Editorial: It’s time to stop being complacent about tuition increases

“How much more must the cost of education go up before action is taken?” Graphic Carl Bindman

As students sit down to register for next year’s classes, the inevitable topic comes up: the cost of education. It has become an accepted fact among students that each year welcomes an increase in university tuition.

Money is a massive barrier for many when it comes to accessing post-secondary education. The cost disproportionally affects those from low-income homes, large families, and marginalized communities. There are scholarships, grants, and bursaries, but at its core, the problem is that tuition is overpriced. 

2022 marks a decade since the Quebec Student Strike, which began on Feb. 13, 2012. The walkouts were led by university student unions and opposed the Quebec cabinet’s proposal to raise post-secondary tuition rates by $1,625 between 2012 and 2018, under former premier Jean Charest. By April 2012, 50 per cent of Quebec students were involved in the strikes and, at its peak, a quarter of a million students were active in the movement, which became known as Maple Spring. 

The 2012 protests were successful and the tuition hikes were halted by the Parti Québécois coming into power. Now, 10 years later, the struggle continues. Over the 2020-2021 academic year, Concordia’s tuition went up by over 3 per cent. This means an increase of $87.43 per credit for Quebec students and $272.88 per credit for out-of-province Canadian students respectively. 

How much more must the cost of education go up before action is taken? 

After a decade, a new generation of students is getting organized to hit the streets once again. In commemoration of 10 years since the Maple Spring, a student demonstration is set to take place at Place du Canada on March 22 to fight for free education. This follows a protest for free education that was held on Thursday, March 17. 

The government has proven over and over again that it isn’t afraid to endlessly increase the price of our tuition. We must make our voices heard and unite in the fight for our education, because students aren’t simply dollar bills in the pockets of educational institutions.