Northern Ontarians worried about state of college and university education

SUDBURY, ON, March 14 /CNW/ - Voters in Northern Ontario believe that the quality of education offered at Ontario colleges and universities has declined since Dalton McGuinty became Premier, according to a new poll released today at Laurentian University. Northern Ontarians believe that the affordability of college and university tuition fees is more of a concern than reducing taxes or crime.

The poll, commissioned by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) and the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario (CFS-O), finds that 73 per cent of Northern Ontarians want the post-secondary education system to be a priority for the provincial government.

"The effects of the recession have been felt acutely in Northern Ontario and as people look to college and university education to improve their job opportunities, it's clear that the high cost of tuition fees poses a barrier," said Sandy Hudson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "The vast majority of Northerners believe that tuition fees are too high."

In Ontario, tuition fees have risen by an average of 28 per cent over the past five years. Ontario now has the highest tuition fees in Canada - an average of $6,307 per year for an undergraduate student and nearly $9,000 for a graduate student.

"Students who study in Northern Ontario face unique barriers to accessing post-secondary education and the results of this poll demonstrate the need for Dalton McGuinty to immediately freeze the cost of tuition fees," said Vanessa Galstaldo, Northern Region Caucus Chairperson and student at Algoma University.

The results of this study are based on a poll of 1,800 Ontarians over the age of 18 conducted between January 5 and 14, 2011. The Northern Ontario results are based on a sample of 300 residents over the age of 18. The margin of error for the Northern Ontario sample is +/- 4.0 percentage points within a confidence interval of 95%.

This is the fifth wave of findings released. The first findings were released on Friday January 21, 2011 and examined Ontarians' attitudes towards the internationalization of post-secondary education. The second, third and fourth looked at attitudes towards universities and colleges in the Ottawa, 905 and Southern Ontario regions. For more details and complete results please visit

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000 college and university undergraduate and graduate students studying at post-secondary institutions across the province. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is the voice of 17,000 university professors and academic librarians across Ontario.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information:

Nora Loreto, Communications and Government Relations Coordinator, CFS-Ontario: 416-925-3825or416-846-6672

Christine Bourque, Northern Fieldworker, CFS-Ontario: 705-561-9009 [cell]

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