Ontario Budget Forecast for Students: Higher Tuition Fees and More Debt

    TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - The 2007 Ontario Budget released today offered
no new funding for students, despite the McGuinty government's plans to
continue dramatic tuition fees increases.
    "This year the government heard overwhelmingly from students and their
families that McGuinty's tuition fee increases were clawing back financial aid
and closing the doors on many students from low and middle income families,"
said Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of
Students. "We are really surprised that McGuinty has ignored those voters and
held so firmly to a conservative policy on access to Ontario's colleges and
    Since Premier Dalton McGuinty cancelled the tuition fee freeze in 2005
and announced tuition fee increases as high as 36% over the following four
years, he has received more than 50,000 petition signatures from Ontario
students and their families calling for a reduction of tuition fees. This
week, polling data collected by Feedback Research Corporation, on behalf of
the Canadian Federation of Students, demonstrated that 82% of Ontario voters
were concerned about the accessibility of college and university education and
75% supported tuition fee reductions.
    "With such a strong reaction from Ontario voters against the McGuinty
plan for tuition fee increases, we really expected this budget to address
these concerns through tuition protection and enhanced student grants," said
Greener. "In this budget, all we see is the Ontario government finally
releasing some of the Federal money that was promised over a year ago."
    The Budget largely restated promises made in 2005, including modest
infrastructure funding and an expansion of graduate student enrolment. "While
students are happy to see more spaces for graduate students, this budget will
barely accommodate the double cohort as it moves through the system," said
Greener. "Without an expansion of student grants, this budget leaves more
graduate students scrambling to compete for limited scholarships."
    "McGuinty has tried to define himself as the 'Education Premier' but all
voters have seen is a trail of broken promises," said Greener. "High tuition
fees and the prospect of larger debt-loads remain this budget's forecast for
Ontario's students and their families."

    The Canadian Federation of Students, Canada's national student
organisation, unites more than 500,000 college and university students from
coast to coast, and over 300,000 in Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Jesse Greener, Ontario Chairperson at (416)
925-3825 or (416) 301-5747 (cell); Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser at (416)
925-3825 or (416) 707-0349 (cell)

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