Ontario Students Disappointed by Cuts to Student Financial Assistance

    TORONTO, May 1 /CNW/ - This morning John Milloy, Minister of Training,
Colleges and Universities, announced reductions to the distribution of both
the Textbook and Technology Grant and the Distance Grant - two grants that
were only put into place in the fall of 2008. In these difficult economic
times, we should not be reducing financial support for students.
    The Textbook and Technology Grant allocated $150 annually (with the
promise of increasing to $300 per year when fully implemented) to assist with
the ever-increasing costs of textbooks and technology and the Distance Grant
allocated $500 per term to assist students who experience a barrier in
attending college or university based on the need to travel long distances to
reach their institution.
    These grants, which were once available to ALL full-time college and
university students, have been downgraded to the point that only students who
have been accepted for OSAP loans are eligible. This means that you can no
longer have a grant without a loan.
    "If the McGuinty government truly wants access to be guaranteed in our
post-secondary education system, this is a big step in the wrong direction,"
said Trevor Mayoh, President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
(OUSA). "A key benefit of these grants was that they were open to all
students, regardless of whether or not they had a loan. The announced changes
to the distribution will only penalize debt-adverse students and remove an
important form of funding for all."
    The changes to the grants announced this morning by Minister John Milloy
will force students to apply for loans if they want to access grants.
Low-income Ontarians will not be able to access grants without having to carry
the burden of student debt.
    "We will continue to engage our provincial leaders in serious discussions
to ensure that investments target high debt levels carried by Ontario students
and the reduction of financial, social and informational barriers for
underrepresented groups" says Howie Bender, Executive Director of the Ontario
Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA).

    OUSA represents the interests of more than 140,000 professional and
undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at seven institutions
across the province.

For further information:

For further information: Tammy McQueen, Communications Director of OUSA,
(416) 341-9948; Trevor Mayoh, President of OUSA, (519) 884-0710

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Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance

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