TORONTO, May 22, 2014 /CNW/ - A plan announced today by the New Democrats that would freeze tuition fees in Ontario for the next four years is a welcome first step, but addressing high tuition fees and student debt must go farther.
"Tuition fees in Ontario are the highest in the country," said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Freezing tuition fees at these levels is simply not enough to mend the damage of eight years of fee increases under the Liberal government."
The NDP plan will also expand eligibility for the Ontario Tuition Grant, eliminate interest on student loans and commits to restoring passenger service on Ontario Northland Rail.
Under the current Liberal government, tuition fees are set to increase three to five per cent per year until 2016-17. Before the election, the Liberals distributed misleading materials about their record on tuition fees, which have increased by as much as 80 per cent since the Liberals took office. Last week, Tim Hudak announced that a Progressive Conservative government would cut student aid by more than $400 million.
"While these proposals from the NDP are a step in the right direction, students urge all three parties to be bolder and commit to a long-term strategy to reduce tuition fees in Ontario," said Woods.
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario launched a campaign this week, Generation Vote, calling on the parties to address issues impacting students and youth including:
- Reducing tuition fees for all students by 30 per cent;
- Preventing institutions from charging illegal ancillary fees;
- Introducing OHIP coverage for international students;
- Ending unpaid internships; and
- Increasing public transit funding for lower student fares and student discounts.
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the province's largest student organization, representing over 350,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students in every region of the province.
Image with caption: "Tuition fees cost students today more than six times what students paid a generation ago. (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140522_C9479_PHOTO_EN_40636.jpg
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario
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