Matthew Yeung has wanted to be a dentist since high school. He’s well aware of the age-old trope that patients dread dental appointments, but he was willing to set aside negative perceptions of the profession for what he sees as an engaging career in health care, where he can make a good living and run his own business.
“I think what drew me the most was the hands-on nature and the autonomy of the profession,” Yeung said. “As a dentist, you’re responsible for your own business.”
Yeung, president of the Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Associations, is now in the fourth and final year of his degree at the University of British Columbia. But as he looks forward to life after graduation, Yeung, like many of his peers, is coming to accept that even the lucrative dentistry profession is not immune from the pitfalls of the rising costs of university education in Canada.
Crushing debt that comes from the highest tuition and school fees Canadian undergraduate students can pay is preventing new dentistry grads from setting up new practices, and informing their choices about where to work.
Annual numbers released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday confirmed that university tuition is still on the rise across the country. Domestic students starting degree programs this fall are spending an average of $220 more than their peers who started the previous year and $2,901 more than they would have spent a decade ago.
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