Students have been protesting tuition hikes in Quebec, which incidentally has the lowest tuition fees in the country (and still will, after the hikes). The CBC’s Sheila White examines the argument that raising tuition reduces accessibility. What’s interesting is that Quebec has lower university enrolment rates than provinces where the tuition costs twice as much: 30 percent versus 51 percent in Atlantic Canada and 46 percent in Ontario.
There’s something else at play here, in other words, that keeps Quebec kids out of higher education. The student federation president argues that tuition has to remain low because Quebec doesn’t have “a culture of education”: dropout rates are as high as 35 percent in poorer areas, and 40 percent don’t attend CEGEPs, our unique system of junior colleges, even though they’re practically free (though you often have to move away to attend, so: room and board). The problem isn’t tuition; the problem occurs long before university.