Commentary | Accept tuition fee increases

How higher fees will not jeopardize accessibility

How is it that we as McGill students are protesting against the Quebec tuition hikes when simultaneously we were with the Munaca strike and have wanted our non-academic staff to earn higher incomes and get better benefits? Oh, and did I mention that our university is currently running a deficit? By the way, just in case you forgot, your post-secondary studies represent a lifetime investment!

I’m all for accessibility, and this is the essence of Quebec’s socialist system, which I find to be the second-best in the world after Scandinavian countries. But the core problem lies in the fact that people have been taking post-secondary education for granted lately. Even in 2016, i.e. in 5 years from now, tuition fees in Quebec will still be lower than any other Canadian province and by far the lowest in Canada. The 2011 Canadian average is more than $5000, more than double the current figure for Quebec. So we’re still going to be below the 2011 Canadian average. And now to directly answer your question, I firmly believe that with the right financial planning be it a part-time job when studying, a full-time job over the summer season, a government loan, a bursary, a scholarship, or other forms of financial aid and support a hard-working university student should be able to succeed in their post-secondary studies.

All you have to do is look for those opportunities, they’re all out there: We have to work for every penny we earn, that’s how life is. We have excellent academic institutions but they are living a crisis situation right now. Plus, keep in mind that as residents of Quebec, we have the option to go to public schools and CEGEPS and pay close to $0.00 until age 18 or 19. I think that $15,000 for a three-year degree from a top university is far from being a lost investment. And yes, we all need to gain a little perspective. Coming from a third-world country, I can tell you that Canada has tremendous social class mobility and a tuition fee increase will not jeopardize it. You have to be ambitious and work hard, that is your recipe for success, and that’s how you climb the ladder.

Jade Arnaout is a Graduate Certificate in Public Relations Management candidate. He can be reached at jade.arnaout@mail.mcgill.ca.

 


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