TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2016 /CNW/ - The Ontario government must increase the financial support provided to low-income students who want to pursue post-secondary education, Ontario's colleges said today.
"To lift more people out of poverty, we must help more low-income students enrol in post-secondary education," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "This should be a priority in the government's 2016 provincial budget."
It is particularly important to help more students enrol in the career-specific programs at Ontario's colleges, which serve a student population that reflects the makeup of the general population. More than 50 per cent of college applicants have household incomes of less than $60,000.
One step the province should take to enhance student support would be to reform the eligibility requirements for the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant that was introduced in 2012.
Currently, the grant is only available to students who graduated from high school within the past four years. As the majority of college students don't come directly from high school, the current requirements mean many low-income college students can't apply for the grant.
Reworking the criteria so that the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant helps increased numbers of low-income students would strengthen the professional and technical skills of Ontario's workforce.
"In the new innovation economy, all qualified youth must have access to higher education," Franklin said. "The government should use its upcoming budget to strengthen its commitment to those who need financial help."
SOURCE Colleges Ontario
For further information: Amy Dickson, Manager, Media Relations and Communications, Colleges Ontario, 647-258-7686, [email protected]