Students say that student financial assistance must be reformed

TORONTO, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Students are calling for a suite of changes to be made to student financial assistance in Ontario to help ease the burden of paying the highest tuition fees in Canada. This call comes after a summer with record-high youth unemployment, double-digit increases in applications for student loans and another tuition fee increase of between four and eight percent this fall.

"Last week, students delivered more than 90,000 postcards to Premier Dalton McGuinty calling on him to prioritize post-secondary education and help students deal with rising tuition fees," said Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "Students are drowning in debt and need the student loans system in Ontario to be reformed."

The submission, Our Bright Future: Student Financial Assistance, is part of a number of documents that recommend how the Ontario government can make positive changes for the post-secondary education sector. Each of the seven recommendations would help to ensure that those students who need financial assistance to access post-secondary education actually receive it.

"Despite promising that no student would be denied access because of higher fees, this government has set up programs that students have not accessed, for a variety of reasons," said Melanson. "For example, the First Generation Bursary, available to all students who are the first in their family to go to college or university, was accessed by only one percent of those students who were identified as being first generation by institutional data. We hope that student recommendations will be implemented, and that programs set up to help students actually do just that - help students."

While this submission focuses on student financial assistance, submissions that target funding and quality, credit transfer and regional issues will be released over the next several weeks. The submission made on tuition and ancillary fees has already been submitted. All copies of Our Bright Future can be found at

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: Shelley Melanson, Ontario Chairperson, (416) 882-9927; Joel Duff, Ontario Organiser, (416) 925-3825

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