News   Sep 18, 2019
 809     0 
News   Sep 18, 2019
 772     0 
News   Sep 18, 2019
 422     0 

Your opinion on making college/university cheaper/more affordable or free?

jje1000

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 19, 2007
Messages
4,095
Reaction score
1,552
I actually met one of the previous Liberal education ministers at a conference once. I made the above point. And surprisingly he agreed with me. And then proceeded to tell me that none of my suggestions were implementable because the middle class would never tolerate a reduction in university admission rates.

Was surprised he was so frank. But I guess that's reality. As a society, we'd rather have more unemployable graduates with faux middle class credentials than actually competent and skilled workers who can draw in great wages.
It's possible if you change societal expectations- university was traditionally seen as a step up from the working class (and their high school degrees), nowadays everyone and their mother literally has a degree which means that the majority of degrees out there are worth little more than the paper they're printed on.

Definitely think the internship program is quite good- even in universities with co-op systems like Waterloo, it makes a huge different in the experience of the graduates.

Would it be possible to shift the system? Difficult (especially against those who benefit from the current system), but possible if carefully planned and advertised as a "German" concept.
 

Admiral Beez

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
7,237
Reaction score
1,532
Was surprised he was so frank. But I guess that's reality. As a society, we'd rather have more unemployable graduates with faux middle class credentials than actually competent and skilled workers who can draw in great wages.
That's why I ask my daughters to stay in their STEM classes in elementary and now high school. Sure, their dad's done fine with a 1990's poly sci degree, but I see too many girls drop their STEM courses and study sociology or whatnot, leading to no job skills at all.
 

mjl08

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 12, 2008
Messages
2,924
Reaction score
965
Location
Toronto
I wonder if there should be a rotating list of free Continuing Education programs available to all Ontario residents that shift based on economic demands and needs. Perhaps make all CE programs, to a maximum yearly enrollment, free to all adults? It could help with the transition from low skilled jobs to higher skill jobs.
 

kEiThZ

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
8,877
Reaction score
1,993
It's possible if you change societal expectations- university was traditionally seen as a step up from the working class (and their high school degrees), nowadays everyone and their mother literally has a degree which means that the majority of degrees out there are worth little more than the paper they're printed on.
Sure. Sure. But those same people still think it should be them going to university and somebody else going to trade school. So they recognize the problem. They just don't think the solution applies to them.

Definitely think the internship program is quite good- even in universities with co-op systems like Waterloo, it makes a huge different in the experience of the graduates.
Problem is that there's only so much of a market for interns. And it's largely limited to certain fields. That makes the Waterloo model very difficult to scale across the post-secondary sector.

Would it be possible to shift the system? Difficult (especially against those who benefit from the current system), but possible if carefully planned and advertised as a "German" concept.
I have Austrian relatives. Going to their system would require a paradigm shift that I am not sure Canadians are capable of.

1) We would have to accept early streaming. The Germans stream pre-teens.

2) They accept a lower percentage of their population having university education.

3) Until the Bologna process, there was no concept of a Bachelors degree. University was 6-7 years and everyone earned a Masters in their field. That meant, that you truly were knowledgeable about your field when you graduated. None of this half-pregnant nonsense with a Bachelors degree. Unfortunately the Bologna process has imposed Bachelors degrees on them.

4) They have a very strong mentoring culture. Every professional or tradesman sees mentoring as part of his/her job responsibility. They are even evaluated on how they mentor for job performance. This is particularly true in the trades. Their apprentice system is even stronger than ours.

5) They have a very strong internship system for those who don't want to pursue traditional post-secondary. Both my cousins did that. Basically, the company hires you. You start out as basically a low level mail clerk intern. Every year for 4-5 years, you go to the local community college for 6-10 weeks and learn a relevant skill. As you lean skills, you climb up the internship ladder and gain pay and more responsibilities. For them, in year 1 they learned the MS Office Suite completely. Year 2, they learned basic bookkeeping. Year 3, they learned basic HR administration. Year 4, they learned basic management concepts. This made them more useful to the company each year. To have such a system here, you have to have companies willing to hire 18 year olds in their offices and mentor them for years.


The broader issue to me is that in the rush for "free college" we are getting caught in the quantity trap, when it takes quality to win in the 21st century. Case in point: California. The University of California system churns out some of the best grads in the US. They feed Silicon Valley. But only 20% of high school graduates get admission to a UC. They have a second tier: California State Universities. The next 25-30% of grads get admission to CSUs. Everybody else? You are guaranteed admission to a Community College in California. And their community colleges are actually quite high in quality because faculty float across the system to CSUs and UCs. And that's all aside from private universities like Stanford, which is almost entirely a feeder school for the Valley now. That system produces quality graduates, who've kept California on top of the innovation food change for decades. So do we want the economy that California has? Or do we want "free college"? You can't have both.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_University#Differences_between_the_CSU_and_UC_systems
 
Last edited:

Jasmine18

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
Messages
575
Reaction score
164
The issue is the countries that require to pay for Tuition have similar or even high enrollment rates then countries with free tuition.

Well frankly the fact is the Canadian system generally works as we the highest rates of post secondary enrollment.

Frankly I think it should be means tested...We live in a society where kids are less independent from our parents then ever before therefore I think it is a valid measure to base tuition.
 

kEiThZ

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
8,877
Reaction score
1,993
Well frankly the fact is the Canadian system generally works as we the highest rates of post secondary enrollment.
Is a high rate of enrolment indicative that the "system generally works"? I don't think so. I think graduates being employable, finding work and satisfaction would be better indicators.
 

kEiThZ

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 31, 2008
Messages
8,877
Reaction score
1,993
That's why I ask my daughters to stay in their STEM classes in elementary and now high school.
STEM is no guarantee either:

Crisis in Ontario's Engineering Labour Market: Underemployment ...

One third of Ontario's engineering grads are employed in jobs that don't require a university degree. And another one-third in jobs that don't require an engineering degree. Like other grads, Ontario pumps out too many STEM grads (and quality is lower than a lot of good American schools), all while the immigration system brings in a ton more engineers and scientists to compete with us.

If my children want to get into a STEM field, I will do all I can to send them to a good American school. And hope they land jobs outside Canada. I hold little hope for Canadian STEM jobs in medium to long term. This country is utterly resistant to the types of reforms it would take to create a strong STEM investment base. And it's not a political party thing. The Liberals thing talking about "diversity" everywhere will solve the problem. The Conservatives think that the private sector entirely can solve the problem (despite the private sector underinvesting in research for decades).
 
Last edited:

CondoTenant

New Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jul 4, 2017
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
I would support a tuition voucher program for every Canadian citizen that provides money for 4 years of undergraduate studies. It is a worthwhile investment in Canada and provides an equality of opportunity no matter the situation you are born in.

However, I would not fund post-secondary schools directly and instead use a chartered school system. This would improve the quality of our schools which is severely lacking and spur innovation through competition.
 

Northern Light

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
4,251
Reaction score
3,841
Location
Toronto/EY

Jasmine18

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Oct 21, 2016
Messages
575
Reaction score
164
1. Make Programs that are needed cheaper or free (medical fields and etc)
2. Make it free or cheaper for people from lower income backgrounds.

Making Uni free for people from rich families would be a waste of money imo.
 

Northern Light

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
4,251
Reaction score
3,841
Location
Toronto/EY
1. Make Programs that are needed cheaper or free (medical fields and etc)
2. Make it free or cheaper for people from lower income backgrounds.

Making Uni free for people from rich families would be a waste of money imo.
That's a legitimate position.

Let me make the counter argument.

1) The cost of maintaining a billing department, any cash/credit processing capability etc etc. is not immaterial. There is savings from abandoning charging.

2) If we are going to ask the upper-middle-class and the rich to bear a substantial portion of the cost of such programs, they ought to get some benefit out of them.

3) Its important the the rich/upper middle use these programs, rather than say, "If I have to pay this in Canada, I might as well go to Harvard". We want to attract and retain the best and the brightest, and we want them to have a vested interest in the quality of the system.

That said, I would agree your proposal is a step forward from where we are; and I would be more than happy to see that as opposed to where we are now.
 

JGHali

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 12, 2014
Messages
516
Reaction score
357
I saw an on point article for this thread this morning, and rather than start a new thread, I'm reviving this one.

Globe and Mail's Andre Picard advocating for tuition-free medical schools across Canada.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-why-canadian-medical-students-should-be-offered-free-tuition/
Tuition fees have certainly gone well beyond what is reasonably affordable, though they're hardly the end of costs of med students/residents ($5000 fees for exams, for example). All the same, if there was a move to this, I want my fees paid for retroactively. In 2008 dollars of course. #notgoingtohappen
 

buildup

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
2,206
Reaction score
292
Not to oversimplify too much, but if you pay an expert to stand in a room and talk to 50 students, that should cost about $100k divided by 50 per year = $2k, plus room rental. Somehow costs have gotten 10 or 20 times higher. Part of the reason is 18 year old students these days are much less mature than 20 years ago ("Coddling of the American Mind") having lived at home, had few jobs, helicopter parents etc. To babysit these students, and to serve their own interests, University bureaucracies have grown 200-300% in recent decades - the diversity. equity departments etc.
Fire all these useless babysitters, and focus on education and self-reliance.
 
Top