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The Progressive Economics Forum: Alex Usher Needs to Consider Taxation

My debate with Alex Usher on tuition fees continues, over at the Academic Matters web site. In my latest post, I make the case that Mr. Usher needs to consider Canada’s tax system when suggesting that reducing tuition fees is “regressive.”

The Progressive Economics Forum: Do High Tuition Fees Make for Good Public Policy?

This afternoon I gave a presentation to Professor Ted Jackson’s graduate seminar course on higher education, taught in Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration. The link to my slide deck, titled “The Political Economy of Post-Secondary Education in Canada,” can be found here.

Points I raised in the presentation include the following:

-Tuition fees have been rising in Canada for roughly the past three decades. Yet, individuals in the 25-44 age demographic have the highest levels of household debt in Canada. This raises an important question: Is it good public policy to be saddling this demographic (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Elizabeth Warren – Calm, Collected, Logical And Reasonable – A Rare Politician

Earlier today, Owen at Northern Reflections, commenting on a piece by Joseph Stiglitz, wrote a post on student debt, a scourge on both sides of the border.

Here is a video of Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, for whom I have a great deal of respect, on her proposal for dealing with that scourge. Eminently reasonable, one can safely predict that her approach will inflame the right-wing zealots:

H/t Upworthy Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: A Message from Noam Chomsky

As usual, Noam Chomsky addresses issues whose existence others refuse to acknowledge. Recommend this Post

The Progressive Economics Forum: Globe and Mail on higher education in Canada

The Globe and Mail has just launched an in-depth feature on higher education in Canada, an installment of their Our Time to Lead series. For a couple of weeks, you can expect to see increased coverage of the issues facing our post-secondary education system in print but especially online.

The editors deserve credit for seeking to hear from some unusual suspects and enlisting advisory members for the panel from a variety of backgrounds, including myself and Karen Foster along with academics and education policy folks. That said, the advisory panel is far from perfect: it is heavily male-dominated (over 2/3

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Globe and Mail on higher education in Canada

The Progressive Economics Forum: Time to Rethink The Way We Fund Higher Education

This September, like every year, a new group of high school graduates headed to college or university to pursue higher education. But today’s generation of students is in for a very different experience from the ones their parents had.

On campuses across the country shiny new buildings are popping up, bearing corporate logos or the names of local philanthropists. But most of these are reserved for graduate schools of business, law or medicine, so today’s undergraduate arts and science students can expect to find their classes in the older buildings, often in varying states of disrepair. There, students will be

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Time to Rethink The Way We Fund Higher Education

Canadian ProgressiveCanadian Progressive: How the Gov’t Is Saddling Parents with College Loans They Can’t Afford

by Marian Wang | ProPublica More than a decade after Aurora Almendral first set foot on her dream college campus, she and her mother still shoulder the cost of that choice. Almendral had been accepted to New York University in 1998, but even after adding up scholarships, grants, and the max she could take out in [...]

The Progressive Economics Forum: Freedom from government services day

Well well, another misinformed tax freedom day has come and gone on June 12th. To mark the occasion this year I wanted to skip over the very serious methodological flaws that others have pointed out, and take a look at several other items that Canadians are “free of” at various points. By gaining “freedom” from the taxes that Canadians pay we also gain “freedom” from the services those taxes pay for. I for one am all about more freedom!!

( let me point out that the back of my envelope got a good workout during these calculations

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Freedom from government services day

The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

On June 7, I gave a keynote address to the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Education Sector Conference. My PowerPoint presentation (with full references) can be found at this link.

Points I raised in the address include the following:

-Canada’s economy has been growing quite steadily over the past three decades, even when one adjusts for inflation, and even when one accounts for population growth. The exceptions, of course, occur during recessions.

-Yet, since the early 1980s, the federal government has been spending less, relative to GDP. Since that time, it has spent less on both “program expenses” and debt-servicing

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada’s Self-Imposed Crisis in Post-Secondary Education

The Progressive Economics Forum: Seven reasons why you should support the Quebec students’ call for low tuition fees

Despite the remarkably poor media coverage of the early days of the protests (especially in English Canada), it seems that the Quebec student protestors have finally succeeded in sparking a broader public discussion about civil liberties and the right to protest (even in the Globe here, here and in the Celebrity Photo captions).

Yet, media commentators have largely dismissed the reason that first brought students out to the streets — the demand for low tuition fees — as an unrealistic gripe of entitled middle- and upper-class children trying to protect their unfair privilege (lowest tuition fees in the

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Seven reasons why you should support the Quebec students’ call for low tuition fees

Student loan interest rate freeze fails to garner bipartisan support

First of all, let’s be clear about who the real job creators are in the U.S. and around the world. They’re the future generation of young adults, currently in post-secondary, pursuing new business ventures and studying for their undergraduate degrees to enter the workforce. They are the future entrepreneurs that will create the jobs the people[continue reading...]

The Progressive Economics Forum: Discussing Quebec Student Protests on Talk Radio

Last Friday, I blogged here about the Quebec student protests. Subsequently, I was invited to appear on 580 CFRA News Talk Radio, with hosts Rob Snow and Lowell Green.

I should note that Mr. Green is the author of several books, including:

-How the Granola Crunching, Tree Hugging Thug Huggers are Wrecking our Country;

-Mayday Mayday. Curb Immigration. Stop Multiculturalism Or It’s The End Of The Canada We Know;

-Here’s Proof Only We Conservatives Have Our Heads Screwed On Straight

(Rest assured that Mr. Green is no more subtle on-air than when choosing titles for his books.)

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Discussing Quebec Student Protests on Talk Radio

Debt follows young U.S. student to the grave and how the system sets you up for failure

There were two articles in the Huffington Post this week that were related to student debt and personal loans for tuition expenses in the United States. The first recounted the story of a young Christopher Bryski, a Rutgers University student who tragically died from a brain injury in 2006, but whom after his death still had to[continue reading...]

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rex Murphy’s Naive Take on the Quebec Student Protests

On CBC’s The National last night, Rex Murphy weighed in on Quebec’s student protests; the transcript can be found here, and the three-minute video here. He calls the protests “short sighted,” points out that Quebec already has the lowest tuition fees in Canada, and suggests the students’ actions are “crude attempts at precipitating a crisis.” He says they are the “actions of a mob,” are “simply wrong,” and should be “condemned.”

I am glad to learn that Mr. Murphy does not feel inhibited when it comes to expressing himself. However, I think his analysis would be stronger if

. . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Rex Murphy’s Naive Take on the Quebec Student Protests

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Affordability of Post-Secondary Education

Carleton University’s Ted Jackson teaches a graduate seminar course on post-secondary education in Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration.

Earlier this month, I was invited to give a guest presentation to Professor Jackson’s class. I focused the presentation on affordability challenges faced by students wanting to pursue post-secondary education.

My slide presentation can be found here.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Impact of Increased Health Privatization on PSE

An article in yesterday’s Village Voice looks at the rising costs of post-secondary education (PSE) in the United States. It points to research suggesting that the “biggest single factor” contributing to the rising cost of PSE for both private and public institutions is the cost of employee health benefits.

I would infer from the above that, insofar as Canada moves towards increased privatization of its health care system, our own PSE institutions will face increased financial challenges. Very likely, this would result in both tuition fees and student debt rising even faster than is currently the case.

The Progressive Economics Forum: Student Debt Rising Amongst New Physicians

Newly-released data indicate that student debt is rising amongst new physicians in Canada. In 2010, 23 percent of medical residents surveyed estimated having more than $120,000 in education-related debt upon completion of their residency traning (as compared with just 17 percent in 2007). (Note: across Canada, average tuition fees for medical students amount to just over $10,000 a year.) This appears [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Student Debt Rising Amongst New Physicians

The Progressive Economics Forum: William Watson on PSE

On Wednesday, William Watson wrote a comment piece in the Financial Post in which he was critical of Armine Yalnizyan’s recent essay on inequality that appeared the National Post. In his piece, Mr. Watson alleges that Armine “is guilty of fantastical reminiscence,” particularly with respect to her take on post-secondary education (PSE). Among other things, Mr. Watson [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: William Watson on PSE

The Progressive Economics Forum: PSE in Newfoundland and Labrador

Last March, Keith Dunne and I wrote an opinion piece on Danny Williams’ post-secondary education (PSE) legacy in Newfoundland and Labrador. Among other things, we pointed out that average undergraduate tuition fees (for domestic students) in Newfoundland and Labrador are $2,624/yr., compared with $5,138 for Canada as a whole and $6,307 in Ontario. With a provincial election slated to take [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: PSE in Newfoundland and Labrador

The Progressive Economics Forum: McGuinty Proposes Undergraduate Tuition Grant

An Ontario election is slated for October 6, and the reigning Liberal Party will attempt to pull off a third consecutive majority government. In that vein, the Liberals have recently made a slew of campaign promises in the post-secondary education (PSE) sector. Notably, they’ve committed to reducing undergraduate tuition for “middle-class Ontario families” by 30 percent, amounting [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: McGuinty Proposes Undergraduate Tuition Grant

The Progressive Economics Forum: “Grade-Boosting” Stimulant Use on Campus

A recent editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looks at the use of “grade-boosting” stimulants (such as Ritalin) by Canadian post-secondary students. According to the editorial: “Universities and colleges are ground zero for ‘grade-boosting’ stimulant abuse.” The thrust of the editorial’s argument is that universities and colleges need to work proactively to reduce the misuse [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: “Grade-Boosting” Stimulant Use on Campus

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario Student Debt

Last week, the CCPA released a paper by David Macdonald and Erika Shaker entitled Under Pressure: The Impact of Rising Tuition Fees on Ontario Families. The paper does a good job of explaining which households have been most impacted by rising tuition fees in Ontario. Points made in the paper include the following: -In light [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario Student Debt

The Progressive Economics Forum: Quebec Tuition Fees

In light of plans by the Charest government to increase tuition fees in Quebec by 75 percent over the next five years, Eric Martin and Simon Tremblay-Pepin have written a recent article on Quebec tuition fees. (The hyperlink I’ve provided is for the French-language version of the article, but I’m told that the English-language version [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Quebec Tuition Fees

The Progressive Economics Forum: Is There a Student Debt Bubble?

A recent article in The Atlantic looks at student debt in the United States and suggests there may be a student debt bubble. Written by the authors of the recent book, Higher Education?, the article points out that “college loans are nearing the $1 trillion mark, more than what all households owe on their credit cards.” The article also [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Is There a Student Debt Bubble?

The Progressive Economics Forum: The Racialised Impact of Tuition Fees

Mainstream policy wonks often claim that tuition fees and rising levels of student debt in Canada are relatively inconsequential. They argue that though the costs of higher education for students (and sometimes their families) are increasing, so is post-secondary enrollment, meaning that raising the cost of post-secondary education clearly doesn’t block access. While enrollment is indeed [...] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: The Racialised Impact of Tuition Fees