Full access to post-secondary education benefits both individual Canadians and society in general. Public post-secondary education policy must aim to provide opportunities for all academically qualified individuals. All barriers to access and participation in post-secondary education, including financial barriers, must be removed. Government programs at both the federal and provincial level must ensure this most basic public policy objective. To ensure this result,
1) public grants to universities and colleges must be sufficient to cover the real costs of post-secondary education;
2) tuition charged students must be kept as low as possible with the goal of moving toward a zero tuition policy; and
3) the primary form of direct student aid must be needs-based grants.
Consistent with these policy objectives, voucher systems to fund universities and colleges must be avoided in favour of direct grants to basic operating budgets. Programs which regulate student fees and provide student aid must ensure that there are no unreasonable increases in auxiliary fees which might discourage full participation of academically qualified individuals. Although public policy may from time to time require special programs to encourage greater participation from traditionally under-represented groups, student aid programs should be needs-based and must provide adequate support for students. Student loan programs should be kept to a minimum. Income contingent repayment loans which increase the costs to low income people must under all circumstances be avoided.
Approved by the CAUT Council, November 2001.