TORONTO, Jan. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Students are calling on the Liberal government to implement a true tuition fee reduction after today's announcement that students in five-year co-op programs and students at private career colleges will now be eligible for the Ontario Tuition Grant.
"Despite these additions, more than 600,000 students are still ineligible for the Ontario Tuition Grant," said Anna Goldfinch, representative of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Instead of reducing tuition fees for all students, this government is committed to a program that excludes more than two-thirds of students in Ontario."
In the 2011 election, the Ontario Liberal Party committed to reducing tuition fees by 30 per cent. Instead, they introduced the restrictive Ontario Tuition Grant, while also increasing tuition fees. The expanded eligibility criteria will allow for about 5,000 students who are in the final year of a five-year co-op program or who attend a private career college to apply for the grant.
Private career colleges have come under fire by the Ontario Ombudsman in the past for a lack of adequate public oversight. Tuition fees at private career colleges are often three to four times the fees at public institutions and as a result, private career colleges have higher student loan default rates. These institutions also heavily recruit from immigrant and newcomer communities. In several instances, students have been left behind when private career colleges have shut down overnight, leaving students with without a credential and out thousands of dollars.
"The priority of the provincial government should be to make public post-secondary education more affordable, not find new ways to fund and promote private institutions," said Goldfinch.
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the province's largest student organization, representing more than 300,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario
For further information:
Kaley Kennedy, Communications Coordinator: (647) 302-3891 (cell) or [email protected]