Ontario College Students Respond to 2014 Ontario Budget

TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Ministry of Finance released the 2014 Ontario Budget: "Building Opportunity, Securing Our Future". The release of the budget does not present many surprises to Ontario's college students.

The 2014 Ontario Budget includes a reaffirmation of Ontario's commitment to achieving a 70% postsecondary attainment rate. This is to be reached through funding for Ontario Online, a continuing commitment to improve the Credit Transfer system, and expanded funding to address critical deferred maintenance issues in Ontario's PSE sector.

"In order to address the challenges facing the province of Ontario's labour market and economy, we must strengthen the Ontario college system," says Katryna McKenna, Vice President of the College Student Alliance. "Ontario's college students recognize the challenges of balancing fiscal restraint with the need to maintain quality and improve access to a post-secondary education in Ontario. The CSA will continue to work with the government of Ontario in the pursuit of sustaining an accessible, affordable, and transferable college system."

In the College Student Alliance's 2014 pre-budget submission, "Focus on Student Success," college students asked for further expansion of the 30% Off Ontario Tuition Program, an increase in per-student funding to meet the national average, and to phase out Tuition Tax Credits in favor of up-front grants. The Ontario 2014 Budget does not address these issues directly, but did confirm continued funding to the 30% Off Ontario Tuition Program and an overall sector growth rate of 1% or $0.2 billion between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

The budget promises $42 million over 3 years to fund the creation of Ontario Online, a Centre of Excellence for Online Learning, which will be fully operational and begin online course offerings in 2015-16. The Ontario Online initiative includes a focus on student mobility, also identified as a budget item. A $500 million commitment to critical deferred maintenance issues on Ontario Campuses over the next 10 years comes as a response to the backlog of maintenance issues plaguing the sector. Increasing to $40 million in 2015-16, this increased funding is a welcome investment in the sustainability of our campuses and the quality of the Ontario student experience.

"In order to improve upon the quality and accessibility of the college sector, post-secondary education must remain a funding priority', says Tyler Epp, Director of Advocacy for the CSA. "This year's budget will assist prospective and current college students in attaining the skills required for a successful career, therefore lending support to Ontario's economic stability."

For more information on the College Student Alliance's pre-budget submission, visit: www.collegestudentalliance.ca.

The College Student Alliance (CSA) is an advocacy organization, which has been proudly serving Ontario's college students since 1975. The CSA currently represents 15 colleges and 21 student councils with over 130,000 full-time student members throughout the province.

SOURCE: College Student Alliance

For further information:

Tyler Epp
Director of Advocacy
College Student Alliance

Katryna McKenna
Vice President
College Student Alliance

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College Student Alliance

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