Ontario study challenges assumptions on funding, access | National Union of Public and General Employees

Ontario study challenges assumptions on funding, access

A new study commissioned by college and university students, faculty and staff addresses key funding, student assistance and accessibility issues under consideration by the PSE Review led by former Premier Bob Rae.

Toronto (06 Dec 2004) - A new research study commissioned by college and university students, faculty and staff addresses the key funding, student assistance and accessibility issues under consideration by the Postsecondary Education Review led by former Premier Bob Rae and points to alternative models that might open up the range of options for reform.

The detailed study by economist Hugh Mackenzie, titled "Funding Postsecondary Education - Beyond the Path of Least Resistance," tracks how successive governments in Ontario have cut back on provincial grants and turned to students to pay higher tuition. As a result, when educational attainment is acknowledged to be more important than ever, we are investing less in postsecondary education and charging higher tuition than at any time in the past 30 years.

Contrary to the claim that subsidized university tuition constitutes a subsidy of higher-income taxpayers by lower-income taxpayers, an analysis based on personal income tax data shows the benefit from subsidized tuition is actually distributed relatively evenly across income groups.

The new study also shows how loans with income contingent repayment provisions can have perverse equity implications, resulting in graduates facing substantially different marginal income tax rates based on the incomes of their parents, with the children of poor parents paying higher tax rates than the children of wealthy parents.

Sponsors of the study, which is being submitted to the Rae Review, are the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) and the United Steelworkers of America.

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