Back to top

CAUT Bulletin Archives

May 2011

Poll: Make PSE More Affordable

A majority of Canadians believe governments aren’t doing enough to make post-secondary education affordable, a recent poll has found.

The Harris Decima poll, conducted for CAUT, also found the majority of respondents (57 per cent) are willing to pay higher taxes to support post-secondary education.

As for the most important way to help improve access, nearly half of respondents support a freeze on tuition fees, while 37 per cent say fees should be lowered.

The majority also say university and college administrators care mainly about the bottom line rather than about quality of education.

If faced with government funding cuts, 52 per cent of those polled said universities and colleges should cut admin costs first. Just 12 per cent said fees should be raised, while 13 per cent said salaries should be cut, and 14 per cent said they believed increasing class sizes was the answer.

“These numbers demonstrate that even if it means paying more taxes, Canadians want the government to do more to improve access to post-secondary education,” said CAUT executive director James Turk.

“The majority also believe that when funding is scarce, administrative costs should be targeted for cuts, not salaries or accessibility for students,” he added.

Asked whether university and college teachers earn too much, 51 per cent disagree and 27 per cent agreed.

On university research, six in 10 in the poll said researchers should be free from corporate influence, almost double the number of those who said research should be designed to meet private sector needs.

The Harris Decima poll was conducted April 14 to 27, 2011. A sample of 2,000 adult Canadians was interviewed. Results are considered accurate to within ± 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.