Ontario students urge new government to move forward by making higher education a priority

    TORONTO, Oct. 11 /CNW/ - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
(OUSA) encourages the new provincial government to make higher education a
priority, and deliver on the commitments made to students over the course of
the campaign.
    "Premier McGuinty made important commitments to the students of this
province. We are looking forward to working with his government in order make
those commitments a reality," said David Simmonds, President of OUSA. The
McGuinty Liberals promised the province that they would work to move forward
together. OUSA will work to ensure students see the vision transformed into a

    Some of the Liberal commitments to students in Ontario include:

    -   Eliminate education tax credits and use the money to provide grants
        for students who are unable to cover the cost of their education.
        This one change alone can provide an additional 300 million in
        revenue for Ontario.

    -   Extend the grace period for loan repayment

    -   Make grants available to rural and northern students in order to
        reduce barriers that keep many rural students out of university.

    -   Invest in early outreach initiatives aimed at improving access for at
        risk youth. This type of programs have been able to significantly
        reduce dropout rates while increasing the amount of students from
        underrepresented groups and at risk youth that are able to attend
        post-secondary education where they have been implemented.

    "The commitments in the Liberal platform are steps in the right
direction; however they do not address some of the pressing challenges facing
students in the province. This term in government needs to see increases in
funding, improvements to financial assistance, and a tuition framework that is
affordable, student centric, sustainable and predictable," said Simmonds. "A
holistic approach to higher education in the province will require us to
increase funding to at least the national average. We need to re-examine our
student financial assistance system and the share of the cost of education
that students will have to pay."

    For more information on OUSA's current policy and campaign initiatives,
please visit www.ousa.ca.

    OUSA represents the interests of over 125,000 professional and
undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at seven
institutions across the province.

For further information:

For further information: Chris Locke, Executive Director, OUSA, (416)
341-9948, cell: (416) 689-9621; David Simmonds, President, OUSA, (519)
661-3574; Howie Bender, Director of Communications, OUSA, (416) 341-9948

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