McGuinty Government Expanding Postsecondary Opportunities

    Additional Investment Helps Young People Become First In Their Family
    To Go To College, University Or Become An Apprentice

    TORONTO, June 7 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is helping students whose
parents did not attend college or university become the first in their family
to pursue a postsecondary education, Chris Bentley, Minister of Training,
Colleges and Universities, announced today.
    "Our government is helping more families start a postsecondary
tradition," said Bentley. "Today's announcement will provide more young people
with the information and financial support they need to pursue higher
    The government is making a $30-million, three-year investment to help
first generation students pursue a postsecondary education. $27 million will
support projects run by colleges, universities, and community-based
organizations that encourage first generation students to pursue a
postsecondary education. An additional $3 million will go to Ontario First
Generation Student Bursaries that will be distributed by colleges and
universities to eligible students with financial needs.
    The announcement was made at Central Commerce Collegiate in Toronto,
where George Brown College and Ryerson University are collaborating to provide
a range of programming for first generation students. Over the next three
years, George Brown College is receiving $1,026,000 and Ryerson University is
receiving $1,131,000 to promote postsecondary education and training options
to youth and provide a range of in-school support services to first generation
students once they are accepted into college, university or an apprenticeship.
    "The ministry has shown tremendous commitment to the First Generation
program," said Anne Sado, President of George Brown College. "This new
announcement will ensure that many more students will be assisted in making a
successful transition from high school to postsecondary institutions."
    "Everything about this program is a winner," said Sheldon Levy, President
of Ryerson University. "The Ontario government is saying to students, your
family believes in you and we believe in you. Here is a way you can get a
great education and we will support you."
    With the input of first generation students, the government has also
developed a First Generation Students Toolkit and interactive Your Future
website to encourage young people to be the first in their family to pursue a
college or university education or apprenticeship training. The toolkit and
website address questions that high school students typically have about
pursuing a higher education. The website is available at: and the toolkit will be distributed to high schools
across the province next week.
    "86,000 more students have the opportunity to go to college and
university since our government started - a 22 per cent increase," added
Bentley. "More students are receiving grants - there are three times as many
grants going to 120,000 students."

    Disponible en français



                          FIRST GENERATION STUDENTS

    First generation students are those whose parents did not participate in
postsecondary studies. Youth whose parents do not have a postsecondary
education are 2.4 times less likely to attend college or university. These
students face additional barriers to accessing studies at college, university
or an apprenticeship. These barriers can include a lack of community supports
needed to graduate from high school, insufficient information about the
benefits of postsecondary education and training from friends and family,
lower expectations or confidence about succeeding at college or university,
and limited financial resources.
    Ontario has made progress in increasing postsecondary participation, with
40 per cent of 18-24 year olds participating in postsecondary education or
training, compared to 35 per cent in 2002-03. The province also has one of the
highest postsecondary graduate rates in the G-8 with 54.6 per cent of
Ontarians aged 25 and older having completed postsecondary education or
training. Ontario's continued economic well-being will require even more
postsecondary graduates, with 70 per cent of all new jobs projected to need
more than a high school diploma. Many first generation students are likely to
be among the large number of young people who enter high school but do not go
on to postsecondary programs, including apprenticeship.
    In February 2006, the government established an advisory committee on
first generation students. This committee provides ongoing advice to the
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities on access issues affecting
first generation students and helps identify priority areas for conducting new
research on reducing barriers to access.
    To expand opportunities for these students, the Ontario government
invested almost $10 million in projects and bursaries from 2005 to 2007 at
colleges, universities and community-based organizations to encourage first
generation students to pursue a higher education.
    Building on the success of the program to date, the McGuinty government
is investing an additional $27 million over three years ($6 million in
2007-08; $9 million in 2008-09 and $12 million in 2009-10) to help first
generation students. As well, an additional $3 million will be invested over
three years in Ontario First Generation Student Bursaries to help eligible
students with financial needs.

    First generation projects funded in 2006-07 include:
    -   Training and support programs to encourage high school students to
        pursue and complete postsecondary education and training
    -   Information sessions for parents
    -   Open houses at colleges and universities
    -   Activities designed to reach students in remote and rural communities
        as well as Aboriginal and francophone students and people from low-
        income families.

    Some of the postsecondary institutions and community based organizations
receiving multi-year funding for transition-focussed programming include:
    -   George Brown College
    -   Ryerson University
    -   Seneca College (the SCOrE program)
    -   Pathways to Education Canada.

    This investment is part of the government's historic $6.2 billion
Reaching Higher plan. The plan is getting results for the people of Ontario,
including improved access for 86,000 additional students and a tripling of
student grants.
    Other initiatives to support greater access to postsecondary education in
Ontario include:

    -   Increasing threefold the number of grants going to 120,000 students
        compared to 2003-04, including 60,000 upfront tuition grants for low-
        to middle-income students
    -   Increasing maximum annual assistance by $2,550 - a 27 per cent
        increase - for a total of $11,900 in maximum annual assistance after
        an 11 year freeze
    -   Providing 60,000 upfront grants for low- to middle-income students
        this year; tuition grants were re-introduced by the government in
    -   Limiting student debt with Ontario Student Opportunity Grants for
        about 80,000 students by forgiving all student loans over $7,000 a
    -   Introducing the new OSAP Access Window website - available at - to help college and university students more easily
        access increased financial aid and scholarships.

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Sheamus Murphy, Minister's Office, (416)
325-7215; Tanya Blazina, Communications Branch, Ministry of Training, Colleges
and Universities, (416) 325-2746; Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or
1-800-387-5514; TTY: 1-800-263-2892

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Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

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