In response to Day of Action: revolution or devolution?, published January, 25, 2012.
One of the key asks of the National Day of Action is to shift government funding from loans to upfront grants.
Thanks to student loans, college and university students in Canada owe over $15 billion just to the federal government, never mind provincial or bank loans. By allowing so much student debt to accumulate, the government is transferring its responsibility to fund education onto the backs of students and our families.
The main reason that students take out loans is to pay steep tuition fees. The solution is easy: if governments were to make education a priority and reduce tuition fees by increasing funding, students would not be forced to take on mortgage-sized debts just to go to school.
I am often asked, ‘Won’t decrease tuition fees have a negative impact on our universities?’
The goal of the Day of Action is not to starve universities by cutting tuition fees, but to shift responsibility for funding from individuals via tuition fees to broader society via the progressive tax system.
It would be illogical and irresponsible to call on our governments to reduce tuition fees without coupling it with a call for increased and stable government funding for our universities and colleges. It’s society as well as the individual who benefits from post-secondary education.
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that the National Day of Action does not begin or end on Feb. 1. The conversation will continue through the students who attended the rally, through the students who have debt, through the university community who has engaged with the campaign and through the people who want to have their voices heard on issues that affect them and their peers and those around them.
– Lauren Bosc, President, University of Winnipeg Students’ Association