A globeandmail.com article posted last night discusses a recent report on post-secondary education in Nova Scotia. The report itself, released yesterday, was written by BMO’s former Chief Economist, Tim O’Neill.
According to the article, O’Neill’s report calls for “complete deregulation of tuition fees” in Nova Scotia. Moreover:
He believes that higher tuitions are more equitable because they force students, who are disproportionately from the upper strata, to bear a greater burden of the university cost. Under the current system, he argues, these students are subsidized by poorer taxpayers whose children do not attend university.
(O’Neill appears to be under the impression that Canada does not have a progressive taxation system.)
According to the article, O’Neill also argues that some of the increased revenue resulting from higher tuition under his plan should then be allocated towards financial assistance to low-income students.
(I have blogged about the shortcomings of such targeted measures before.)
Also noteworthy, the article quotes Nova Scotia’s NDP premier, in response to the report’s recommendations, as saying that “everything is on the table.”
I would like to note that, since the 1970s, university operating revenue from government grants has decreased very substantially in Canada. Moreover, in the past two decades, the ratio of full-time students to full-time faculty in Canada has increased significantly for both colleges and universities. In light of these developments, it isn’t clear to me why more “experts” don’t point the finger at senior levels of government and recommend increased funding, rather than pick on students.
UPDATE – A great op-ed written by the president of the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers was published in the Chronicle Herald on October 1.
- Fairness by design: a framework for tax reform in Canada (February 14th, 2013)
- Incomes Flat in “Recovery Year” of 2010 (June 18th, 2012)
- Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education (June 7th, 2012)
- Tax Shifting (January 19th, 2012)
- Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (January 8th, 2012)