TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - Ontario students welcome the McGuinty government's 2010 Ontario Budget commitment to promote access to education through the funding of 20,000 new spaces in Ontario's universities and colleges. Though facing a record deficit, this $310 million strategic investment is the right choice for Ontario's future.
"The government has demonstrated once again that it understands the importance of higher education to Ontario's social and economic future," said Dan Moulton, President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). "While students appreciate this investment, a number of critical questions have been left unanswered."
The 2010 Ontario Budget is silent on the issues of tuition fees and financial aid. The recession has driven youth unemployment to record levels, and students with the greatest need have been hardest hit. Students remain hopeful that the government will continue to demonstrate leadership and increase financial assistance during this difficult time.
"Ontario's students are cautiously optimistic about the government's commitment to ensuring the affordability and accessibility of higher education," added Moulton. "We are hopeful that our calls for significant improvements to the Ontario Student Assistance Program and capping of tuition fees to the rate of inflation will not go unanswered."
The government has also announced plans to increase international student enrollment by 50 per cent over five years. These students add greatly to the learning environment, providing an increased diversity of ideas, experiences and opinions. However, international students at the undergraduate level continue to pay exorbitant and unregulated tuition fees that far outstrip the actual cost of their education.
"Students support further internationalization but are concerned that many barriers to access are not being addressed," said Moulton. "Ontario should be attracting the best minds, not just the richest."
OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at seven Ontario institutions.
SOURCE Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
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