Balancing budgets on the back of Canadian higher ed: Opinion

May 22, 2020

“Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis with depleted budgetary capacity, colleges and universities should expect governments to impose fiscal austerity measures upon them once again,” writes University of Ottawa Professor Michael A O’Neill. Harkening back to the 2008 financial crisis, O’Neill suggests that past decisions to flatten or decrease public spending on colleges and universities produced lasting consequences for higher education in Canada, such as increases to tuition, average class sizes, employment of contract teaching staff. While the author notes that such cutback are “inevitable across society,” the author argues that critical policy must be asked about the nature and impacts of these cuts on students, staff, and institutions more broadly. “Governments should resist the temptation to fix their budget deficits too quickly on the back of higher education,” concludes O’Neill. Policy Options (National)