Students disappointed with Ontario Throne Speech

TORONTO, March 8 /CNW/ - Students were disappointed that today's Throne Speech made no commitment to address the under funding of Ontario's colleges and universities. While the creation of student spaces and increased recruitment of students overseas were both highlights, students were left with little to help them contend with the high cost of education.

"The additional 20,000 student spaces announced in today's Throne Speech only addresses half of the estimated space needed to accommodate Ontario's future students," said Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario. "With Ontario students paying the highest tuition fees in the country, we were disappointed to hear that there were no measures announced to help current students."

In the absence of any funding announcements, the Throne Speech identified the government's intention to aggressively recruit international students. "International students are an important part of our college and university communities," said Hamid Osman, National Executive Representative of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Students are concerned that this announcement signals this government's intention to fund colleges and universities off the backs of international students."

International students help to diversify the experience of all students at colleges and universities, while making important contributions to the local economy. International students contributed $2.1 billion to Ontario's economy in 2008 alone. Despite these benefits, international students pay two to three times more than domestic students for the same education and are forced to take on additional costs for private health insurance coverage.

"The government has a responsibility to reduce the burden of high fees for all students - domestic and international," said Osman. "Without further funding commitments, students will be shut out of Ontario's changing economy."

"Universal access to education is critical to ensuring the long-term viability of Ontario's economy and without proper investment in post-secondary education, the province's universities and colleges will not meet the increased demands of changing population," said Melanson. "We look forward to funding announcements that address these concerns in the 2010 Budget."

The Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario unites more than 300,000 college and university students studying at public post-secondary institutions across the province.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

For further information: For further information: Hamid Osman, National Executive Representative: (647) 448-2823; Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser: (416)-707-0349

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