For an education with

universal access

It’s a fundamental right.

Above all, free education is necessary in respect to the right to education. Everyone should have access to higher education, regardless of their social origin.

Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education.

A fair success for all

Tuition fees are forcing students from less affluent families to work harder. Combining work and study tends to interfere with academic success. Students coming from poorer backgrounds are often penalized academically, because they must work harder.

Free education would therefore:

  • Increase postsecondary attendance of young people from less affluent families and increasing the overall participation of young people to university;
  • Increase the chances of economically disadvantaged people to succeed in postsecondary education;
  • Restore the balance between people of all origins, as international and out-of-province students pay tuition fees of $6,500 to $17,000 per year.

Improving school attendance

Free education is a means to effectively enforce this right: by removing tariff barriers, it greatly facilitates access to university for the economically disadvantaged. Statistics demonstrate that the rate of attendance of students from wealthier families is twice that of the poorest:

University attendance rate
Revenue under $50,000
Per family per year
Revenue over $100,000
Per family per year

By including CÉGEPs (which are almost free) in the attendance rate of post-secondary system, the Quebec system is the cheapest and the most accessible in Canada, demonstrating that low costs do lead to better attendance:

Post-secondoary school attendance rate by region

Fight the

knowledge economy

Restoring the university’s mission

In the neoliberal market of education, tuition fees constitute a disciplinary integration of young citizens into market logic.

By presenting education as a personal investment and asking young people to take up debt in order to increase the value of their labor power on the market, the students are forced to do a cost-benefit calculation in the choice their programs.

This logic tends to favor the modulation of tuition by program (increasing tuition fees in programs leading to more lucrative professions) and, more importantly, to transform the public universities.

The migration of students to programs perceived as lucrative tends to change the way university administrations consider the fundamental mission of education. Programs become market-oriented in order to attract more students while fundamental research, humanities and art programs tend to be marginalized, underfunded and even disappear.

For students, this vision of education creates a significant debt problem. Entering the labor market indebted in the tens of thousands of dollars is an important incentive to work. Instead of prioritizing an interesting job or working fewer hours, young graduates are required to maximize their income, in order to pay off their student debt.

Free education is a guarantee against the implementation of the neoliberal model of the knowledge economy.