25% Tuition Hikes? Ontario Students Offer Alternatives



    TORONTO, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - In the midst of a recession, the Educational
Policy Institute (EPI) warns that dramatic tuition hikes, of up to 25 per
cent, might be part of a 'recession survival plan.'
    While some comments and recommendations from EPI's recent report, On the
Brink, highlight some innovative solutions to difficult problems, student
representatives at the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) believe
that this report should be viewed as a starting point for debate and
discussion rather than a point by point prescription.
    Trevor Mayoh, President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
(OUSA) said, "We're emphasizing the wrong syllable here. Clearly, suggesting a
25 per cent tuition hike, when tens of thousands of people are losing their
jobs, is just foolish." In fact, Ontario already has the second highest
tuition in Canada and will likely have the highest in the 2010 academic year.
"As is, Ontario is almost $1000 above the national average and that's before
you even suggest a 25 per cent increase," continued Mayoh. "In these times of
economic difficulty, we should be making investments in the creative economy
and using our sparse resources wisely." OUSA has been calling for a more
efficient use of funds currently in the system. By re-directing monies
allocated to the Textbook and Technology Grant and Tax Credits, for example,
funds can be used to increase access for those with the highest need.
    To that end, students are encouraged by comments made by the Minister of
Training, Colleges and Universities, John Milloy, declaring that the
government does not want, "...finances to ever be a barrier to a qualified
student having access to post-secondary education." Ontario students echo this
sentiment, with only one addition; post-secondary education can be a silver
bullet to not only survive a recession but to thrive in a post-recession
economy.
    "In times of economic difficulty, the province needs to be strategic
about investments and cutbacks." said Howie Bender, Executive Director of
OUSA. "Now is not the time for massive sticker shock but a time to invest in
our future creative economy. We look forward to working with the government to
ensure that budget cycles for 2010 and beyond, continue to improve the
accessibility, affordability, and quality of post-secondary education in
Ontario."

    OUSA represents the interests of more than 140,000 professional and
undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at seven institutions
across the province.





For further information:

For further information: Trevor Mayoh, President of OUSA, (519)
884-0710; Tammy McQueen, Communications Director of OUSA, (416) 341-9948

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Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance

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