Martin Patriquin has a great article on how cheap Quebec tuitions has not necessarily increased the percentage of Quebec kids in University. Those who benefit from University should pay more of the costs. That's only fair.
Clearly, 1969 was a great year to be going to university in Quebec. The province was in the process of detaching itself from its church-dominated past, priming the demand for an educated class. Prospective university students could also take heart in knowing that, because of a tuition freeze that year, they would pay $500 a year throughout their studies.
Having been in effect for 32 of the past 43 years, the tuition freeze has been as enduring as it is economical. As a result, students today are getting an even better bargain than their forebears. A Quebec resident attending university today pays $1,968 a year—or just $311 in 1969 dollars. And as the months-long student boycott of universities across the province shows, low tuition is something of a sacred cow here, like cheap electricity and beer at the dépanneur. The student movement says the provincial government’s plans to increase tuition to $3,793 will hinder access to higher education.
Yet, as enduring as it has been, the tuition freeze has done little to increase university enrolment in the province. According to a study published by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, about 30 per cent of Quebec’s young people go to university, six percentage points below the Canadian average and more than 20 percentage points behind Atlantic Canada, where the average tuition is nearly three times that in Quebec. For Ross Finnie, the University of Ottawa economics professor and author of the study, part of the problem of low university enrolment is rooted in Quebec’s history. According to the study, young people are more likely to go to university if their parents did the same, regardless of family income; in Quebec, there are simply fewer university-trained parents.