Government Cuts Grants for Students: A Textbook Case of Botched Policy

    TORONTO, May 1 /CNW/ - Students planning to save for next year's studies
learned today of the Ontario government's decision to cut the Distance Grant
and the Textbook and Technology Grant for any student not qualified for the
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). For middle-income students who
aren't eligible for most financial assistance, this decision means McGuinty is
prioritising government savings over family savings.
    "Poor promotion and red-tape have plagued the Textbook and Technology
Grant and Distance Grant from the beginning," said Shelley Melanson,
Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "If something is
broken, you fix it. You don't throw it out. Ontarians can't afford to waste
scarce financial aid."
    The Textbook and Technology Grant and the Distance Grant were the main
plank of McGuinty's re-election platform in 2007. When they were introduced,
they promised Ontario students $82.3 million to offset the costs of textbooks
and $8.2 million to help rural students travel to school. Although the
Textbook and Technology Grant was budgeted to save money for all students, it
was only automatically provided to students receiving OSAP. Other students
were required to seek out the grant themselves but a general lack of awareness
resulted in a low take-up of the grant.
    "The best way to ensure every student gets the grant is to deliver it
automatically through tuition fee reductions," said Melanson. "This is a
textbook example of how good ideas can be botched by a lack of stakeholder
consultation. The problems of promotion and distribution could have been
avoided had the government listened to students."
    "With record job loss and an economic downturn, Ontario needs to invest
in improving access to post-secondary education through proper funding and
protecting students from from tuition fee increases," said Melanson.

    The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000
college and university students across the province.

For further information:

For further information: Shelley Melanson, CFS-Ontario Chairperson,
(416) 925-3825 or (416) 882-9927 (cell); Joel Duff, CFS-Ontario Organiser,
(416) 707-0349 (cell)

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