New grant good start but high debt needs to be priority, students say

    TORONTO, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - This afternoon John Milloy, Minister of
Training, Colleges and Universities, announced the delivery mechanism of the
new Textbook and Technology Grant for this fall. The announcement reiterated
the commitment from the 2008 budget which allocated $385 million to assist
with the ever-increasing costs of textbooks and technology for full-time
community college and university students. This investment starts at $150 per
student this fall, increasing to $225 in the fall of 2009 and $300 in
subsequent years.
    "Students welcome this investment aimed at addressing the increasing
costs of textbooks and technology," says Trevor Mayoh, President of the
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), "However, we believe that an
investment of this size would have a greater impact if it was targeted at
those who need it the most. For example, an investment this large would
significantly reduce the unacceptably high debt levels for students in
    The investment committed for the Textbook and Technology Grant highlights
the recognition by the provincial government that the cost of education is
growing outside of traditional indicators, such as tuition, and that financial
support must follow. However, focusing on a universal delivery mechanism,
rather than one that is focused on students with the highest financial need,
does little to address the persistent barriers to access and affordability.
    "Along with the provincial government and institutional student aid
offices, we will be informing students across the province that this grant is
available to them this year. We want to make sure that every eligible student
benefits from this opportunity," says Howie Bender, Executive Director of the
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). "At the same time, we will
continue to engage our provincial leaders in serious discussions to ensure
that investments target high debt levels and the reduction of financial,
social and informational barriers for underrepresented groups."

    OUSA represents the interests of more than 135,000 professional and
undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at seven institutions
across the province.

For further information:

For further information: Trevor Mayoh, President, OUSA: (519) 497-6773;
Howie Bender, Executive Director, OUSA: (647) 504-7010, f: (416) 341-0058

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Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance

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