S.O.S. – Save Our Students

There’s a joke I heard recently that goes like this: I changed my name to the scariest thing I could possibly think of for Halloween… Tuition fees!

I thought it would be a funny ice breaker to introduce a scary topic.

Let’s look at this for a minute, logically. Keep in mind I don’t want this article to be about statistics; I want to evoke a powerful, emotional response in you, dear reader.

So I’ll use myself as an example. My parents have saved my whole life to afford sending me to university. They have prevented me from spending a large portion of my birthday money and early paycheques to help me pay for post-secondary education as well. The result? Together, we can pay for only a portion of my university fees (not including accommodations, text books and food) and OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program) can cover a portion of it. They rest of it will be payed off by moi in the years following my graduation.

And my poor younger brother gets even less money for college than I do because he had the misfortune of being born second and my parents used most of the money in our joint post-secondary funds account for me. Sorry Ryan.

Let’s break this down a step further so I can get my point across. After spending four years to achieve my two degrees and a diploma from my university and college, I will be broke. At a time when I will be looking to moving out of my parent’s house and into my own place, I will be BROKE. At a time when I want to travel the world because I’m young and single and have no children yet, I WILL BE BROKE.

But hey, that’s just me, right?

No. It will be everyone graduating in the next several years, or decades. Shout out to the Baby Boomers for taking every single job society has to offer at the moment! Because of our shitty economy, it’s nearly impossible to get a job of any kind after you graduate. Thank God I have two jobs now that will hopefully help me pay off of some of this tuition-induced dept (unlikely).

Now this reminds me of another joke: I’m in school because I don’t want to be an unemployed college dropout, I want to be an unemployed college graduate!

This joke happens to be less funny.

So what do we have happening now? Well, I see people in their mid-late twenties and beyond still living with their parents. I see people waiting until their forties to start families with their SO’s because that’s when people start becoming more financially stable. I see people saving up for their own kids’ tuition fees when they themselves are still in school (and usually kid-less)!

When I was in Costa Rica over the summer, I heard about some of the tuition fees schools in the States charge and I remember thinking, “Thank God I’m Canadian!”. But that was all a lie. Just because one system is worse than our own doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned.

I know of more than one person who was discouraged by their family from continuing their education because of financial difficulties. That shouldn’t happen.

We may be the the true north, but there really isn’t anything “free” about these prices.

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