Ontario budget leaves questions about how students will afford an Open

TORONTO, March 25 /CNW/ - The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is pleased to see the government respond to student pressure by injecting new funding to follow the Reaching Higher framework that expires this year. Today's Budget backs up the Throne Speech announcement of 20,000 new student spaces with $310 million in funding, but leaves open the question about what the government is planning for tuition fees and financial assistance.

"Many students who will hope to see themselves in one of the 20,000 new spaces are people who have had trouble in this economy and difficulty finding work," said Hamid Osman, Ontario Representative of the Canadian Federation of Students. "How those students will cope with the high cost of post-secondary education is a question that the McGuinty government has yet to answer."

Last year, Ontario became the province with the highest tuition fees in the country, while also boasting the worst student to faculty ratio. The announcement of $310 million is expected to fund the projected enrollment increases, but includes no money to support affordability or quality. The Budget also announced funding to support the creation of a new credit transfer system and reiterated the intention to boost international student recruitment.

"This year more than 90,000 students sent postcards to the Premier calling on him to invest in higher education as an economic stimulus," said Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Students are glad to see that our message is finally getting through."

While the budget made no indication on tuition fee policy or changes to student financial assistance, students are expecting the news in the days ahead about how much they will have to shoulder for their education this fall.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000 college and university students across the province. The proposal for a new higher education framework can be found at www.cfsontario.ca.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

For further information: For further information: Hamid Osman, CFS-Ontario National Executive Representative: (647) 448-2823; Joel Duff, CFS-Ontario Organiser: (416) 707-0349

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