TORONTO, Sept. 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Statistics Canada's annual tuition fee data released this week shows Ontario boasting the highest tuition fees in the country for the seventh year in a row, the result of a decade of tuition fee hikes under Liberal governments. Despite paying more than their counterparts in other provinces, Ontario students study in the largest class sizes with the worst student-teacher ratio and lowest per-student funding allocation in Canada. Students are calling on the province to immediately reduce tuition fees and re-invest in post-secondary education to reverse this trend.
"For seven years, Ontario has found itself ranked the most expensive place in the country to pursue post-secondary education, yet the government seems content with its reputation as the home of high-cost, low-quality education," said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "At what point does this data become a public policy priority for the provincial government instead of an annual PR exercise?"
The average tuition fees in Ontario for the 2015-2016 academic year are $7868, up from $7539 in 2014, and over $5000 more than Newfoundland and Labrador, which offered the most affordable tuition fee rates in the country at $2660. The government of Newfoundland and Labrador also set a new benchmark of affordability of post-secondary education this year by converting the provincial portion of student loans into needs-based non-repayable grants.
"While the provincial government boasts minor reforms to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) as a historic commitment to enhance access to higher education, students know that access to more debt is not the answer to high tuition fees," said Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, Ontario National Executive Representative for the Federation. "If they were truly interested in making history, then Ontario would follow the example of Newfoundland and Labrador by reducing up-front financial barriers and immediately converting student loans into non-repayable needs-based grants."
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the province's oldest and largest student organization, representing over 350,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students in all regions of the province.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students
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