Rae report sparks talk of tuition hikes

On Feb. 9, two days after the release of Bob Rae’s report on the future of postsecondary education in Ontario, the media focused on the possibility of tuition hikes.

  • The Toronto Star headline read: “Universities say no ‘frenzy’ of fee hikes.” Ontario universities say free-range tuition would not price higher learning out of reach of the average family, the newspaper reported. Even if universities and colleges land the right to set their own fees – the most controversial suggestion of Bob Rae’s report – they say market forces, plus new three-year contracts they would have to sign with Queen’s Park, would keep fee hikes closer to cost-of-living increases than to sudden jumps to Ivy League tabs of $25,000 a year. Besides, university presidents told the Star, if government pumps in the extra $1.3 billion in grants Rae recommended, universities will no longer need to cover rising costs on the backs of students.
  • The National Post headline asserted: “McGuinty says university fees must go up.” Ontario’s premier says tuition hikes are inevitable, but his government will lessen the load by increasing public funding for higher education, reported the Post. Dalton McGuinty said his government would ”step up to the plate,” a day after former premier Rae released a review that concluded the province’s $8.9-billion postsecondary education system is underfunded by at least $1.3 billion. But McGuinty said the federal government, post-secondary institutions, the private sector and students all need to contribute more toward colleges and universities. In a concession to students, he said tuition increases would be ”moderate” when a two-year freeze is lifted next year. ”Let’s be honest here,” McGuinty said. ”The price of milk is going up, the price of gas will go up, the price of cars is going up, the price of houses is going up and, yes, the price of tuition will go up.”

On air

  • Sociologist Daniel Drache, associate director of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York, discussed the appointment of Toronto police chief Julian Fantino as Ontario’s commissioner of emergency management, on Global TV’s “Global News” Feb. 8.
  • York University political science students Hina Khan and Miriam Yosowich, co-founders of the peace-oriented York student group Shalom-Salam, discussed their hope for the new truce declared by Palestinian and Israeli leaders in Egypt, on Barrie’s “VR Land News” Feb. 8.