Short timeline and government statements undermining students' faith in tuition fee consultations

TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Ministry of Advance Education and Skills Development (MAESD) is holding a stakeholder consultation to discuss college and university tuition fee frameworks. Given that the consultations were only announced two weeks ago and the government has signaled it's intention to have new frameworks by the end of 2016, students are questioning whether or not their contributions are truly valued in this consultation process.

"Students in Ontario are already paying the highest tuition fees in the country. A tuition fee framework consultation could have given us an opportunity to reverse this trend, but instead, we are left increasingly with the feeling that this consultation is just checking off a box," said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "A new tuition fee framework has wide ranging consequences for students across Ontario, and yet the government has allocated two hours for consultation with students."

Tuition fees are regulated on a provincial level through a framework set out by MAESD. In 2013, the Ministry introduced a four-year tuition fee framework. Under this framework, tuition fees have been allowed to increase by three per cent for most programs and five per cent for graduate and professional programs. International student tuition fees under this framework are deregulated, resulting in international students being charged three to four times more for the same education. 

Students are calling on the Ministry of Advance Education and Skills Development to: 

  • Hold public consultations across Ontario on the tuition fee framework that target both students and the broader public.
  • Provide substantive options that include a zero percent increase in tuition fees for all domestic and international students, with the intention of eventually eliminating fees altogether.
  • Regulate international student tuition fees and professional program fees.
  • End the $750 Ontario International Student Recovery Fee.
  • Restore post-residency fees for graduate students.

"Last week, Minister Deb Matthews told student journalists that we could expect tuition fee increases in the new framework. Given that statement, it's not surprising that students fear this consultation process is simply a hollow gesture," said Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative for the Federation. "While we are coming to the table today to share our ideas, criticisms and suggestions on a new tuition fee framework, we are deeply concerned that the short timeline and statements from the Minister mean the government won't value our contributions." 

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

For further information: Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson, at 289-923-3534 (cellphone) or chair@cfsontario.ca; Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative, at 416-885-5488 (cellphone) or national@cfsontario.ca; Alastair Woods, Media & Government Relations Coordinator, at 647-378-8942 (cellphone) or a.woods@cfsontario.ca.


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