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CAUT Bulletin Archives

December 2007

Harris-Decima Poll: Tuition Fees are Too High

Most Canadians think tuition fees should be lowered or frozen, a new poll commissioned by CAUT and the Canadian Federation of Students showed last month.

The nationwide survey on public attitude toward tuition fees, accessibility and the federal government’s performance on post-secondary education conducted by Harris-Decima found more than 47 per cent of Canadians agreed university and college tuition fees should be lowered, with 35 per cent saying they should be frozen.

“Canadians have made it loud and clear that the cost of a university or college education is far too high,” said CAUT president Greg Allain. “Now it’s time for governments to listen.”

In response to the question “How important will the education policies of the different parties be in terms of deciding how you will vote in the next federal election?” 72 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they consider the issue to be “critical” or “important.”

When asked their views on the single most important issue as an element of universities and colleges that governments need to focus on, 55 per cent said lowering tuition fees and student debt. That number was 77 per cent in Atlantic Canada.

“Tax cuts do not make education more affordable, and they do not reduce student debt. These polling results suggest the government is out of step with Canadians’ priorities for social spending,” CFS national chairperson Amanda Aziz said.

CAUT released the results of the poll Nov. 22, the same day CAUT representatives, along with more than 40 academic staff from across the country, met MPs and senators face-to-face on Parliament Hill to discuss how the federal government could improve the quality and accessibility of post-secondary education and research in Canada, including funding shortfalls, tuition fee levels and recruitment and retention of teachers and researchers.

The Harris-Decima poll involved telephone interviews with 2,000 Canadian adults from Nov. 1-12. National results are considered accurate within 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.