Volume 96, Issue 13
Thursday September 19, 2002

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No robots, just higher tuition

By Anthony Lafratta
Gazette Staff

The cost of a university education in Canada will balloon to $123,644 in the next 20 years, according to a recently released report.

An annual study, the Guide to University Costs in Canada, compiled by USC Education Savings Plans, an education assistance company, says the total cost of a four-year university program in Canada, including tuition, residence and books, will cost $123,644 by 2020.

"We don't profess to be looking into a crystal ball," said Paul Renaud, vice-president of corporate affairs at USC Education.

The non-profit organization is simply trying to make parents understand the financial commitment needed for their children to attend universities in the future, Renaud explained.

Josh Morgan, VP-education for Western's University Students' Council and president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, called the projected fees an underestimate.

He suggested fees could escalate even further because universities have exclusive control over the tuition levels of deregulated programs.

Morgan said students should consider rising education fees when going to the polls to elect the next provincial government.

"Students must make educated decisions when voting," he explained.

Morgan did not want to discount the influence of OUSA or the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations in terms of lobbying the government.

"It depends on who gets elected, and right now only the NDP's [New Democratic Party] platform supports tuition rollbacks," Morgan added.

Bruce Skeaff, senior media relations officer for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, said it was difficult to predict the future by commenting on the proposed figures, as they were not compiled by the ministry.

According to Renaud, the CESG is a federal program that encourages parents to set aside money for their children's post-secondary education well in advance.

"Given what it costs today to attend university, it is reasonable to expect an increase in the future," Renaud said, citing a 4.6 per cent average annual increase over the past 25 years.

Western's VP-academic Greg Moran was unavailable for comment.

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2002 THE GAZETTE