Opinions

Instead of complaining, students should utilize available resources

Photo by Sabrina Nemis

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone complain about the cost of university tuition, I’d have enough money to pay for my own.

Tuition is a pressing and ever-present issue for students, there’s no doubt about that. But after another protest at parliament was organized on Oct. 22, I think it’s time to put down the signs, take a step back, and think long and hard about what we are really protesting against.

Is tuition expensive? The answer is relative. You need to consider what all that money covers. The administration didn’t just get together, pull an arbitrary number out of a hat, and decide that’s what they would charge the students for their education. That money goes towards the various components of the school system, such as the professors, faculties, and specific program requirements, all of which are indispensable.

Universities don’t bring in students with the intention of sucking them dry and then taunting them with an I.O.U. come graduation day. Our university and government make sure we can afford tuition with countless financial aid programs. At the University of Ottawa, students can receive up to $4,000 off their tuition every year with the renewable general admission scholarships, as long as they can keep their grades up. If this proves to be a challenge, the university also has a tiered system of reduced scholarships if your grades begin to dip.

Students can also apply for the $1,000 education bursary each year, and just recently the provincial government has included a bursary that offers 30 per cent off tuition for anyone whose parents’ total earnings are less than $160,000. Independent students aren’t forgotten either, as they are eligible for even more bursaries so long as they also apply for financial aid. The help is there, if students are willing to work for it

There is an unmistakable hint of irony to be found in a scene of students wasting their time protesting rising tuition fees when they could be making tuition more managable applying online for scholarships, or better yet in the library studying.

The debate over tuition fees is not as two-dimensional as protesters would have us believe. It is good that people are advocating for student interests and rights. Let’s focus on keeping tuition fees close to where they are now and supply all students with the resources they need to afford school, but let’s also put our efforts into perspective. The bus passes, the classrooms, the technology, the professors, and the events cost money too. Let’s not forget that somebody has to pay for it all.