Free Tuition: No Balance

The promise of free post-secondary tuition for students whose families earn less than $50,000 a year sounds fairly reasonable, but free tuition is the wrong approach.

I’m not against eliminating any barrier when it comes to post-secondary education, I just don’t agree with the approach of free tuition to students but not for others. After graduating a year ago I have yet to pay back my OSAP debt. Luckily, I will be working soon so I can start paying it back after working two temporary jobs in the past few months. It’s terrifying.

Free tuition is a complicated subject but there needs to be some sort of balance among the student census. Perhaps decreasing tuition fees could be an option and very beneficial for students. Unfortunately, Ontario already has the highest tuition fees in the country. The average cost of tuition in Ontario is $7,539. While fees have tripled since 1993, it could continue to increase to almost $9,500 by 2018. It should be more affordable and not a free ride.

So what about the people whose parents make more than $50,000 but still can’t provide financial help? Or the one’s who are struggling to pay back their debt? The people who would qualify for this “free” tuition are the same people who would be eligible for OSAP.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pitched a plan during the 2015 Federal Election that would have graduates repaying their student loans until they earned at least $25,000 a year; and the interest would be paid by the federal government until that time. In addition, the Liberals would increase the maximum Canada Student Grant for low-income students to $3,000 a year for full-time students and $1,800 for part-time students, according to the document. There might be more things to come, but it seems like a long shot for this to happen.

It’s simple. If your parents can’t help you, save up or have them co-sign a bank loan with you. If you can’t afford it, OSAP is there for a reason. It’s like we are eliminating the purpose to actually working for something you want in life.

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