In order to address the issue, a review of recent information concerning the debate on free tuition was implemented. News and such governmental sources as budget estimations were analyzed. The most recent information was used. In order to come up with practical recommendations, it is essential to take into account different views and strategies that have already been implemented. The sources include the description of different viewpoints on the matter, which increases the validity of the research.
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The focus was on Canadian news and opinions, but the overview of other countries’ experiences was also useful for the development of this report. The budget plans and news concerning funds allocations and budget replenishment were utilized to estimate the financial aspect of the provided recommendations.
Some countries’ experience unveils certain advantages and possible drawbacks of the provision of public funding to higher educational establishments. One of the major findings is that the development of the program will require a significant amount of time and may be associated with some pitfalls. For example, Germany was moving towards its publicly funded higher education for several decades with periods when governmental funding was almost abolished (Kehm).
At present, this country provides free tuition for all students, including foreigners. However, during the 1990s, students who had been enrolled in some courses after the normal duration of their studies had to pay their tuition fees. It is noteworthy that such practices were abolished in the 2000s. In other countries where students are not charged for tuition such as Finland, opponents of free education attempt to introduce fees for foreign students (Välimaa). Student organizations manage to resist, and all students do not pay for tuition.
These lasting debates in countries that have adopted the system of free education reveal the need to launch a wide-scale promotional project. The program should include discussions of the matter, highlights of the major components of the upcoming educational reform, as well as updates concerning the implemented steps. It is also important to make sure that the transition to free education will be successful. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure the development of an effective plan that may need the establishment of smaller goals and plans.
It is also found that the government of PEI has considerable funds that are not properly allocated. The Provincial Nominee Program brought approximately $10 million to the local budget in 2016 as the nominees were unable to achieve the goals described in their agreements (Wright). Reportedly, the government still has no feasible plan concerning the ways to spend the money. These funds (constituting almost a third of the educational budget) can be used as the funding base of the program as the province’s educational budget is over $28 million (Province of Prince Edward Island 3). However, this amount is not sufficient to provide free tuition to all students.
Another solution is the involvement of parental contributions. It is possible to encourage wealthy people to contribute to the development of the province’s educational system through their donations. However, this option can be difficult to implement as many people may find it unfair if some people share their resources for the sake of the development of the society (“UPEI Student Union not Sure Ontario Student Grant Program Can Work”).
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It can also be hard to estimate possible contributions. It is possible to consider the involvement of organizations that can have certain tax benefits in return for their donations. Germany and Nordic countries use such models where private contributions are used to fund the educational system (Välimaa). The German government managed to facilitate the development of a network of educational establishments, which contributes to competition and, hence, the quality of the provided educational services (Kehm).
The Canadian government can also provide financial and administrative support to new educational establishments. These facilities will try to win more grants and attract more investors, which will have a positive impact on the development of the educational system of the country.
One more option is associated with the provision of grants to the most successful higher-educational establishments. A similar system works in Germany, where the establishment of new educational facilities is encouraged and supported (Kehm). High-achieving establishments receive grants from state governments. Canadian states use the system of grants that are mainly used to cover tuition fees for low-income students. However, the use of such funds can be more efficient through the use of a new assessment system. Since the solutions mentioned above have some limitations, it is possible to use a combination of these options.
In conclusion, it is necessary to note that the benefits of publicly funded higher education are quite apparent as many countries have such educational systems. The findings provided above are based on a review of recent news, reports, and governmental sources. Three options can be considered: reallocation of budget funds, parental contributions, and grants. The following section includes the major recommendations concerning the matter.
- To develop a five-year plan for free tuition for all low-income students and up to 60% of non-low-income students. This plan should include a set of attainable goals with specific deadlines, which will ensure its effectiveness.
- The government should develop and launch a wide-scale promotional plan. The promotional program will involve the use of media to facilitate the debate. The benefits of free education, other countries’ success, possible pitfalls, major targets of the new reform, and its milestones should be revealed. This discussion may decrease the resistance to the implementation of the plan.
- The allocation of free funds from the Provincial Nominee Program will cover approximately half of the program. It is also possible to assess other sources that are not used or used ineffectively. The analysis of the allocation of budget funds can be beneficial.
- Donations from individuals and organizations will be used as another source of funding. It may cover up to 25% of the necessary budget. The donors will receive tax benefits. The provision of non-monetary rewards can be considered. It is possible to carry out a study aimed at unveiling benefits that can be desired or expected by potential donors.
- The Canadian government should encourage the development of new educational establishments. It is possible to provide grants or other types of financial support. New educational establishments should also receive governmental support when renting facilities, hiring staff, etc., or they can try to qualify for tax reductions.
- The system of grants should be preserved, but the funds should be provided to high-achieving educational establishments.
- It is pivotal to develop an effective assessment strategy to evaluate higher-educational establishments’ performance and possible ratings.
- It is also essential to implement a wide-scale study that will assess the outcomes of the program after its completion. This study should include the analysis of students’ academic performance, graduation and employment rates, the level of salaries, as well as people’s attitudes towards the new system.
“Higher Education Still Worth the Money, New Research Suggests.” CBC News. 2016. Web.
Kehm, Barbara. “How Germany Managed to Abolish University Tuition Fees.” The Conversation. 2014. Web.
Province of Prince Edward Island. ” Capital Budget Schedules.” 2017. Web.
“UPEI Student Union not Sure Ontario Student Grant Program Can Work.” CBC News. 2016. Web.
Välimaa, Jussi. ” Why Finland and Norway Still Shun University Tuition Fees – Even for International Students.” The Conversation. 2015. Web.
Wright, Teresa. “P.E.I. Pockets $5 Million from Failed PNP Deposits.” The Guardian. 2017. Web.