TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - Despite investments of $500 million over 10
years aimed at addressing deferred maintenance, students are concerned
that the 2014 Ontario Budget represents a missed opportunity to address
the rapidly rising cost of post-secondary education and the widening
university attainment gap for Ontario's most vulnerable populations.
In January, students released their 2014 Budget Submission, Education Works: Envisioning a Fairer Society for Ontario's Youth. This submission included recommendations for addressing shortcomings
within Ontario's financial assistance programs, increasing co-op and
work-integrated learning opportunities for undergraduates, and an
investment in 200 new teaching-focused faculty positions across
Ontario's university campuses.
"OUSA's pre-budget submission outlined educated, low-cost solutions to
many of the challenges facing Ontario's students," said Amir
Eftekarpour, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) President
and Vice-President External of the University Students' Council (USC)
of Western University. "Students were heartened to see that overall
funding to the post-secondary system will increase, as well as the
Province firming its commitment to Ontario Online's launch in 2015-16,
enhanced student mobility and expanding work-integrated learning."
However, students were disappointed that the government again failed to
address the reallocation of $340 million in tuition and education tax
credits as financial assistance as a no-cost way to enhance the
up-front and ongoing costs of attending university. "The omission of
new funding aimed at addressing the affordability and accessibility of
an undergraduate education is disappointing, particularly in the
context of the Premier's remarks about the Budget as a strategic tool
to boost Ontario's economic and social future," said Eftekarpour.
"The Budget's inclusion of critical infrastructure repair and upgrades
at our post-secondary institutions signals the Province's recognition
that physical campus spaces are critical to a student's academic
success," said Eftekarpour. "Although students are appreciative of the
$500 million targeted to address deferred maintenance on Ontario's
campuses, students urge the government to ensure that any future
investments earmarked for deferred maintenance projects match estimated
current replacement values."
"A lack of investment in post-secondary education priorities in the 2014
provincial budget means that Ontario's students will continue to
contend with some of the highest tuition and lowest per-student funding
in Canada," continued Eftekarpour. "Students are hopeful that although
not outlined in the Budget, the Province and the Ministry of Training,
Colleges and Universities will continue to work to improve the
affordability and accessibility for all qualified students in Ontario."
About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
OUSA represents the interests of almost 140,000 professional and
undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at seven member
associations across Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
For further information:
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Brandon Sloan, Director of Communications.
T: (416) 605-1345