Is it possible to diminish student debt?

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Student loans are an issue for a lot of people in North America. From difficulties in acquiring funding, to struggling to make ends meet each month, students all across North America are struggling. The worst part is that this headache could just be avoided altogether, and it would cost the average person a lot less than a four-year university program costs now.  

Difficult to access funding

Some students have trouble getting access to funding in the first place. If someone winds up in a scenario where their parents are unable to provide their income figures, they would be denied any form of loan and would potentially be unable to continue their education, preventing them from enriching their lives. It would be beneficial to both the government and to the students if there was a solution to this as it would increase the number of students able to study, thus increasing quality of life across the country.  

Canada should learn from other countries

One solution to this problem could be to follow in the footsteps of countries such as Norway, Finland, Sweden or even France. According to The Balance, they all provide free tuition for university. All of this financial stress could be eradicated, and students could focus on their academics, rather than worry about the mountain of debt they’re going to accumulate after they have completed their studies. The only costs that those students would incur for their education would be their textbooks, and that is far less expensive than four years of tuition. This change could result in higher taxes; however, the benefits would be invaluable, as it would save money for the individual, in the same sense that universal healthcare does.  

We’ve done it before, we can do it again

If this seems impossible, know that it’s not; this can be related to when Canada did this with healthcare. It’s hard to come up with an exact difference between healthcare costs for the US and Canada, as salaries vary from person to person in Canada, and thus, taxes do as well. However, the average cost of paying taxes for a middle-class citizen for 12 months is around $5100, according to a report by CBC. That is cheaper than the cost of a major operation in the US. The average cost for a major operation in the US is around $20 thousand and doesn’t improve much with insurance, according to a report from Investopia.

Although a major operation is an extreme example, it still happens, and we can’t ignore the monetary strain this puts on people. The idea of paying for university tuition through taxes works the same way. Currently, the cost of university is comparable to the cost of healthcare, in the sense that most students are under severe monetary strain post-graduation. 

Additionally, universal healthcare is beneficial because no one is denied healthcare if they don’t have insurance, or if they can’t afford it; the same should be done with higher education. This may be a problem with countries that have a larger population (like the United States), but since Canada has only 37.6 million people in the country, it’s much more feasible to attempt it, and all of the benefits would outweigh the drawbacks. 

Free post-secondary tuition is beneficial to everyone, results in less debt, and puts less stress on students while trying to find a job post-graduation, or even while still studying. It’s a lifechanging idea that should put an end to a massive source of stress and worry for millions of people, as well as drastically improve the quality of life for millions.  

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.