Hard to see fairness in profit-first flat-rate tuition policy


CordUnsignedThere are currently nine universities in Canada that subscribe to a flat-rate tuition policy which includes a threshold that if passed, requires students to pay a full-time rate. Flat-fee tuition means students who are enrolled in 60-80 per cent of a full-time course load are charged as a full-time student.

The threshold varies by university, however the University of Toronto has the lowest threshold at 60 per cent. So, students taking a 60 per cent course load pay the same as students with a 100 per cent course load. Essentially, students are paying for education they are not receiving.

The policy aims to encourage students to complete their degree in four years rather than taking an extra year with fewer courses per semester throughout their undergrad. Students should not be forced to finish a degree in four years.

Stress, overload, burn out and poor performance could all result from being rushed through a university degree. Students should have the right to choose how to go about their post-secondary education. Their program, courses and timeline for completion should be exclusively up to the student and their academic advisor, with the interests of the student not the university coming first. Work requirements, exchanges and volunteer opportunities can all contribute to a degree that takes longer than four years to finish.

These types of co-curricular activities can add experience and depth to a degree, which could not be accomplished without extra time. In addition, there is no clear benefit to force a degree in four years, especially if a student is finishing with poorer marks, less experience and fewer skills outside of academia.  Because only select schools enforce this policy, it creates an uneven playing field for students attending those schools.

Sure, some students will thrive and take on the challenge of completing a four year degree, but others will suffer and be worse off than students who have the option of extra time. This policy increases the impersonal, profit-first aspect of university which students and many educators find deeply unfortunate.

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