TORONTO, March 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Tuition, youth unemployment, and student mental health supports are important issues for Ontarians according the results of a survey released today by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). Entitled "Public Opinion on Tuition, Youth Unemployment, and Efforts to Support Students Living with Mental Illness in Ontario," the survey, conducted by Nanos Research on OUSA's behalf, details the opinion of a random sample of Ontarians on these issues.
The results indicate that an overwhelming majority of Ontarians believe that the current tuition framework of 5% annual tuition increases is unfair. Even when reminded of the current provincial deficit, when asked if they would be supportive of a tuition freeze accompanied by increased government funding to universities, almost 60% of respondents supported this measure.
Ontarians were also asked to provide their opinion on tying subsequent tuition increases to inflation, with 70.8% of respondents agreeing that should tuition increase in the future, it should be by no more than the rate of inflation as measured by Ontario's Consumer Price Index.
"Ontarians recognize that our province has the least affordable tuition in the country," said Alysha Li, President of OUSA. "Support for a more affordable tuition framework, including an immediate tuition freeze, strongly exists in Ontario."
Survey respondents also indicated that they would be supportive of new government investment into strategies for addressing high youth unemployment rates in Ontario. Approximately three out of four respondents noted that they would be supportive of a new $100 million investment into initiatives targeting youth unemployment by the provincial government, despite Ontario's deficit reduction targets.
Reducing wait times for front-line mental health care on campuses and investing in self-management workshops for students to address their symptoms as they arise were selected as the top priorities for increased funding for campus mental health care, according to the survey results. Respondents were asked to choose between reducing campus wait times, investing in self-management strategies, the sharing of best practices between institutions, and directing resources towards anti-stigma campaigns as their preferred means of addressing student mental health issues. Front-line care and self-management strategies received 33.4% and 28.5% support respectively.
"Residents of Ontario believe more can be done to address student health and unemployment," continued Li. "New investment into strategies designed to combat these issues will not only benefit students, but the province as a whole."
To see the results of "Public Opinion on Tuition, Youth Unemployment, and Efforts to Support Students Living with Mental Illness in Ontario," click here.
About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
OUSA represents the interests of over 155,000 professional and undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at nine member associations across Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
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