TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - The 2014 Ontario Budget contains nothing to support the province's struggling college and university students, missing a crucial opportunity to invest in young people.
"This budget makes it crystal clear that students don't register as a Liberal priority," said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "We have a generation struggling with rising tuition fees and dismal job prospects and the Liberal government can't even pay them lip service."
The budget contains no new funding to improve access, affordability and quality of college and university education in the province and continues the trend of reducing funding to institutions and increasing tuition fees. Adding insult to injury, students weren't mentioned a single time in Finance Minister Charles Sousa's speech before the Legislative Assembly.
Under the Liberal government, Ontario has become the most expensive province in which to pursue post-secondary education, with tuition fees increasing as much as 80 per cent since they took office. In 2011, the Liberal Party promised a 30 per cent tuition fee reduction, but instead instituted a grant with a fixed value that less than a quarter of all students receive. Still, the Liberals have been distributing pre-campaign materials celebrating the 30 per cent tuition fee reduction they never delivered.
"By putting access to post-secondary education on the back burner, this government is condemning a generation to a future of financial insecurity and uncertainty," said Woods. "If we fail to act now, we will not only jeopardize young people's prospects, but the very economic and social health of our province."
During pre-budget consultations, students recommended a cost neutral plan to reduce tuition fees by 16 per cent this September, as part of a three year plan to reduce tuition fees for all students by 30 per cent.
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the largest and oldest student organization in Ontario, representing more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario
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