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Karen Casey: Bluenose Puritan

When I graduated from university, I did so with a $15,000 (or so) student loan. When my sister-in-law graduated a few years ago, she did so with close to $40,000 owed. How many years passed between these two graduations? Ten. Was I rich? No. Did she take the summers off? No.

The difference between the two of us, no matter what minister Karen Casey would allege, is not lifestyle. I drank beer and smoked pot when I went to university, like most students I knew, certainly like most students I roomed with, and neither of these are free. I ate my share of Mr. Noodles when the rent was due.

Casey is simply blowing smoke to try to deflect the fact that Nova Scotia students, for a number of reasons, pay $2,000 more per year in tuition than the national average. That means that even those that aren't getting the Acadia Advantage pay way more than others.

$2,000 per year can buy a lot of lifestyle when your grocery bill is $50 per week, Ms. Casey. Laying the blame on the students is no way to solve this problem any more than blaming the sick frees up beds in the hospital.

Does she mean students should make responsible lifestyle choices like drinking and driving, rear-ending another car and then driving off? Or do you have to be a Tory Cabinet Minister to achieve that level of responsibility?

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It would indeed be a tough world to live in. I would survive exactly three minutes in it.

Nevertheless, "cringe-worthy" aptly describes just about everything to do with Lord Rodney's reign of error; why shouldn't his ministers get to play too?

Why does Miss Karen strike me as one of those folks whose parents paid the whole shot.... tuition, books and supplies, room and board? It certainly doesn't sound as if she had to make the choice to buy that Biology text, or eat for the next 2 weeks. Or, do I pay the rent, or the power bill this month?
Unless their parents are well -off, kids nowadays are coming out with debt loads higher than their first year and half worth of salary. That is assumin they get a "good" job, in the field they trained for, with a salary and benefits commensurate with their higher level of education.

I wouldn't want to speculate on that, graven. The point I tried to make is not to slam Casey, though her comment is very slammable, but to highlight just how inaccurate it is. In the span of twenty years we have gone from tuitions on the order of $1200 per year to over $6000 and there is no end in site. Today's graduates face mountainous debts that will put them in the doghouse for years. Years during which they spend as much on loans as they do on rent, therefore removing much of their buying power from the local market. It's bad for them, bad for business, and bad for the government ultimately.

Karen Casey is of an age that she might have been able to graduate without ruinous debt with or without massive parental help.

My parents contributed what they could, but most of my way had to be paid by student loans and summer jobs. The result was that I graduated with a loan payment of a couple hundred bucks a month, not seven or eight.

That's really the point. If Casey's remarks are out of touch with reality, it is more a generation thing that a class one in my opinion. (Though I know nothing about her.)

My bad. But, if she can speculate, why can't I? While, I realized that the debt load, or rather the increase in debt load was the point. Like you, my parents contributed what they could, and the rest of my education was paid for by student loans, working during the summer, AND working during the school year. My debt load was less than many when I graduated, but I still had payments in the hundreds of dollars per month. When I remember doing dishes in a restaurant until 11 PM 4 nights per week, then going home to try and do some homework, I feel a little insulted too. I was merely voicing the opinion that anyone crass enough to suggest that modern university debt loads are simply the result of questionable lifestyle activities, has no idea what it is like to incur those debts, or to labour under them. If you read carefully, I am sure you will realize that I said she sounded LIKE one of those people... I didn't say she WAS. Just as it sounds like a lot of university students are simply having a good time on the public dollar. Some undoubtedly are, just as some people were priviledged enough to have their parents put them through a degree. However, as you correctly point out, tuitions have skyrocketed, increasing as much as 5 -fold or more, in the short(ish) period of time since my (and your) first year. Regardless of her position when she graduated, it seems to me that the EDUCATION Minister might want to spend a little less time SPECULATING about student lifestyles, and a little more time looking at the trends in the increasing costs of getting higher education in comparison to the proportional input to those costs, by government, and finding ways to keep those costs reasonable for all members of society. As you also pointed out, its a win-win (sort of) for all aspects of society, not to have graduates chained to oppressive debt for years on end. ;o)

Sorry, I guess I misrepresented your commented a bit.

Good points - you're a credit to your graduate program.

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