Students Call on New Ministers to be Activists for Affordable Education

    TORONTO, Oct. 30 /CNW/ - College and university students across the
province welcomed today's appointment of John Milloy as the Minister of
Training, Colleges and Universities, Dwight Duncan as the Minister of Finance
and Deb Matthews as the Minister of Children and Youth Services.
    "I congratulate Mr. Milloy, Mr. Duncan and Ms. Matthews on their
appointments," said Jen Hassum, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of
Students-Ontario. "Students are encouraged that the government has indicated
its intention to reduce poverty and we are looking for clear commitments that
will recognise the importance of affordable post-secondary education in
accomplishing this goal."
    A Statistics Canada report published earlier this month confirmed that
tuition fee increases introduced when the Ontario government cancelled a
tuition fee freeze in 2006 have driven up the national average of fee
increases. Ontario undergraduate students have been charged 4.4% more on
average since 2006-2007, as compared to the national average rate of increase
of 2.8%. This year, Ontario's undergraduate tuition fees have reached an
average of $5,381, or $6,081 including ancillary fees. In some programmes like
law at the University of Toronto, annual fees are well over $18,000.
    "Affordable post-secondary education is a vital part of reducing
poverty," said Hassum. "The poorest Ontarians need to have the opportunities
that only college and university education will provide in the 21st century.
No serious poverty reduction strategy would include higher tuition fees and a
debt-based system of financial assistance."
    Students and their families continue to call for the new Government of
Ontario to roll back tuition fee increases, end the collection of illegal
ancillary fees and reinvest in equal opportunity for all Ontarians by
replacing the current loan-based system of student financial assistance with a
grant-based system.
    "Students are calling on Minister Milloy to be an activist for
affordability," said Hassum. "With unprecedented prosperity in this province,
a surplus of more than $2 billion and voters' clear support for lower tuition
fees and reduced student debt, we look forward to working with the new
ministers to make post-secondary education in Ontario an example of
accessibility and quality for others to follow."

    The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000
college and university students and 35 students' unions across the province.

For further information:

For further information: Jen Hassum, Chairperson: (416) 925-3825 or
(416) 832-9073 (cell); Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser: (416) 925-3825 or (416)
707-0349 (cell)

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