PETERBOROUGH, ON, Jan. 30, 2012 /CNW/ - Post-secondary education students from across the city plan to gift MPP Jeff Leal with two-dozen cupcakes on February 1. This event is associated with the National Day of Action for Students. The cupcakes are to represent those who will and will not receive the new tuition fee rebate. The students plan to write, with icing, a varied set of dollar values; representing how most students will lose money, and very few will obtain an increase. This rearrangement of grants is being presented to students throughout the province as a gift, but the gift is certainly spoiled.
"The qualifications for the grant ignore those students who are most in need of financial support. If you are a single parent, you don't qualify, but if you are without children, you qualify. If you are from the poorest portion of the Ontario population, the grant will be clawed back from another" explained Brea Hutchinson. "To fund this promise, the Ontario government is cutting the Textbook and Technology grant, grandfathering out the Queen Elizabeth grant, and ending the Ontario Trust for Students (OTS). The OTS program is where the government matches donations from individuals to universities and colleges. This helps colleges and universities grow their resources for financial assistance - scholarships and bursaries" she continued.
Throughout the province student reaction to the grant has been extremely mixed. The value is quite large; however an expected 65-70% of students from both colleges and universities will not qualify. Further compounding the problem is that the grant doesn't introduce any new funds to the post-secondary sector, all the money is coming from scrapping other programs and grants.
"If the Liberal government wanted to make education more accessible, with the same amount of resources they could have offered a 13-18% tuition fee reduction for every student. Instead, most students will start September 2012, with less, and a very small portion will start with more." "The Ontario Access Grant provides a large amount of funds to the poorest of Ontario's students. Sadly, under this new grant any dollar a student receives from the Ontario Access Grant will be deducted from the rebate. Most recipients received in excess of $2000, meaning they will not see a penny of this rebate. The poorest students of Ontario will only lose other grants and not gain. This is bad policy."
"On February 1st, students across the country will take to the streets to pressure our governments to make education a priority. The last Day of Action had more than 350,000 students rallying for education. This is the first year the Day of Action is occurring in Peterborough. All members of the Peterborough community who are passionate for education are encouraged to attend."
For further information:
Brea Hutchinson, Vice-President Student Issues, (705)-748-1000 (office) or (705)-761-6816 in the evening.