Education think-tank says cost of education should consider tax rebates

The full length of the bars (above) represent what each student paid in tuition from the years 1997 to 2008. The Education Policy Institute argues that the real cost is denoted by the black portion of the bar—what students don’t get back from tax rebates.

The cost of education is not rising as fast as your student union would claim, says a recent study published by international think-tank, Education Policy Institute. Adjusted for inflation, Ontario university fees have risen 31.2 per cent on average since 1997-98. That number drops to 22 per cent once you subtract tax rebates available to students. Last year, the rebate for full-time students in Ontario was $2,073. The study argues that the real cost of university education is better reflected in a measure it refers to as the “ENT” or Everybody’s Net Tuition—total tuition with available tax returns deducted. By this measure, Manitobans were paid $51 to go to school in 2007-08.

UTSU VP external Dave Scrivener doesn’t agree that the ENT figure is a more effective measure of the cost of education. “The upfront cost of education is still what students are paying and what they’re seeing on their bills and what’s effecting people and what people have concerns over […] The cost of education’s going up and it’s still going up faster than inflation in a lot of ways,” he said. Scrivener adds that many students didn’t actually go through the procedure of claiming tax returns.

Stay up to date. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, sent straight to your inbox:

* indicates required