Volume 93, Issue 36

Wednesday, November 3, 1999


OUSA forum harps on students' tuition

No Return of the Blob for the city

Access cause for concern in market

Tadpoles may hold key

Brain drain continues to cause campus concern


bass ackwards

Caught on campus

OUSA forum harps on students' tuition

By Stephanie Cesca
Gazette Staff

Representatives from the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance convened in Toronto yesterday to send a strong message to the provincial government.

Ryan Parks, executive director of OUSA, said the forum took place at the University of Toronto's Hart House and discussed initiatives students want to see regarding tuition and financial aid.

Parks said OUSA has a number of proposals they would like the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to enforce, such as freezing tuition for the next few years. In addition, Parks said the government should increase per capita public funding to the national average.

The forum was an attempt to get the word out at a time when the Ministry is preparing to make an announcement about the direction of tuition rates as well as operating funds, Parks explained.

Currently, Parks said Ontario ranks last out of the 10 provinces for post-secondary funding, while tuition has increased 134.2 per cent in the past 10 years.

Overall, Parks said the forum went quite well. "We had a number of people come down from the member schools and they had a chance to speak with the Ministry."

University Students' Council VP-education Mark Kissel said he thought the forum was successful. "We had quite a number of regular students there," he said. "We had displays and information sheets."

Kissel added the government must take notice of the importance of financial assistance and decrease tuition rates. "The way the tuition is going, it's not accessible right now."

OUSA was on the right track, Kissel said. "We're talking with the Ministry and that's how we're doing [our job]."

Kerry Delaney, spokesperson for the Ministry, said right now it is too early to tell whether or not tuition will be frozen. "I can tell you that we are in the second-year of a policy framework regarding tuition," she said.

Delaney explained news about tuition and where it will go is to be delivered sometime soon. "There does have to be an announcement this year but we have no word yet."

Minister Dianne Cunningham will meet with her caucus and cabinet colleagues before a decision is made, Delaney said, adding Cunningham met with OUSA last Saturday to discuss their initiatives.

Donald Taylor, executive director of the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students at U of T, said APUS particularly opposes tuition hikes since part-timers stay in school longer, resulting in more debt.

"Tuition costs will be phenomenal if it keeps going the rate it is," he said. "And it's not just an issue of tuition and cost in the dollar value, but there's a lot to do with accessibility."

Taylor added drowning students in a sea of debt only makes post-secondary education something to avoid.

"I'm not sure we can value our education if we look at our debt," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999