Skyrocketing tuition and stagnating incomes for all but the very rich have dramatically increased university costs in the past decade, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said in a study released yesterday.

 

The income-to-tuition gap sapped middle-income families as well, said the study, which is titled Under Pressure: The Impact of Rising Tuition Fees on Ontario Families. The institute divided household income into five tiers: about $150,000, about $80,000, about $55,000, about $33,000, and about $15,000 as average after-tax income.

 

The money needed to pay for a university degree jumped by 32 days for the second tier, 47 days for the third, and 99 days for the fourth.

 

Families have good reason to be alarmed, study authors David Macdonald and Erika Shaker said.

But they add that “relatively small changes in the tax system could dramatically reduce university tuition rates,” the study said.

 

“For just over $100 a year for the average family, tuition fees could be reduced to 1990 levels.”

 

As well, diverting the $1.6 billion in corporate tax cuts introduced by the Ontario government in 2009 could have covered the $1.5 billion hike in tuition fees in the last decade, the study said.