OUSA concerned at loss of "public university model"

July 30, 2010

Ontario's universities are moving toward a point where they collect as much funds or more from students in tuition and fees as they do from the province in operating grants, says the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. By 2008, tuition and fees accounted for 43% of university revenue, up from 19% in 1988, according to research done for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. The provincial government offers a slightly different figure, putting the amount covered by tuition at closer to 40%. Given these figures, OUSA says it's time to discuss how we define a public university system, and the impact of this shift on issues of student access and institutional accountability. While OUSA is calling for more debate, what the group really wants is a return to a cost-sharing model that has students paying no more than a third of the price of their education. OUSA's president says some will argue that students should cover a bigger share of the cost, especially at a time when governments are tackling mounting debt. The present financial situation, she says, is no reason to cast aside debate on what amounts to a gradual move toward privatization. Globe and Mail