Generous tax dollars to Canadian universities may not be accomplishing public policy goals, a recent think tank suggests.The Fraser Institute study "Educational Attainment, Migration, and Provincial Spending on Universities in Canada," written by Alex Whalen and Nathanael Li, finds neither educational attainment levels, nor interprovincial migration of people in their 20's seem to have any correlation to public spending on universities."Using a measure of real spending per domestic student, relative to their peers the high spending provinces are, in order from highest, Newfoundland & Labrador, Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. The lower spending group includes, in order from lowest, Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba. In general, high-spending provinces do not consistently have the highest levels of educational attainment," the authors noted."Consider that Newfoundland & Labrador, Saskatchewan and Alberta ranked first, second and third in spending per domestic student in the 20 years from 2000/01 to 2020/21, while these same three provinces’ rankings are markedly different in the area of educational attainment. Conversely, the three lowest-spending provinces over this time period, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, experienced the largest, fourth-largest and ninth-largest increases in educational attainment."The authors also looked at whether such spending helped attract or retain people in their 20's, only to find it made little difference."Only two provinces recorded cumulative net inflows of people, two provinces showed very little change and the remaining six had net migration to other provinces. The provinces with the highest incoming interprovincial migration as a share of their populations were Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, while those with the lowest were New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador," the authors said."This data shows that some provinces are spending above-average amounts on provincial university subsidies but not seeing increases in the level of education in the population, while also experiencing net migration out of province in the age group most likely to have completed an undergraduate degree."Provinces that make themselves attractive for growth can capitalize on another province's investment in education, the authors suggested."In general, this study finds that higher spending per domestic student does not necessarily enable relatively high spending provinces to reap the rewards of a more educated workforce. Rather, interprovincial migration seems to be a more important factor, allowing university students educated and paid for in one province to move to another province after graduation, effectively transferring the provincial investment in human capital with them."Alberta has figured out what Ontario always knew, the authors suggested."Alberta’s spending (on a per student basis) has put it among the top three provinces for most of the period examined, but it has dropped to the middle of the pack in recent years. Ontario, the lowest-spending province for subsidies to universities adjusted for domestic enrolment, has been the lowest-spending province every year since 2009/10 and has ranked in the bottom three in all years examined."