Volume 96, Issue 75
Thursday, February 12, 2003

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A very Liberal education

Re: "Liberal election platform calls for tuition freeze," Jan. 31

To the Editor:

It was a pleasure to speak with The Gazette following the unveiling of the Liberal Plan for Economic Growth, specifically on the part of the platform addressing post-secondary education.

In your article, you interviewed Josh Morgan, VP-education of Western's University Students' Council. Based on Morgan's comments on the Liberal Plan, it is obvious that, other than the Liberal commitment to freeze tuition, Morgan had not yet reviewed the full content of plan entitled Achieving our Potential at the time of your interview.

For the record, let me state that Dalton McGuinty, and a Liberal government's plan to reinvest in post-secondary education. We have a long-term plan to expand the capacity of our colleges and universities, make higher education more affordable and enhance the quality of our institutions. Investment in post-secondary education is an investment in our future. Ontario Liberals plan to invest over half a billion dollars in our students and our institutions.

To elaborate, a Liberal government will provide the additional operating funds to colleges and universities so that double cohort students really do have a space. We will create a Faculty Recruitment Fund to help institutions attract the best professors.

A Liberal government will also expand post-secondary capacity by 10 per cent; as anyone following demographics knows, independent of the double cohort, our province has a growing population of 18 to 25-year-olds. Ontario Liberals will re-regulate deregulated tuition programs, such as medicine and law, and we will provide a 50 per cent tuition waiver for thousands of low-income students.

The Liberal Plan will enable students to earn more during the year and still qualify for student aid. Outdated tables that currently disqualify many students from accessing student financial assistance will also be reviewed. We will invest in tomorrow's researchers by increasing graduate scholarships by 50 per cent.

The Eves-Harris government has mismanaged post-secondary education in this province and has created a second crisis in education.

After eight years of Tory management, Ontario has the lowest university funding per capita and tuition fees are 45 per cent higher today than in 1995/96. In deregulated programs, such as law, dentistry and medicine, tuition is up as high as 120 per cent, average student debt has doubled, Ontario has the highest student/faculty ratio in Canada and the future of thousands of double cohort students is being put a risk.

Dalton McGuinty and Ontario Liberals believe Ontario can do better.

Marie Bountrogianni, MPP
Liberal Critic
for Colleges & Universities

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2002 THE GAZETTE