Students achieve historic victory in Ontario budget with introduction of new needs-based grant program

TORONTO, Feb. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Student representatives are applauding the government's new investment of over $1 billion in a singular Ontario Student Grant that will provide up-front, non-repayable assistance to struggling college and university students. Additional changes to current restrictive student financial assistance regulations will broaden access to non-repayable and repayable assistance.

"For years, students have been sounding the alarm over rising tuition fees and student debt loads that block far too many Ontarians from accessing college and university education," said Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "The new Ontario Student Grant is a reflection of our advocacy and an affirmation that government has taken student concerns and suggestions seriously."

Using data from Statistics Canada, the Federation was able to determine that in 2011, students from the highest income quartiles accounted for over 50 per cent of university enrolments and over 40 per cent of college enrolments. Students from the lowest income quartiles barely accounted for 10 per cent in both systems.

The Ontario Student Grant will be funded by redirecting all funding dedicated to the "30% off" Ontario Tuition Grant, the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant, Ontario Access Grants and other grants offered through OSAP. The grant will also receive additional funding from the elimination of provincial tuition and education tax credits. No student will receive less grant funding than they do under the current system, while the new OSG needs-based assessment will ensure that students from low-income households will receive non-repayable grants that exceed the cost of tuition fees.

"We have a lot to celebrate today with this commitment to fairness, equity and justice for students," said Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, National Executive Representative for the Federation. "We hope this commitment will carry on into the development of a new tuition fee framework that can build upon this investment and make higher education more affordable for all Ontarians."

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

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information: Rajean Hoilett, Chairperson, at 416-925-3825 (office) or 289-923-3534 (cellphone) or chair@cfsontario.ca; Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, at 416-925-3825 (office) or 647-918-9864 (cellphone) or national@cfsontario.ca.

RELATED LINKS
http://www.cfsontario.ca/

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