Volume 92, Issue 54

Wednesday, December 9, 1998

and to all a goodnight


Learning only to go south

Re: Medical tuition

To the Editor:

The government's recent reckless deregulation of tuition coupled with the universities' exploitation, has me outraged. When I first entered university in 1990, my tuition fees were less than $1,000 per semester, a figure that meant easy access to all those who wished to pursue higher education.

Lately, there has been a recent escalation of tuition rates for specific programs in concordance with the anticipated earnings of students in these programs. For this reason, it seems, the faculty of medicine, as well as other professional programs such as dentistry, have become easy targets for fee hikes. However, raising tuition will not only have immediate effects on those wishing to study medicine, but it may also have long-term effects on future graduates.

Firstly, such tuition costs may impede some extremely qualified students from coming to university. While our country has always declared equal access due to subsidized post secondary education, high tuition may scare off students regardless of whether student loans are available.

Some qualified students may feel that they just can't afford to put themselves in such debt, no matter what the future may hold. With our tuition already approaching $8,000, I have heard the concerns of many students who are anticipating a graduation debt of $50 to $100,000. I can only imagine the concerns of the classes below us which have been slapped with a bill of $10,000.

Secondly, with our tuition fees approaching those of some American universities, qualified students with financial privilege may find it in their best interest to receive training at a well-funded institution south of the border.

The long-term effects of such an increase could have a much greater impact on our health care system. With massive tuition hikes based on the perception that future physicians can easily afford any fee increase, Ontario medical students and doctors may feel more and more frustrated by their health care system.

Considering the many years we spend studying, training and mounting debt – often sacrificing relationships, family and the building of a secure base for our future – the additional financial burden we will carry upon graduation may be the deciding factor in a physician's choice to pack up and head south.

While most medical students I have spoken to desire to stay in Canada, despite the temptation of a stronger dollar, higher salary and lower taxes in the United States, some may feel such a move would be the only reasonable choice. In addition, the more our tuition fees go up and the less accessible tuition becomes to certain groups, the less we will see the pride and loyalty in education which is ingrained in so many Canadian graduates.

When viewed in light of our current health care system, this is indeed a serious concern.

Raj Waghmare
Medicine III

To Contact The Opinions Department: gazette.opinions@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998