There’s an article out today, stating that SFU is about to raise their fees again. Starting next year, they will be one of the highest priced post-secondary institutions in the country. I guess since BC (specifically Vancouver) has one of the highest costs of living in the country, why not tack that on as well.
I just graduated (BA Communication) from SFU in June 2003, and I’ll be paying for that privelege for the next 15 years of my life, if I follow my amortization plan. And I’m one of the lucky ones. Others have double that and more to pay back after their degree programs.
The first SFU fee hike (as fully admitted by the administrators) had no direct benefit to the students. They used the extra cash to improve systems used by clerks and administrators (they all have new iMacs – the flatscreen ones) to make the institution function more smoothly. That was the only change visible to me – I’m not sure what other systems/structural improvements were made out of those funds.
I wonder what the funds from this next fee-hike will bring?
Globally, Canada’s tuition rates are fairly middle-of-the-road. They’re far from free, but one look at the rates in the USA, they’re a small drop in the bucket. We’ve also got one of the higest per-capita rates of post-secondary educated population in the first world. According to Immigration Lawyers Mamman & Associates,
Relative to many European countries, Canada puts greater financial emphasis on post-secondary education. About one-third of public education dollars is directed toward its universities and community colleges. Full-time university enrolment grew by almost 40 percent over the 1980s, and in colleges by 24 percent. In 1993/94, enrolment at these institutions totaled 950,000. Despite this rapid growth, expenditure per student has also risen markedly. In 1993/94, it was, at $19,000 per student, 43 percent higher than in 1982/83.
Granted, that’s a bit outdated now, but it still shows a general trend.
Another thing that surprised me was the utter disdain for college & trade school training that peppered the comments after the article. People complaining that they can’t afford University, so they’ll have to go to a “lesser” institution, and ultimately be less successful. Well I can’t speak for everyone, but I am a University Graduate, and I make less than $30,000/year. I’m not going to be paying off my cumbersome loan any time soon with that kind of salary. Whereas someone who goes to BCIT will pay an average of $10,000 for their program, and come out into a career field where their starting wage will likely be 50% more than what I’m making right now.
I strongly believe in the value of education for its own sake, and it’s unlikely that anyone will become an English professor, Anthropologist, or Doctor with a community college or trade school education. But if careers like these are not in your future, do you really *need* a University education?
Remeber, not being enrolled in a University will not prevent you from reading Fouccault, or compiling a collection of poetry by 18th centry Russian Czars if that’s what you really want to do. All it takes is a little initiative to find resources and like-minded people to share your ideas with. Granted a University makes that process a tad easier, but it’s not impossible without the almighty student card.
Your thoughts on all of this?