OTTAWA, Oct. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - - Students from Algoma University, Nipissing University, Laurentian University and Lakehead University are speaking with Members of Parliament and Senators this week about the issues facing students and youth in Northern Ontario. The meetings are part of the Canadian Federation of Students' National Lobby Week.
"In addition to paying the highest tuition fees in the country, Northern Ontario students must also contend with high transportation and food costs and fewer job opportunities than in other regions," said Corey Grist, Northern Commissioner for the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario and Vice-President External of the Nipissing University Students' Union. "By reducing tuition fees and tackling the student debt crisis, the federal government could positively impact Northern Ontario students and communities."
Students in Ontario pay almost three times what students in Newfoundland and Labrador pay for a university education. High tuition fees have lead to a growing gap between the number of people in Northern Ontario who have a university degree compared to the rest of the province. Between 1996 and 2006, the difference between the percentage of people in Northern Ontario who had a university degree and the overall percentage in the province increased from 6.2 per cent to almost 9 per cent.
Students are recommending establishing a Post-Secondary Education Act, modelled on the Canada Health Act that would ensure equitable access to affordable post-secondary education across the country. As well, students are calling on the federal government to reduce federal student debt by half.
"With the Ontario government refusing to make affordable college and university education a priority, students need federal leadership to tackle high tuition fees and mounting student debt," said Grist. "Without it, students and young people in Northern Ontario will be left behind."
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario represents more than 300,000 students including students at Algoma University, Collège Boréal, Lakehead University, Laurentian University and Nipissing University.
SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario
For further information:
For more information or to schedule an interview with a student representative:
Kaley Kennedy, Government Relations Coordinator (Ontario): 647-302-3891