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Give fees the cold shoulder

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Lauren Strapagiel

Last week Statistics Canada confirmed something our empty wallets and lines of credit already knew: we’re paying a lot for tuition.

A report showed that full-time students in Ontario paid 5.1 per cent more in tuition this year than last. Meanwhile, inflation was only at 2.7 per cent.

In other completely obvious findings, Ontario students are paying more than their counterparts in any other province. On average, Ontarians shelled out $6,640 for the year.

That equals 648 hours of minimum wage work. That’s before tax deductions, so here’s hoping you’re all getting paid under the table.

However, over in the land of Screech and Viking settlements, there’s a tuition freeze that’s been in place since the 2003-04 year, making Newfoundland the only province where tuition fees didn’t rise this year. In fact the average undergrad only paid $2,649, closer to what we pay for a college program here.

In Quebec, average tuition is even lower at $2,519. Why? They too had a tuition freeze for many years that’s now on the thaw.

Noticing a trend here?

Despite every student protest asking for the contrary, fees didn’t drop anywhere. The only way the cost of a university education didn’t soar was through the benefit of tuition freezes.

On Oct. 6 we get to vote in a new provincial government and tuition costs are supposedly the most important issue to us youngins. But there’s only one party feeling the chill.

On page 5, read about the NDP’s promise to freeze tuition. The other parties have plans too. Grants from the Liberals (which we covered last week) and raising the threshold for financial support from the Conservatives are both plans. But not all plans are created equal.

Tuition that climbs faster than inflation is just ridiculous and it’s only going to grow until we put an icy, money-saving stop to it.

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