Ever-higher tuition fees coupled with lower starting salaries had resulted in ever-more post-secondary students graduating with unmanageable debt loads. As a society, we have therefore been discouraging students from lower-income households from gaining the skills necessary to escape from the poverty trap in an increasingly automated economy. That makes no sense, either from an economic or social justice perspective.
Ontario’s Liberal government is the first in Canada to have taken concrete steps to restore fairness in access to higher education. Already this year, some 225,000 university and college students from low- and middle-income households received free tuition. That includes having enabled 13,000 single parents to return to school for free. These numbers will continue to grow.
And to reduce the high-debt-level disincentive, the $25,000 minimum salary which graduates have to earn before being required to start making loan repayments has been raised to $35,000.
It’s worth noting that both the PCs and the NDP voted against providing free tuition for students in need.