Illustration: Samantha Moya

If Ryerson is pay to win, in the end, nobody really wins

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By Jacob Dubé

It’s no secret that universities are designed for the wealthy. 

Nowadays, the barriers for entry are (very slightly) lower, thanks to government support, student loans and the increasing requirements for a bachelor’s degree to dust clothes at Value Village.

But no matter how you got here, you’re here, right? Once you have tuition all paid up, you should be able to enjoy the same student experience as anyone else… shouldn’t you?

In our features section this week, we look into Ryerson’s exchange program, and how much students have learned and benefited from studying abroad, meeting new people and maybe learning a new language along the way. 

It’s no secret that extra activities like an exchange program are expensive—one student said she budgeted $15,000, including tuition, housing, food and whatever else may have come up—and the effort some students went through to afford that cost is commendable. But a big common trend is that these students were also covered in some way by an external source, mostly their parents, who would pitch in thousands to help their kids live out their dreams.

Going to university already costs tens of thousands of dollars, and most students and their families are busting their asses just to make that work every semester. That should be enough, but a huge part of the post-secondary experience is all about your extra activities—joining a club or sports team, taking on unpaid work relevant to your program, or learning from some German scholars somewhere—which can add a load to your budget. And those who can’t afford those extra frills effectively miss out on some crucial part of the university learning experience. 

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the more money you put into institutions like Ryerson, the more you get out of them. But if we’re trying to get to a point where the only people getting the most out of Ryerson don’t just have titles as long as a royal family member, those activities need to be much easier to access.

Do you really want the only Rye students known around the world to be rich frat bros?

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