Students submit over 40,000 petition signatures to Queen's Park calling for free education for all, action on student debt

TORONTO, Nov. 1, 2016 /CNW/ - Students and allies are delivering over 40,000 petition signatures to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario today as part of the Fight the Fees campaign calling for free post-secondary education, increased funding for colleges and universities and immediate action to address Ontario's student debt crisis through non-repayable grants and elimination of interest on current student loans. The delivery is on the heels of a National Day of Action taking place tomorrow, November 2.

"The response by students and community members to these demands has been nothing short of extraordinary," said Rajean Hoilet, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario, "These petitions should make clear to everyone in Queen's Park that students and their families need bold action now to address the financial burdens associated with attending post-secondary education and enhance quality learning at our colleges and universities."

The petitions call for a reduction and elimination of tuition fees for all students including international and part-time students, conversion of Ontario student loans into non-repayable grants and the elimination of interest on current Ontario student loans. Students are also concerned that the positive effects of the new Ontario Student Grant could be eroded by rising student costs. Additionally, part-time students, professional studies students and international students are left out of these new changes.

"While changes to OSAP are a step in the right direction, we know there are many more financial barriers to education that go beyond tuition fees. Additionally, these new changes leave many students behind," said Gayle McFadden, Ontario National Executive Representative for the Federation. "It's a false dichotomy to say we can either have no tuition fees or targeted grants to help the most vulnerable students. Eliminating tuition fees for all removes one financial barrier; non-repayable grants and elimination of interest can help remove others."

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, Government and Media Relations Coordinator (647) 378 8942 or a.woods@cfsontario.ca


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