Katherine DeClerq | Fulcrum Staff
BACK IN OCTOBER, students voted in provincial elections across the country. We were faced with many parties, all of which had a post-secondary strategy—a tuition freeze, more money offered through the Ontario Student Assistance Program, or a 30 per cent decrease in tuition. Or, at least, those were the options we were made aware of.
It has recently been brought to my attention that the election promise of a 30 per cent reduction in tuition made by the McGuinty government has been turned into a 30 per cent grant. Apparently the change from reduction to grant happened before the actual election, although I don’t remember reading it in any of the campaign literature, and I was one of the few students that attended many debates and did research before voting.
When following up with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) annual general meeting, it was tweeted on numerous occasions that this grant will only be given to students who are eligible—part-time students, graduate students, financially independent students, and students with a poor grade point average will not be eligible for the grant.
Does anyone else see a problem with this?
The people who need the grant most—students who have to work while studying, students who have to pay a lot more money for a graduate degree, students who don’t get money from their parents, and students who may not be meant to write essays or do math—will not be eligible for any grant money from McGuinty.
Do you see the problem with it now?
The grant doesn’t actually help the people who need it. It is unfair and discriminatory that students who, like me, are financially independent from their parents are being denied the assistance they deserve and are desperate for. Because I choose to go to university away from home and have a job to pay for my
own education, I don’t deserve a 30 per cent discount on my tuition? As a student who doesn’t have an aptitude for exams, the fact that a less-than-perfect average would prevent me from getting the grant is troublesome. I work as hard as the rest, so why shouldn’t I be treated the same?
It is appalling how much this election promise has been distorted. I voted Liberal because they were offering a 30 per cent reduction in tuition fees. I thought it was the best option, yet now I am being told I may not even be eligible for the very thing I voted for.
Students have been played by the McGuinty government, just like they have been played by governments before his. For some reason, politicians think we won’t care, that we won’t do something. Well, I am sick and tired of being treated like I don’t matter, so I am calling to all students: Let’s not take this sitting down. Let’s do the one thing the government won’t expect—let’s do something about it.