Exclusivity in post-secondary institutions does not breed quality. Enrolment is increasing along with tuition in order to raise revenues, potentially off-setting many improvements in quality of education and services. Under this model, our student body will grow larger, more affluent, and less diverse, and face increased competition for face-time with professors and for research opportunities.There are so many things wrong with this statement that it is hard to know where to begin. First, it indicates that the university is both becoming more exclusive and increasing enrollment--how does that work? Studies have shown again and again that increases in tuition will NOT reduce access (Quebec has the lowest fees yet is among the lowest in percentage of folks going to universities).
Second, having equally low tuition for all means that the people who could pay more are being subsidized and that there is less financial aid for the poorest folks. I remember a relative of mine was scandalized when he found out that the tuition he was paying for his kid to go to an Ivy league school was so high in part because it was paying for the education of the less wealthy. I argued then and I argue now that we are better off admitting people regardless of income and then shifting some of the burden of the education to those who can afford it (knowing that this argument is going to bite me in exactly three years). Otherwise, we admit people who can afford to pay the bill, which would would undermine diversity and lessen the talent pool. The status quo is actually not that great despite the myths that the tuition-averse assert.
Third, if tuition does not increase, how would universities raise funds? By increasing enrollment, I would guess. So, if you do not increase tuition, how are you going to hire more faculty or keep the ones you have? Through the magical money tree? Aye, there is the rub: there is no way that we can really expect significant increases in funds from this province (and most of the other provinces/states are in no better shape to do so). So, again, I ask: where is the money going to come from? Accepting cash from dictators (the LSE solution) is no longer in fashion.
Two traditions in Canada make this especially difficult. First, tax deductions for non-profits, such as universities, are very low so there is less incentive for folks and corporations to give to universities. Of course, when corporations do give $$ to universities, students complain about that as well. Second, unlike the US, in Canada there is not a tradition/expectation that parents cover the costs of a university education. Yes, two grand or four grand (in 2017) is a lot of money to a college student, but is not nearly so problematic if parents helped out. So, my recommendation to the students of today is either blame their parents or ignore the tuition increases since it is mostly the next group that will be paying the freight.
And, finally, I am completely aware that I am being completely self-serving here. The biggest cost for any university is its faculty. I could use more colleagues in my field, I could use more resources, I could use more money. No doubt about it. So, there you go. Complete transparency. Fact-based transparency. I am still waiting for the students to provide me with some realistic math about the future of the university. But I am not holding my breath.
I love the idea that "with the lowest tuition rates in Canada, Quebec has the potential to be a national leader ..." in what? Decrepit buildings? Worsening faculty to student ratios?