tuition

Alex Usher Needs to Consider Taxation

In my previous Academic Matters blog post, I argued that there are five advantages to universal access to financial assistance for post-secondary education (as opposed to means-tested assistance for lower-income students).  They are:  1) lower administrative costs; 2) lower marginal tax rates; 3) greater transparency; 4) less opportunity for political trickery; and 5) greater social solidarity among socioeconomic groups.  My blog post was a response to Alex Usher’s blog post of May 9,  which had argued that we

Responding to Nick Falvo on tuition fees

Recently, on my daily blog, I wrote an analysis (link to: http://higheredstrategy.com/whos-progressive/) of distributional effects of tuition reductions versus those of targeted grant programs and concluded that the latter were far more progressive in their impact than the former.  Grants can be designed to be as targeted as one wishes (entirely to the bottom quartile, half to the bottom and half the second, etc), whereas tuition reductions deliver vastly more aid to wealthier families than poor ones.  Partly due

Alex Usher is Wrong on Tuition Fees

One of Canada’s best-known post-secondary education pundits, Alex Usher, recently wrote a blog post suggesting that Canada’s status quo system of high tuition fees (and means-tested financial aid for students) is in fact progressive.  Specifically, he argued that lowering tuition fees would reward higher-income earners rather than lower-income earners.  Ergo:  no government that wants to help lower-income households should seriously consider trying to reduce tuition fees.

Here are five reasons why I think Mr. Usher is wrong:

1. Administrative

Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

Yesterday, I gave a presentation to Professor Ted Jackson’s graduate seminar course on higher education, taught in Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.  The link to my slide deck, titled “The Political Economy of Post-Secondary Education in Canada,” can be found here.

Points I raised in the presentation include the following:

-Tuition fees have been rising in Canada for roughly the past three decades.  Yet, individuals in the 25-44 age demographic have the highest levels of

Signification du carré vert : Raison pour laquelle de nombreux étudiants sont opposés à la grève

Le 30 mars 2011, le ministre des Finances du Québec, Raymond Bachand, annonçait que les étudiants devraient payer davantage pour leurs études universitaires, et que le financement des universités avait besoin d’une contribution plus élevée de la part des étudiants. À la suite de cette annonce, les associations étudiantes du Québec ont décidé de parler au nom de l’ensemble des étudiants, comme si, par pure magie, tous les étudiants avaient la même opinion.

Des étudiants pour la hausse? Le commencement.

Behind the Green Square: Why Many Students Opposed the Strike

Check out Martin Robert’s support of the student strike. This article has been translated from the original French. Read the French version here.

On March 30, 2011, Quebec Minister of Finance, Raymond Bachand, announced that students would have to pay more for their university education, and that the funding of universities would require a greater contribution from students. Following this announcement, Quebec student associations decided to speak for all students, as if magically all students were of the

Equality of Opportunity, Equality of Means: An Argument for Low Tuition and the Student Strike

Read Jacob T. Levy’s take on this issue here.

Political philosophers have taken in recent years to distinguishing between “ideal theory” and “nonideal theory.” As I understand the distinction, the former has to do with the way we think that political institutions ought to be, were they to embody our preferred values perfectly. The latter pertains to the choices that we ought to make on specific issues of real-world political morality, given that our institutions are as they are—that is,

The High Cost of Low Tuition in Quebec

Read Daniel Weinstock’s take on this issue.

At this writing, the student unions’ boycott of classes in Quebec has ended in success. The boycott precipitated an early election that brought down Jean Charest’s PLQ government. His defense of higher tuition and his stand against the student unions—excessive and illiberal though it became— almost certainly helped him in the polls; the boycott was never popular among voters. Perhaps it even saved his party from the third-place finish and subsequent death spiral

Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference.  My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link.

Points I raised in the address include the following:

-Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts for inflation, and even when one accounts for population growth. The exceptions, of course, occur during recessions.

-Yet, since the early 1980s, the federal