Federal Budget Infrastructure Lacking for College Enhancements

    TORONTO, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - Ontario's college and college/university
students are pleased that Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, has committed $2
billion in new infrastructure funds to repair, improve and expand our
postsecondary education institutions in his 2009 Budget, says the College
Student Alliance (CSA).
    "Although college students welcome today's announcement, we are quite
disappointed that colleges will only be receiving 30 per cent of the $2
billion fund for infrastructure improvements," says Jenn Howarth, President of
the College Student Alliance. "Our college campuses are in just as much need
of repairs, improvements and expansion as our university campuses and given
the focus on re-training and skills development, we would have hoped that the
government would have recognized our needs equally."
    Budget 2009 outlines how these infrastructure funds are to be allocated
at universities and colleges. Universities are to invest in projects that
improve the quality of research and development and colleges in their ability
to deliver advanced knowledge and skills training. The federal government will
only pay up to half of the project costs; thus leaving our already
cash-strapped institutions and provinces on the hook to find the other half to
ensure these projects get off the ground.
    "Not only are college students concerned with the lack of equality of
funding for infrastructure, but we are also disheartened to see no expansion
of targeted grants and debt relief measures for those students struggling to
access and persist with their studies," adds Ms. Howarth.
    In a letter to Prime Minister Harper, the CSA and partners underscored
two important and positive financial aid measures that if adopted would ease
the pressures felt by current students and graduates. These measures were to:

    -   provide temporary targeted grants to counterbalance the difficulties
        students and their families may find themselves in during these hard
        economy times; and
    -   extend the non-repayment period for Canada Student Loans from the
        current six months, to 12 months and make it interest-free.

    "Today's budget investments and stimulus package must be re-evaluated to
ensure that all measures are working together to ensure the viability and
sustainability of our economy," says Tyler Charlebois, Director of Advocacy.

    The College Student Alliance (CSA) is an advocacy and services
organization, which has been proudly serving Ontario's college and
college/university students since 1975. The CSA currently represents 16
colleges and 23 student councils with over 109,000 full-time student members
throughout the province.

For further information:

For further information: Tyler Charlebois, Director of Advocacy, C:
(416) 346-9951, E: Charlebois@collegestudentalliance.ca; Jenn Howarth,
President, C: (705) 521-4776, E: president@collegestudentalliance.ca

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College Student Alliance

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