Blaming the Victims: Quebec Students
Last month, I bloggedÂ about a major new report on the living conditions of Quebec undergraduate students.Â Â The report’s findings include the fact thatÂ 50% of full-time undergraduate students in Quebec report living on less $12,200 per year.
On the heels of that report’s release comes the news that the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ), which lobbies on behalf of senior university administrators,Â is calling for a 70% increase in tuition fees in Quebec, to take place over the next three years.
CREPUQ’s stated rationale is twofold: 1) Quebec’s universities are underfunded; and 2) tuition in Quebec (for Quebec residents)Â isÂ considerably lower than in the rest of Canada.
(God helps us if Quebec’s crime rate everÂ falls considerably below the Canadian average.Â Using the logic of senior university administrators, the provincial governmentÂ would be encouraged to fund more street gangs in Montreal.)
I find it regretful that, in light of theÂ lowÂ living standards for Quebec students, CREPUQ would advocate in favour of higher user fees forÂ students.
Thanks for the update Nick. Reading the article, the CREPUQ also justifies its position of the basis that tuition fees are now lower in real term than they were in 1968-69. This is not necessarily surprising, since much of the parts of the Quiet Revolution in favour of access to education came after that date (notably following a recommendation in the Rapport Parent of the mid-1960’s that higher education should gradually be made free)… which essentially means that the CREPUQ is asking the public to undo yet another set of social commitments coming out of that era.
But ok, let’s stick with 1968-69 as a reference of how policies should be, just for the sake of argument. Back then the top marginal tax rate for Canada was 77%. Sounds like another possible source of funds to me…
On another note, I’ve calculated how much of a tax increase would be sufficient to get the 400-450 millions universities say they need. Either an increase of 1-1.5% in coporate tax in QuÃ©bec or a combined increase of 1.5% top the 90-99th percentile of income earners and 3% to the top 1% yields more than enough money (I’d be happy to share the data with whoever is interested).
Yet again, the point is not that the province lacks money, it is that the government somehow deems that tuition is a preferable way to go about the problem of refinancing the system…