A Positive First Step for Post-secondary Education

    OTTAWA, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's students are relieved that the
Conservative Government finally took a first step towards improving Canada's
post-secondary system.. The budget included several initiatives for
post-secondary education, the highlight being an increase of $800 million in
earmarked federal funding for post-secondary education.
    "Students have been pushing for a dedicated transfer payment for years
now, and this is a step in the right direction," said Phillippe Ouellette,
National Director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA),
"yet the government's commitment to increase funding to $3.2 billion dollars
by 2008-09 only partly makes up for the cuts made by the Liberals in the early
    CASA has led the way in calling for a dedicated transfer payment for
post-secondary education, which would require an investment of at least $4
billion dollars annually from the federal government to return us to 1993
levels. Today's budget committed to increased funding beginning in 2008-09.
    "We're pleased that the government will be talking to the provinces about
how to establish dedicated post-secondary funding, but why has it taken them
two years to live up to their election promise?" asked Mr. Ouellette.
    The budget also committed to reviewing and modernizing the Canada Student
Loans Program in the next year, another initiative CASA has been calling for.
    "We need to review the way we deliver student financial assistance in
Canada, to ensure aid is going to those students who need it most, and to
address the issue of increasing student debt," responded Mr. Ouellette.
    CASA met with the Prime Minister in late 2006, and lobbied on a variety
of issues, including a dedicated post-secondary funding as well as a review on
student financial assistance. Students are pleased to see that our their lobby
efforts are producing results and will no doubt be motivated to hold the
government accountable for the promises made today.
    The budget delivered $35 million over 2 years for more Canada Graduate
Scholarships, but failed to address the impeding expiration of the Canada
Millennium Scholarship Foundation, which delivers $350 million in needs-based
grants annually.
    "This budget is a positive move," said Mr. Ouellette, "but an increase of
$800 million to the provinces will not mean much if the federal government
does not act quickly to renew the millions of dollars in grants that will soon
disappear," concluded Mr. Ouellette.

    The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is a not-for-profit
national student organization.  CASA is one of the most successful education
lobby groups in Canada, offering progressive, common sense education reform
solutions for over a decade.

For further information:

For further information: Or to arrange an interview, contact: Caen Suni,
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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