WINDSOR, ON, Feb. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - At 11:30am on Wednesday, February 1, Windsor students and their allies will march to protest high tuition fees and post-secondary education underfunding. Students will gather in front of Chrysler Hall Tower on Sunset Drive before taking to the streets for their Day of Action. With recent announcements of serious cuts to grants and scholarships in Ontario to pay for the Liberal 30 percent tuition fee rebate, many feel this is the perfect time to fight back.
"Universities have been underfunded since the 1990s," says Vajo Stajic, the Education and Advocacy Coordinator for the Organization of Part-time University Students (OPUS) and a Labour Studies student. "We need to pressure both the provincial and federal governments to make education a priority. Students can no longer stand by and let tuition fees rise. Post-secondary education needs to be accessible for all."
Only 34 percent of university and college students are eligible for the tuition fee rebate. The Ontario government has since announced more cuts to other grants and scholarships leaving many students without funding.
"Part-time students are just one group of many who are ineligible for this grant," says Stajic. "Many part-time students are from lower-income families and work multiple jobs just to get by. To exclude them from the grant is hurting those who are most in need."
"Not only are graduate student ineligible for the Liberal grant, but $44 million dollars have been cut in research funding," says Ahmed Abou Gharib, a graduate student at the University of Windsor in engineering. "Students who had been working hard on applications for months just got a phone call one day to tell them their funding had been cancelled. This is a huge blow to many projects at UWindsor."
"International students pay about three to four times more tuition fees than domestic students," says Tapas Biswas, an international student, taking Engineering at the University of Windsor. "Students are calling on the Ontario government to turn their rebate into a 13 percent across-the-board tuition fee cut for all students. This way, those who are most in need can receive the funding to attend university and contribute to the Canadian society."
In addition to part-time, graduate and international students, those excluded from the grant include mature students, students in second-entry programs (i.e. law, medicine, or education), students on academic probation (regardless of the reasons), students whose parents make over $160 000 a year (no matter how much support the student receives from them), out of province students and those who have been out of high school for four or more years.
The February 1, Day of Action is a national event which will see thousands of students across Canada take to the street to demand affordable, high-quality, accessible post-secondary education.
For further information:
Name: Ian Clough
Email: [email protected]
Phone number: 226-280-1260