Post-secondary education | IRIS gives free thanks for the increase in income from Quebec

(Montreal) Researchers from the Institut Québec are suggesting that the Quebec government take advantage of its increased revenue to provide free education in the post-secondary sector.

Posted yesterday at 3:23pm.

In its study published on Wednesday, the Institute for Research and Social and Economic Information (IRIS) claims that indexing tuition fees no longer has its place as a way to fund universities.

The study authors calculated that free education in Quebec would cost 1.2 billion, which, as they determined, represented less than 0.9% of Quebec’s total budget expenditures.

Not only is free education not financially viable, but high fees and the prospect of getting into debt have an alienating effect that discourages future students from continuing with their studies, especially the less affluent, says Samuel Eli Lessig, an IRIS research associate and co-author of the study.

In addition, students’ need to pay off their debts can lead many to prefer higher-income jobs, regardless of their true social benefit.

The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Information reports that free or low-fee education is already the norm in many countries, including France, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

Eric Martin, another study co-author, invites us to break with the belief in public discourse that indexing is a reasonable compromise. He points out that Germany adopted in 2013 the abolition of tuition fees to address the financial vulnerability of the people studying. Meanwhile, Mr. Martin noted that tuition fees in the US have increased by nearly 500% since 1985 and student debt has exploded.

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On the other hand, Eric Martin believes that universities do not need to inject more resources in order to face international competition. This, in his opinion, is a perception that legitimizes the increase in tuition fees under the pretext of lack of funding.

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