TUITION FEE INCREASES        $         1,300       NOTE 1
                                                                        ADDRESSING COSTS OF ENROLMENT INCREASES           $           637
                                                                        INCREASE FUNDING FOR ABORIGINAL EDUCATION         $           263
                                           INCREASE FUNDING TO STATISTICS CANADA CENTRE FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS          $             10
                                                           INCREASE THE NUMBER OF CANADA GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIPS            $            25
                                           SHIFT FUNDING FROM TAX CREDITS AND SAVING SCHEMES TO UPFRONT GRANTS            $              0

                                                                                           TOTAL ANNUAL INVESTMENT        $        2,235

                                                                                ADDRESSING DEFERRED MAINTENANCE           $        5,000        NOTE 2
                                                               CLEAR BACKLOG OF FUNDING FOR ABORIGINAL EDUCATION          $           233

                                                                                          TOTAL ONE-TIME INVESTMENT       $        5,233

                                                        NOTE 1 : FUNDING TO REDUCE TUITION FEES ACROSS CANADA TO 1992 LEVELS.
                                                        NOTE 2 : FUNDING OF $1 BILLION PER YEAR FOR FIVE YEARS.

                                                                                                                                                                     the    facts           about post-secondary education
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Fall 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Local•Section 1281

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Canadian Federation of Students
                                                                                                  Strategy for Change:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   LOI CANADIENNE
                                                                                             Money Does Matter                                                                                                                                                                                                             CANADA POST-SECONDARY                                 SUR L’ENSEIGNEMENT
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               EDUCATION ACT                                       POSTSECONDAIRE
                                                                                                                                                         Post-Secondary Education Tax Credits
                                                                                                                                                                              Billions in Misdirected “Financial Aid”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               the number of months enrolled in post-secondary education
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     BILL C-X                              PROJET DE LOI C-X
                                                                                                                                                     Background                                                                multiplied by $65 for full-time students and $20 for full-time
                                                                                                                                                     As defined by the federal government’s Department of                      students.
                                                                                                                                                     Finance, tax expenditures include “exemptions, deductions,
                                                                                                                                                     rebates, deferrals and credits” that serve “to advance a wide Scholarship, fellowship and bursary tax credit: all                                                  An Act relating to post-secondary education ob-   Loi concernant les objectifs de l’enseignement

      Public Risk Private Gain                                                                                                                       range of economic, social, environmental, cultural and other amounts received for post-secondary scholarships,                                                      jectives and to cash contributions by Canada       postsecondaire et les contributions pécuniaires
                                                                                                                                                     public policy objectives”.                                                fellowships and bursaries exempt from tax, where these                                    in respect of post-secondary education under       versées par le Canada au titre de l’enseigne-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               amounts are received in connection with enrolment in a                                    provincial administration and to amend certain     ment postsecondaire de compétence pro-
                                                                                                                                                     Since the mid-1990s, federal governments have increasingly program for which the student can claim the education tax
                                                                                                                                                     favoured tax expenditures over directly allocated student                                                                                                           Acts in consequence thereof.                       vinciale et modifiant d’autres lois en con-
    An introduction to the commercialisation of university research                                                                                  financial assistance. In total,
                                                                                                                                                     federal tax expenditures for                                                                           Registered Education Savings
                                                                                                                                                     post-secondary students have                                                                           Plans: Contributions to
                                                                                                                                                                                            Figure 1. Each year, the federal government spends more on
                                                                                                                                                     grown from $566 million in             education related tax breaks for families earning over $70,000
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Registered Education Savings
                                      2009                                                                                                           1996 to more than $2.4 billion         than it does on needs based grants.                             Plans (RESPs) grow tax-free until
                                                                                                                                                     in 2009.1 This represents a 431%                                                                       the time that they are withdrawn,
                       National Graduate Caucus                                                                                                      increase and more than seven                           Tax Credits Transferred                         at which point the saved amount                              As proposed by the Canadian Association           Proposé par l’Association canadienne des
                    Canadian Federation of Students                                                                                                  times the amount the federal                           to High Income Earners                          is taxable as income for the                                         of University Teachers                     professeures et professeurs d’université
                                                                                                                                                     government’s granting program                                                                          beneficiary. For more information,
                                                                                                                                                     will distribute in student                                       $432M                                 see the Canadian Federation of                                                  2007                                               2007
                                                                                                                                                     financial aid.                                                                                         Students’ factsheet on the RESP
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 $345M                                      program at
                                                                                                                                                     The collection of tax
                                                                                                                                                     expenditures offered by the                                                                            All of the post-secondary tax
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Low- and Middle-Income                                     credits can be used either by the
                                                                                                                                                     federal government for post-
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Canada Student Grants                                   student or transferred to a family
                                                                                                                                                     secondary education fall into
                                                                                                                                                     two categories: tax credits for                                                                        member. Registered Education
                                                                                                                                                     expenses that have already been                                                                        Saving Plans are, in the vast
                                                                                                                                                     incurred; and tax deductible savings plans to be used for                 majority of cases, established by parents for their children’s
                                                                                        An alternative for accessible, high-quality                                                                                            future   education    costs.
                                                                                                                                                     future education costs.
                                                                                                post-secondary education
                                                                                                                                                     Education Tax Credit: Students may claim a 16% tax credit
                                                                                                                                                     for the accrued “education amount”. The education amount
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           A Poor Approach to Reducing Student Debt
                                                                                                                                                     is equal to the number of months enrolled in post-secondary           The non-refundable education and tuition fees tax credits
                                                                                                                                                     education multiplied by $400 for full-time students and $120          have been the most widely used and expensive federal tax
                                                                                                                                                     for part-time students.                                               measures for post-secondary education. In the 2007 tax
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           year, the most recent year for which statistics are available,
                                                                                                                                                     Tuition Fee Tax Credit: Students may claim a 16% tax
                         National Office • Bureau national                                                                                                                                                                 2,688,240 claims were filed for the education, tuition fee and
                                                                                                                                                     credit for tuition fees and ancillary fees paid. In 1987, it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           student loan interest credits, costing the federal government
                       338 rue Somerset Street West / Ouest                                                                                          became possible to transfer this credit to a spouse, parent, or
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           almost $1.8 billion in foregone tax revenue.2
                                 Ottawa, Ontario                                                                                                     grandparent. As of 1997, this credit may be carried forward
                                                                                        Canadian Federation of Students                              for application in future tax returns.                                This massive public expenditure, if offered as upfront
                                     K2P 0J9                                                                                                                                                                               grants, could have almost eliminated the need for students
                                                                                                                                                     Student Loan Interest Tax Credit: Students may claim
                                 (613) 232-7394                                                     October 2007                                                                                                           to borrow. For example, the Canada Student Loans Program
                                                                                                                                                     a 16% tax credit for the interest paid in a year during
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           expects to lend roughly $2.2 billion during the 2009-10
                                                                                                                            repayment of a Canada Student Loan and provincial
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           academic year.3 In other words, if the amount of money the
                                                                                                                                                     student loan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           federal government spent on education related tax credits
                                                                                                                                                     Textbook Tax Credit: Students may claim a 16% tax credit              this year had been shifted to the “front-end” in the form
                                                                                                                                                     for the assigned “textbook amount”. The amount is equal               of grants through the Canada Student Grants Program,

 A PRIMER ON THE                                                                STRATEGY FOR CHANGE:                                                                                                                                                                                                                    POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT
 COMMERCIALISATION OF                                                           AN ALTERNATIVE PROPOSAL FOR                                         FACT SHEET: POST-SECONDARY
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY
 UNIVERSITY RESEARCH                                                            STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE                                        EDUCATION TAX CREDITS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Local•Section 1281

                                                                                                                                                                      the    facts          about post-secondary education
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fall 2009
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Canadian Federation of Students

                                                                                                                                                                                         Student Employment

                                                                                                                                                      Introduction                                                        Work and Academic Success
                                                                                                                                                      Employment is an important source of income for                     Studies have found that working a significant number of
                                                                                                                                                      students. According to Statistics Canada, income from               hours (over 20 per week) while in school has a negative
                                                                                                                                                      employment held during the current academic year was                impact on academic success. Roughly 60% of university
                                                                                                                                                      the second most commonly used source of funding after               students who worked during the year reported that it had
                                                                                                                                                      personal savings. In fact, 63% of students age 20-24 relied         a negative impact on their academic performance. One in
                                                                                                                                                      on employment to finance their education and over 25%               four of these students rated the impact as significant. 9, 10

                                                                                                                                                      cited income from current employment as their most                  Working during the year also decreases a student’s
                                                                                                                                                      important source of funding.1                                       likelihood of finishing their degree. Statistics Canada’s
                                                                                                                                                      Although there are several reasons that students are                Youth in Transition study found that, “working at all
                                                                                                                                                      increasingly combining work with school, rapidly                    and working more hours both have a negative effect on
                                                                                                                                                      increasing tuition fees are most likely the biggest factor.         persistence”.11

                                                                                                                                                      Undergraduate tuition fees in Canada have increased                 While employment can help a student gain work
                                                                                                                                                      almost 300% from an average of $1,706 in 1991-92 to                 experience and pay for expenses, students who work
                                                                                                                                                      $4,917 in 2009-10.2 International students are often                over 20 hours a week and rely on employment to pay for
                                                                                                                                                      charged tuition fees of up to $15,000 per year, and some            the increasing cost of their education find themselves at a
                                                                                                                                                      professional students in excess of $25,000. Tuition fees have       disadvantage. As tuition fees and other costs continue to

                                                                                                                                                      grown to become the single largest expense for most                 rise, more and more students are finding little choice but to
                                                                                                                                                      post-secondary students.                                            take on more work.
                                                                                                                                                      The 2006 College Student Survey (CSS) asked Canadian
                                                                                                                                                      college students why they worked. A majority said that              Summer Employment
                                                                                                                                                      they worked to “pay for necessities” while another 10               In summer 2009 student unemployment rose to over 20%,
                                                                                                                                                      percent said they worked to “pay for school or                      the second highest rate ever recorded. The combination of

                                                                                                                                                      school-related debt”. Today, one in four college and                students having less savings from summer work, family’s
                                                                                                                                                      university students depend on working to make ends                  savings and income being diminished as a result of the
                                                                                                                                                      meet.                                                               economic downturn and students facing higher tuition fees
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          than ever before has resulted in one-third of college and
                                                                                                                                                      Working during studies                                              university students saying they will run out of money by
                                                                                                                                                      During the 2008-09 year, 48% of full-time students between          the end of the Fall semester.12
                                                                                                                                                      the ages of 20 and 24 worked during the school year,                More than 4 in 10 students rely on earnings from summer
                                                                                                                                                      compared to just 26.6% of their counterparts in 1976.4              employment to pay for their tuition fees and living costs.
                                                                                                                                                      Part-time students worked even more, with 91% of those              For these students, savings from summer work account for
                                                                                                                                                      between the ages of 20-29 being employed during the                 over one-third of their money for the year.
                                                                                                                                                      course of their degree.5 The number of full-time students
                                                                                                                                                      working more than 35 hours per week has almost doubled
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Summer Canada Career Placement Program
                                                                                                                                                      over the past two decades.6                                         The Summer Career Placement Program was created
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          by the federal government in the mid-nineties to help
                                                                                                                                                      Full-time students who work do so an average of 15
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          students find summer employment and get career-
                                                                                                                                                      hours per week, while part-time students work more than
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          building work experience. The Program is a partnership
                                                                                                                                                      30 hours per week. Over the course of their degree an               between employers and the federal government in which
                                                                                                                                                      increasing number of students rely on employment, with              the government subsidises private, public and non-profit
                                                                                                                                                      over 50% more students working during the last year of              employers to hire students over the summer. In 1996, a
                                                                                                                                                      their degree than their first.7                                     study done by the government found that nearly 7 in 10
                                                                                                                                                      Female students report working more than their male                 participating employers would not have hired a student
                                                                                                                                                      counterparts. In 2008, female students were 25 % more               without the program, which indicates that the program
                                                                                                                                                      likely to be employed during the academic year. 8                   created summer employment for over 50,000 students.

                             CA NAD I A N F E D E RAT I O N O F ST U D E N TS

 FACT SHEET: FUNDING FOR POST-                                                  FACT SHEET: TUITION FEES                                            FACT SHEET: STUDENT                                                                                                                                                 THE TUITION FEE TRAP
 SECONDARY EDUCATION                                                                                                                                EMPLOYMENT                                                                                                                                                

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