Students promote tuition freeze
The Canadian Federation of Students has told the Saskatchewan government it should put its recent tuition-freeze funding into law and establish a long-term plan for reducing tuition fees in the province.
The CFS held a news conference in Browser’s Sept. 22 to release its 12-page submission to the provincial government’s Student Financial Assistant & Accessibility Review.
It says high tuitions, which have “skyrocketed” by 227 per cent in Saskatchewan in the past 15 years, are deterring access to university and are hurting families.
“The most important education policy for students and their families is continued protection from tuition fee increases,” said Hillary Aitken, Saskatchewan Chairperson of CFS. “The freeze introduced this fall is a start, but more must be done.”
The student group’s submission outlines the impact of increasing student debt and suggests remedies for the future of Saskatchewan’s higher education system. It argues that Saskatchewan families have been hit harder than those in other provinces. Tuition increases in this province are second only to those in Alberta over the past 15 years..
“If keeping qualified graduates in the province is a priority, then the provincial government must reduce fees and implement a system of grants,” said Gavin Gardiner, Saskatchewan CFS Representative.
According to Statistics Canada, 18 per cent of university graduates in Saskatchewan have more than $25,000 in student debt, compared to 14 per cent nationally.
The group also recommends that the province pressure the federal government for dedicated transfer payments for post-secondary education, and that the province “eliminate tuition fees for Aboriginal students and implement a system of grants to provide for living costs”.