Photo cred - Margot Trudell
Remember when Quebec students were rioting in response to a proposal by their liberal premiere, Jean Charest, to raise the price of university tuition? Remember how all Toronto university students pointed and laughed in unison? These students do not even begin to understand the half of our struggle, they were protesting a potential 3,000$ tuition while we were over here like 'Hey, can I borrow $7,000?'
The fact of the matter is that in order to function successfully in the city of Toronto, in order to secure a decent paying job in the world today, you need to be well educated and unfortunately high school no longer cuts it. Post-secondary education is a must if you want to even remotely stand out in a pool of potential employees.
In other words, university is drifting further and further away from being an option and it is freakin' expensive to be well educated!
It's The Highest In Canada
Toronto is home to some of the best universities across all of Canada and with great responsibility comes... largely overpriced tuition, apparently. Our protestor friends to the east actually host the country's lowest tuition fees. Other provinces fall in between the two with Nova Scotia having actually seen a decrease in tuition costs between the years of 2007 and 2012. While we realize that the overall cost of living in Toronto is higher than most provinces, education needs to be something that is accessible to all Torontonians, bottom line.
It Just Keeps Getting Higher & Higher
Consistency, consistency, consistency. We've already established that university tuition rates in Toronto are the highest across the country, the worst part about that is that it is consistently getting higher and showing no signs of relenting. Tuition fees have increased steadily over the last 20 years and, according to StatsCan, it is estimated that by the year 2017 tuition will be at $9,483, making it triple what it was in the early 1990's. Tuition caps don't mean squat since they are constantly being re-negotiated and increased. At this rate a University education is going to cost an arm, a leg, a kidney and the promise of your first born child.
Paying To Work For Free Hurts The Soul
A large part of most Toronto university programs is an internship or co-op program which, thanks to the gracious province of Ontario, are commonly unpaid. Think about it for a moment, you are legitimately paying to go spend 40 hours a week working somewhere for free. Paying your university for courses you won't be taking, modules you will not be learning, professors you will speak with only to hand in internship hours and facilities you won't be using... Makes total sense, except not at all, If you understand it please send some flash cards our way.
The Food Sucks
You would think $7,000 a year would buy you some gourmet filet mignon rather than some old packaged sandwiches that never seem to be rotated out. School cafeterias are hardly glamourous or even slightly welcoming and since food is usually a pretty common necessity across most stressed out students you would think it would be high up there on the priority list of things to invest money into. We're not insisting upon muscles and caviar (unless you're offering) but a little option would be nice. My high school had healthy food options all throughout the week and then poutine Fridays so why can't we make that a thing?
Plus The Cost of Transportation
On top of the price we already pay for our education we need to also factor in the cost of getting to and from classes. If you are a public transportation commuter then you pay at least 100$ for the TTC a month, if you drive into class then you probably pay close to $15 a day in parking, not to mention gas, so that's totally not fun or affordable. While we do acknowledge and appreciate student discounts for the TTC and Go Transit why can't our transportation be included in the cost of our tuition? Are we not paying you enough> Forget a student discount we want a free ride! We need to join the list of universities across the world who include public transit in their tuition, and that do so while still maintaining lower tuition costs than us.
Only Some People Get The Help We All Need
In January of 2012 a 30% tuition rebate was introduced to University and College programs across the province but, of course, not everyone qualified. To be eligible for the rebate students need to be full time, have been out of high school for less than four years, need to be in a program that they applied too directly from high school, their parents need to make less than $160,000 a year, they must be a canadian citizen and be an Ontario resident. So if you took time off between high school and post-secondary school, if you are coming from a home province other than Ontario or if you switched programs at some point, you are shit out of luck. Also, we find the rules of parents income total BS, not everyones parents contribute to their schooling so why does what they make matter? 'Your parents make too much for you to qualify for this rebate!' is like saying 'Sorry you can't use this coupon because your parents are too successful' So what they make a decent amount of money? They aren't sharing it with us!
Debt! Debt! Debt!
YAY! you've graduated, you earned your
piece of paper degree and now you cannot wait to get out into the real world and start putting that education towards making your millions. Oh but wait, that post-grad high quickly comes to an end when you realize just how much money you first need to pay back to OSAP. Sure education is accessible to any Torontonian who qualifies for OSAP but the cruel reality of it is that all of that money pumped from the government into your bank account at the start of every semester is just a loan, a loan that ends up costing you more than tuition. OSAP really stands for Oh Snap All of you will be Poor for a long, long, looooong time.
Balancing a 9-5 Is Brutal
Being a university student is hard enough with all the late nights, stress induced breakouts, terrible eating habits, etc, Now throw in the part time job or maybe even the full time job that you need to keep in order to pay for the insane amount of stress. The irony of losing out on valuable homework time in order to fund your education is unmatched and pretty painful. The best is when professors say that they don't suggest you have a job during your post-secondary career... lawl, because we have a choice? We need to work at McDonalds to pay your salary so how about you take a pay cut and we'll take your advice?