Should post-secondary education be free?

I’m sure all of us currently enrolled in post-secondary education, or those who will be attending soon, have noticed it is a financial investment. Post-secondary education is undeniably expensive. It is a huge investment we make at such a young age and must pay off in loans as we attempt to navigate the workforce after graduating.  

The question is — should post-secondary education be free? This is an issue that appears to not be discussed frequently.  

Post-secondary education costs begin with application fees. I remember last year when I applied to universities, there was a $100 fee just for them to consider admitting me! I was surprised  that the application had a fee attached.  I was paying a university without the guarantee of being accepted into a post-secondary program. 

Once accepted, the fees start adding up. There is the cost of tuition, textbooks, and for many  students,  residence and meal plan fees. One of the fees that many people overlook, or forget about, is the cost of textbooks. Textbooks tend to be very expensive., which is disappointing as it is not common for professors to use the same textbooks each year.  

Yes, there is the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) which provides funding  for students; however, this is not available to every student as it is not a guarantee that one will be eligible for funding.  

This can create financial stress for students and could cause some to drop out of post-secondary education, or not even begin it. Not every student deemed ineligible for OSAP funding is in the financial state to pay for university by themselves.  

With these factors in mind, post-secondary education should be free. This would promote equality for students, as anyone could apply, no matter their financial status. There would be academic requirements to be admitted but that would be the sole requirement — and no additional fees or outrageous tuition costs. Not to mention with the financial barrier removed, more people would be able to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. 

Perhaps Canada should replicate the post-secondary education system in Sweden and Denmark, where it is free! However, there would still be costs to attend post-secondary programs. TThe cost of rent, food, and other miscellaneous costs would still be there. Unfortunately there will always be additional costs, no matter the situation.  

Despite these points made, is it important to remember that post-secondary education is an enormous investment and obtaining a degree  can positively impact our lives. It allows us to gain further knowledge, and learn about the world around us, as well as getting prepared for the workforce and being able to obtain a fulfilling career.  

But for now, as Canadian post-secondary education is not free, we must continue to work hard in our studies and continue with our degrees. It is truly an investment for our futures.

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