26 March 2012

Tuition Fees and University Participation #nlpoli

The connection between tuition fees and university participation was a big subject in the summer run-up to the general election and then in the general election  last fall.

Just to give some additional food for thought on that topic, here are a couple of slices from a study done in September 2011 by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Some observations from the study (page 11):

  • The data show that university participation for 23 year olds from low-income families was lower in Quebec and Newfoundland, the two lowest-tuition provinces, than in any other province.
  • Manitoba, the remaining low-tuition province, had a low-income participation rate that was nearly identical with the
    national average.
  • Nova Scotia, with the highest average tuition fees in the country, boasted the highest university participation rate for
    students from low-income families.
  • Ontario, with the second-highest tuition fees in the country, had the second highest participation rate for young people from low-income families.

In the time period for the study – 2003 to 2007 – Newfoundland and Labrador had the second lowest tuition in the country and participation rates were in the middle of the pack.

Graph both of them and you get this:

chart 3

Some people argue that low tuition fees make it easier for people from low income families to attend university.  maybe they do.  But according to this study, other factors seem to having an impact.  Here’s a chart that looks at participation and family income:

chart 5

Just some food for thought.

- srbp -