Taking Notes – Marks Hurt by High Tuition

This column focuses on a wide range of issues affecting post-secondary students. Students are encouraged to submit suggestions and educational topics they are concerned about, or personal experiences with courses or university situations they feel other students should know about. If suggest a topic or a course alert for taking notes, contact djabbour@ausu.org


A new study has shown, not surprisingly, that high tuition has a negative effect on student academic success. Students are paying a significantly larger proportion of their educational costs, and skyrocketing tuition costs mean more students are working extra hours while in school full time and academic performance suffers. Study authors recommend that when recruiting new graduates, employers need to revisit the emphasis placed on marks.

The survey was commissioned by nine of Canada’s largest employers (including four banks), and included more than 20,000 college and university students at 40 campuses across Canada. Half of the students work to support themselves while studying, with one in five working more than 16 hours a week while in school full-time. According to study co-author Graham Donald, “academic success in school may be compromised” as students take on extra work to fund their studies, a situation that will worsen as tuition rises. He suggests that “more than ever, employers need to look beyond students’ academic achievements” to assess potential.

A separate study last year by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation found that many students are taking longer to graduate, since high tuition means they must take time off from their studies to work.

Schmidt, S. (2005). Employers told to look beyond grads’ grades: Marks may be hurt by need to work to pay for high tuition. CanWest News Service, Edmonton Journal, February 9, 2005: