Over the past two decades, Ontario's system of financing higher education has become more regressive, exploiting already over-stretched families who want to help their children pursue their educational aspirations. In 1990, a middle-income family in Ontario could earn the equivalent of four years of tuition fees in 87 days; it will take 195 days in 2011. The situation is even more dire for low-income families who are looking at the equivalent of two years of income for four years of tuition fees in 2011.
By forcing all but the wealthiest families to play priority roulette, assume still more debt, or make the difficult decision that higher education is too great a financial burden to bear, Ontario is hampering its economic and educational potential, and we are all paying the price.
There are alternatives: this study shows how the government of Ontario can maximize investment benefits and create a highly educated populace not overburdened with debt, and in so doing help ensure that university is affordable to students and their families regardless of income.