Sask Party Tuition Math
In Saskatchewanâ€™s provincial election campaign, the incumbent Saskatchewan Party is promising a scholarship of up to $500 per year for new high-school graduates who undertake post-secondary studies.
It claims that this scholarship is worth â€œTHREE TIMESâ€ the annual increase in university tuition fees, which has averaged $146.50 over the past four years.
What the Sask Party seems to miss is that these annual tuition increases have been cumulative. So, a full-time undergraduate student is now paying annual tuition $586 higher than four years ago.
When the Sask Party took office in 2007, the average full-time undergraduate student in the province paid annual tuition fees of $5,015.
Under another Sask Party government, new high-school graduates who enter full-time university studies would face average tuition of $5,601 per year plus further tuition increases minus a provincial scholarship of up to $500 per year.
In other words, even those students eligible for the proposed scholarship will pay more than they would have under the previous NDP governmentâ€™s tuition freeze.
I am not sure of the exact wording of the proposed program, but from their political commercial it seemed to me that only new high school grads would be eligible. That would mean only first years next fall would receive the scholarship and only two years of students the next year, three the next and only cover four years of students after four years. It also raises questions about what happens for those who can’t afford to attend for four consecutive years. Do they lose eligibility? Truly progressive countries, France, Norway, Finland, Argentina, Netherlands, Brazil, to name a few, all provide free University education. The Human Development Index rating for countries had Netherlands at #1 in 2009 and Norway #1 in 2010. We in Canada dropped from 4th to 8th in the same period. Half of the rating has to do with literacy and education. Investing in education makes more sense than tax breaks hoping for trickle down jobs. Education should bring higher pay checks which feeds back into more tax dollars. And, as the Human Development Index ratings show people experience a higher standard of living and better quality of life. Who is against that? If Sri Lanka, Chile, Cuba, Scotland, Denmark, Greece and Libya can do it, why not resource rich Saskatchewan? We have to stop thinking of these programs as investments, not expenses. I would rather offer the opportunity to share the responsibility of investing in my province/community to people I have invested in to increase their quality of life and who want to pass on that legacy, than simply provide an uneducated mass as an underpaid labor pool for multinational corporations with jobs by incentivizing those same companies with the same dollars. People first, please.