The Edmonton Journal published an opinion piece by David Robinson titled, Tuition hikes are regressive, unfair (November 13th, 2010.) Robinson, who is associated with the Canadian Association of University Teachers, tackles the view that tuition fees have no effect on enrollment. He concludes with,
What we do know in Canada is that tuition fee levels directly affect the groups most underrepresented in colleges and universities.
A recent study for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario found that aboriginal students, disabled students, students whose parents did not attend university, and students from low-income families demonstrated significant loan aversion at higher fee levels than the general population, even when targeted grants were offered.
We have a long way to go to ensure more equitable access to post-secondary education in Canada. And part of doing so is to lay bare the arguments of those who try to justify higher tuition and to recognize the obvious: that funding universities and colleges through tuition fees is regressive, unfair and unjustified.