CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

CFS Press Release on Rae Report

Bob Rae Calls for Higher Tuition Fees and Higher Student Debt
Toronto – Students’ fears about Bob Rae’s post-secondary education review were fulfilled today. Rae, a long time advocate of higher tuition fees and higher student debt, called for steep tuition fee hikes along with increased private and public student loan debt. In addition, Rae did call for more public funding and a system of grants for low-income students.

“There are a lot of bells and whistles in this report but the bottom line is more debt for students and their families,” said Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “At $6,000, Bob Rae anticipates Ontario tuition fees rising to the highest in the country.”

Throughout his report Rae sets the student financial assistance threshold at $6,000 to cover tuition fees—an increase of at least $1,000 from today’s undergraduate average. In addition, Rae calls for a parallel private loan system to accommodate even higher tuition fees.

While Rae does call for grants for low-income students, only families earning less than $22,615 would be eligible. Students from homes with family income between $22,615 and $35,000 would receive some form of grant to cover a portion of tuition fee costs but all those above that income threshold would finance their education exclusively through loans.

“Students welcome the fact that Rae is calling for the restoration of grants in Ontario after he eliminated our grants program as Premier,” said Greener. “However, throughout this process Bob Rae has argued that ‘rich’ students need to pay more. It will come as a surprise to Ontarians that he considers any family with income above $35,000 to be wealthy.”

Rae’s report also calls for the deregulation of tuition fees. Under Rae’s plan, institutions would be free to charge whatever the market will bear as long as they meet superficial and administrative criteria.

“We know from past experience university administrators will maximize fee hikes. This is a good news day for elitist universities like Queen’s and Western” said Greener. “What Bob Rae has given us today is all of the worst aspects of the U.S. and the U.K. systems.”

Rae’s call for fee deregulation and increased loans closely mirrors the system in the United Kingdom. Like the UK model, Rae also calls for a body to monitor access. Rae simply ignored the volumes of data and research that suggests that access has suffered under Blair’s model and that low income students have borne the brunt of the reforms. For example, Claire Callendar, Professor of Social Policy, South Bank University has derisively mocked the access framework in the UK as a “toothless body ignored by all.”

“Rae’s travelling road show was a public relations exercise. Mr Rae’s mind was always closed on the issue of tuition fees. The question now is whether Dalton McGuinty will buy into Mr Rae’s dream of higher tuition fees and student debt,” said Greener.

The Canadian Federation is comprised of over 450,000 students across Canada, and more than 235,000 in Ontario. The Federation has been campaigning for tuition fee freezes and reductions in provinces across Canada. With victories in Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, tuition fees are now frozen or reduced for the majority of students in Canada.


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