Liberals still unclear about tuition freeze
By Marshall Bellamy
According to a document leaked from the Ontario government,
the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities was considering
a plan to exclude de-regulated university programs from the
promised tuition freeze, however sources claim the document
is not government policy.
“That’s wrong; the document wasn’t taken
to the cabinet,” said Linda Chiarvesio, spokesperson
for the minister of TCU, adding the document was also dismissed
by the premier.
“The government remains committed to a two year freeze,” she
added. “The government will be moving forward with the
commitment made in the throne speech.”
Chiarvesio explained that the government is formulating a
long term plan for the promised tuition freeze, but was unsure
when it would be instituted.
University Students’ Council VP-education Dave Ford
pointed out he is not worried about the threat of de-regulated
programs not getting the tuition freeze.
Ford indicated the government should be releasing their plan
for freezing tuition. “The Liberals are stumbling over
this and are not providing information,” he noted, adding
the universities need the information for their budgets.
“Yes, there is a cause for concern, but we aren’t
alarmed,” said Rick Telfer, Ontario national executive
representative for the Canadian Federation of Students, when
asked about the possibility the government may exclude de-regulated
programs. “This is something that never went before cabinet,
this was a bureaucratic document.”
“We’re confident they will freeze tuition, the
question is will they fund the freeze?” Telfer noted,
explaining the CFS’ conservative projected cost for a
tuition freeze in Ontario would be $209 million. “They
have said this freeze will be funded.”
Ford noted the best way to fund the freeze would be to focus
on the annual increases for the de-regulated schools.
“[The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance]’s
position has been to take it out of the context of the freeze
and talk about funding levels,” he said, adding if Ontario’s
post-secondary funding was on par with the national average
the government could afford a four-year tuition freeze.
“People are whining about it, but the commitment is
there,” he said. “It would be a slap in the face
of students if it isn’t fully funded and quality declines.”