The latest Statistics Canada numbers on tuition fees shows students are paying 3.2 per cent more on average for post-secondary education in 2015–2016.
The national average increased to $6,191 in 2015–2016 — up from $5,998 in the 2014–2015 academic year. Full-time undergraduate students in Ontario are paying the highest average tuition fees of $7,868.
“Tuition fees have tripled since the 1990s and have become one of the largest expenses for university and college students,” said Bilan Arte, the national chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students. “We are seeing campus food bank use on the rise and students graduating with larger debt loads every year.”
Arte says she’s pleased with the tuition freeze announced in Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick — with the exception of a few programs. Newfoundland and Labrador also introduced a system of non-repayable grants and eliminated the student loan program.
“There should be more efforts to improve accessibility by the federal and provincial governments,” Arte said. “Eliminating student loans in Newfoundland and Labrador has been an exemplary move in the right direction.”
According to a recent public opinion survey, Canadians rank tuition fee reductions as the top priority for government investment in education, while a StatsCan report found that the most frequently-reported reason high school students did not pursue post-secondary education was financial.
“These developments highlight the importance of a strategy towards creating a national standard for the accessibility of post-secondary education,” Arte said.