Canadian higher education student financial aid policies, products and services in Canada
Rouf, Kazi Abdur
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Although Canada is a welfare state and it has need-based priority student financial aid support policies in Canada; however, its higher education financial aid service is not universal. Rather its higher education support services have neoliberal policy matrix (public grants and private loan) financial aid services began to take root in most Canadian provinces. Although since 1964, the Canadian financial aid program has provided over $51 billion in Canada Student Loans to more than 5 million Canadians to help them finance their education and equip them to achieve their career aspirations. However, higher education tuition fees and student debt levels are increasing every year. Class sizes and the proportion of part-time contract lecturer positions are increased. The average undergraduate tuition fees are $2,243 in 1990-91, but tuition fees increased to $7,086 in 2018-19. Moreover, Statistics Canada (2015) identifies tuition fees for most graduate programs in Ontario have seen a similar 300% increase since 1990 and are now $8,971 on average, even professional program fees have undergone a much more dramatic increase. Further, after 2016 the tuition costs grew the fastest in Ontario (+402%). Canadian Government higher education student funding accounted for the majority of operating revenue for Canada’s university institutions, accounting for 83.2% in 1978, leaving students to pay approximately 15%. However, at the University of Toronto, the government grants and the institutional grants cover only 53% of the tuitions and fees of the students. Hence the average Canadian student debt is $27,000, up from $8,000 in 1990. Moreover, many students will spend half of their working lives paying back their student debts. The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) student debt the publicly-assisted colleges’ students are 9.1% and private career colleges are 14.5%; overall 2017 OSAP default rates for Ontario postsecondary institutions is 6.7%. The paper has many secondary data. The author talks with many students, read many articles, books, reports, and newspapers to get the full scenario of the Canada student financial aid policies, programs and products. The study finds although Canada has the need-based higher education student financial aid policies; however, many brilliant students from the low-income group do not have a university education. The study identifies many issues responsible for many students’ inaccessible to college education and increase of student debt. One of the main reason is many college financial aid officers do not elaborately explain student higher education financial aid government policies, programs, and products to the prospective higher education students. Although, the Government of Canada changes many of its higher education financial assistance policies, programs, and products; however, the ratios of the grants: loans are still questionable to many students, researchers, and laymen. Therefore, the federal, provincial and institutional grants need of the increased so that grants portion can be higher than 80% than the loan portion.
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