"There’s something sinister about handing a graduate their degree and a bill at the same time."
I value my education very highly, but if I had to guess the cost of university as a contestant on The Price Is Right, I’d be way under.
Bob Barker — or skinny Drew Carey — would chide me: “Not even close. Weren’t you a student?”
Yes, I was a student. I loved university. But I was lucky.
Thanks to the hard-work and diligent saving of my parents and grandparents, I am one of the few that emerged with a degree without a student loan.
As students again occupy the halls and classrooms of their post-secondary institutions, I feel a tinge of jealousy, until I think about the price tag attached to each semester.
As of the most recent Statistic Canada data, Saskatchewan had the second-highest average undergraduate tuition in the country at $6,017.
Ontario had the highest average with a horrifying $7,180.
Tuition cost is going up across Canada.
That will probably never reverse. Tuition in Saskatchewan went up 4.9 per cent last year.
Despite the rate of inflation being less than two per cent right now, tuition at the University of Regina (U of R) increased another 4.4 per cent this year.
We’ve seen that tuition freezes don’t work.
Eventually the freeze has to be pulled and the increase comes all at once, kicking students in the chest like a mule.
Sadly, tuition could be raised 10 per cent in Saskatchewan and nothing would be done. We are very complacent.
In Quebec — home of the second-lowest tuition average in Canada — a 10 per cent increase ignited a movement.
I can’t imagine students in Saskatchewan banging pots and pans on the streets for anything besides football.
I believe in accessible education for everyone who wants it.
A degree should not cost anywhere near $30,000.
There’s something sinister about handing a graduate their degree and a bill at the same time.
"I can’t imagine students in Saskatchewan banging pots and pans on the streets for anything besides football."
As Canadians, it feels good to be proud of our healthcare system.
There’s room for improvement, but as a whole, we are fortunate to not go bankrupt over a basic human right.
But we don’t have a Tommy Douglas of education.
The fight for universal post-secondary would be a fierce one.
Our post-secondary institutions are ran like corporations and executive personnel — at least at the U of R — roll in six-figure salaries.
Sacrifices should be made for universal education because it has the potential to end cycles of poverty and crime. My university experience took me from a fringe ne’er-do-well and solidified me as a contributor to society.
It didn’t change me entirely.
Over four years, I learned to channel my energy, frustration and anger into writing about issues that mattered to me.
This is the first year I’m not in school since taking a year off after graduating high school in 2007.
That year was crucial to my development.
I worked at West 49 and freelanced arts and life pieces for the Regina Leader-Post.
I discovered I never wanted to work in retail again; I wanted to be a journalist.
My time at the U of R’s School of Journalism was the best two years of my life.
I met passionate and talented people who challenged me to match my talent to my ego — peers and professors, alike.
I didn’t rush into university and I was rewarded for it.
I still shiver when people talk about changing majors.
I shiver because figuring out what you want to do while already in school means spending even more money and that sounds awful.
I try not to judge because I know everyone takes different routes.
I just want paths available for future generations that aren’t littered with exploitation and debt.
Austin M. Davis can be reached at 306 691-1258 or follow him on Twitter @theaustinx.