QUEEN’S PARK — Chris Glover, Ontario NDP Colleges and Universities critic, said that as the dust settles on the Ontario provincial budget, it’s clear that college, university and trades students are getting a raw deal.
In their first budget, the Ford Conservatives slashed more than $700 million in funding from the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities. The lion’s share of that comes from cuts to non-repayable grants that help low- and middle-income Ontarians afford tuition.
“With his callous cuts, Doug Ford is pushing post-secondary education farther and farther out of reach for all but the wealthiest in this province,” said Glover. “It’s simply wrong to force low- and middle-income Ontarians to take on staggering amounts of debt to attend college or university.
“Adding insult to injury, the Ford Conservatives have also revealed a scheme to significantly increase the amount of the funding they can withhold from post-secondary institutions, which stands to hurt small colleges and universities most.”
Around 1.5 per cent of the funding post-secondary institutions receive from the province is currently tied to performance outcomes. The Ford Conservatives want to set new target outcomes, and make a whopping 60 per cent of funding for each institution contingent on meeting Ford’s target.
“Having 60 per cent of their funding dependent on Ford’s whims will make it impossible for colleges and universities to plan ahead to improve their programs,” said Glover. “Ultimately, it’s another way this government is going to be hurting college and university students.
“It’s clear the Ford Conservatives do not share the priorities of students in Ontario. This government should be investing in post-secondary education, not making deep cuts, and certainly not dangling an axe over every college and university in the province.”