OTTAWA–Nearly 50% of funding for Canada’s post-secondary institutions comes from private sources according to a report released today by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“High tuition fees have replaced government funding to such an extent that nearly half of the funding for Canada’s colleges and universities comes from private sources,” said David Molenhuis, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “This increased reliance on user fees has caused federal student loan debt to hit $15 billion this month.”
According to Education at a Glance, an annual report published by the OECD, Canada ranks highly for its total expenditure on post-secondary education. However this is due largely to its reliance on private funding, which makes up nearly 50% of its revenue. In conjunction with the report Statistics Canada has reported that first-time bachelor’s degree graduation rate is only 34% in Canada, compared with the OECD average of 38%. While public funding has increased slightly in recent years, private spending has risen at a dramatic pace. This has led to a decrease in the share of public funding for colleges and universities of more than five percent, making Canada one of only five countries to have seen such a dramatic shift.
“The benefits of investing in post-secondary education far outweigh the costs,” added Molenhuis. “Increasing core funding and reducing tuition fees are both within the government’s reach.”
The Report finds that the Government of Canada earns more than double its investment in post-secondary education through increased income tax revenues. In addition it reports that higher education offers a wide range of additional benefits including reduced health-care costs amongst graduates, and greater expenditures on goods and services which generate additional tax revenue, and spur wider economic benefits.
The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students in all ten provinces. The Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927.