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The province's definition of low-income is pretty narrow. For example the province expects a family making $36,000 a year to pay over $7000 in say undergrad engineering tuition without any public loans or assistance, that's one fifth of their annual income, never mind books or living costs. Is it possible still get an education, yes to some but it isn't encouraging anyone. That's the problem in the knowledge-based economy.

Having a student debt affects spending power and reduces the chances and increases the rates of borrowing for a mortgage and a car, which in turn costs those with student debt even more money. This clearly distincts young university grads along economic class lines as those from poorer families with debt and those richer families without despite the fact both are just as talented, work just as hard, and make just as much money. Where is the justice in that?

Someone once said education is the great equalizer. From an income redistribution point of view, which I value but others may not, student financial assistance is probably the only method of income redistribution that provides an incentive to work and innovate. Even governments in the anglosphere supporting large reductions in most forms of income redistribution and government intervention, like Thatcher's Tories or the recent Irish government, established or maintained free tuition during their free market reforms. As well, the fact that Ontario now has about the highest tuition in the country with some provinces only having a fraction of tuition Ontario has, never mind lower costs of living, Ontario will lose some of it's skilled labour to other provinces in the search for a more affordable education, possibly permanently having known people who have done so. The fact that every other industrialized country, except most US states, provides more financial incentives to higher education than Ontario isn't a good thing I think when we wish to compete in the knowledge based global economy.

I'm not disputing the notion that we should be using public money to help defray the costs of university, and I certainly wouldn't object if the Ontario govt decided to spend more on higher education. But they should target that money towards those who actually have to borrow to go to university.

I recall having this conversation before. Do you think the same principle should apply to, say, health care or something? I happen to think that universality is an attainable goal and can be attained by taxing the rich, rather than making their kids pay higher tuition.

The arguments for govt involvement in health insurance and for govt involvement in the provision of post-secondary education take different forms, so they result in different implications for policy. I've come across this point before, so I think I'll elaborate in another post.

But regardless of how much tax revenues you've raised - or how progressive the tax structure is - it will always be a better idea to subsidise students for whom debt is an issue than to subsidise those for whom it isn't.

But regardless of how much tax revenues you've raised - or how progressive the tax structure is - it will always be a better idea to subsidise students for whom debt is an issue than to subsidise those for whom it isn't.

Or we can subsidize them all. I have serious problems with the notion of means-testing. In the US, it produces an extremely perverse result, where it's easier to go to Harvard if you're poor or you're rich, but if you're middle class, you have to agree to become financially hosed...

Huh. Your blog strips out italics.

Yeah. After this term ends, I've gotta look at how this site is configured.

The problem with subsidising everyone is that at there will pretty much always be something better to do with public money (health care, improving k-12 education, etc) than to use it to subsidise the education of upper-income kids who will be going to university anyway.

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