The affordability of a university education remains an important priority for a majority of Ontarians during the current provincial election according to the results of a recent survey released by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) today. Ipsos Canada conducted a random sample survey of 1008 Ontarians aged 18 or older regarding their views on the affordability and utility of a post-secondary education within the province as part of OUSA’s It’s Your Vote election campaign.
According to the results of the survey, 79 per cent of Ontarians believe that students and their families have to borrow too much money to pay for their education. Interestingly, 73 per cent of respondents from households with a combined income of more than $100,000 and 79 per cent of respondents from households with no children echoed this sentiment respectively. Of particular concern were the responses from individuals from households with a combined income of $40,000 or less as 86 per cent as these individuals indicated that education-related debt represented a serious issue.
“An overwhelming majority of Ontarians recognize that the rising cost of a university education is unfairly burdening students and their families,” said Jen Carter, OUSA President and Vice-President External of the University Students’ Council (USC) of Western University. “Support for improving the affordability of a degree is clearly high in Ontario, as even respondents from the province’s highest socio-economic backgrounds and those without children recognized a lack of fairness in current levels of education-related debt.”
OUSA also asked Ontarians to indicate how important a university degree is to finding a good job. 53 per cent of respondents indicated that a degree was important or very important to finding meaningful employment, while only 11 per cent indicated that it was unimportant or very unimportant. 68 per cent of Ontarians from households with a combined income of more than $100,000 believe that a university degree was important or very important to finding a good job, whereas just 7 per cent of respondents believed that it was unimportant or very unimportant.
“It’s clear that residents of Ontario view a university education as a critical pathway to meaningful employment in this challenging labour-market, said Rick Camman, OUSA Vice-President Administration & Human Resources and Vice-President University Affairs of the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU). “In a provincial election that has been largely coloured by debate surrounding high unemployment and job creation, Ontario’s major political parties must ensure that investment in universities and student aid are key components of their employment strategies.”