Students: Budget lacks long-term vision



    OTTAWA, Feb. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Today in Ottawa, the Conservative
Government tabled its third federal budget. Despite being disappointed that
the federal government failed to renew the Canada Millennium Scholarship
Foundation, students are pleased that the government has committed funds to
support student financial aid in Canada.
    "We are pleased that the Conservative Government is demonstrating a
willingness to work with student stakeholder groups," said Zach Churchill,
National Director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations. "However,
the strategy put forward today only indicates a short-term vision for
students."
    Although post-secondary education is a significant component of the
economic plan, Canadian students need a commitment from the provincial and
federal governments for the long-term future of Canada's education system.
    With the announcement of the Canada Student Grant Program (CSGP), the
government has recognized the importance of student financial aid. Students
welcome the announcement of $350 million for 2009/2010 with a commitment for
the program to grow to $430 million by 2012/13; however, the lack of a plan
for the program beyond 2013 remains a concern.
    CASA believes that targeted funding is the most successful means of
increasing access for students across the country. By using income as the
determining factor for the distribution of these funds, students are worried
that aboriginal, rural and first generation learners throughout Canada will
now have fewer options when pursuing their higher education.
    Despite this, CASA is optimistic that the $123 million, announced to aid
in streamlining and modernizing the Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP), will
be a positive step towards fixing the many problems within the current
financial aid program.
    "We look forward to working with this government to ensure that the new
system of financial aid is efficient in its delivery and effective in reaching
out to students who need it the most," said Churchill.

    CASA is a not-for-profit national student organization, offering
progressive, common sense education reform solutions.




For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jillian Flake, Public Relations and Communications Officer, Canadian Alliance
of Student Associations, (613) 236-3457 ext. 224, (c) (613) 868-6605,
casacomm@casa.ca

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Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

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FEDERAL BUDGET REACTION 2008

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