August 5, 2020

By ALEXANDRIA DEER

The Ontario government recently introduced the Ontario Tuition Grant, a 30 per cent rebate on tuition costs, in an attempt to make post-secondary education more affordable for middle- to low-income families. However, only students who enrolled in college or university within four years of graduating from high school are eligible for the rebate.
More and more people are choosing to go back to school to further their education in order to get a better job or simply change careers. Conestoga’s student population consists of mature students who have been out of high school for more than four years.
In an article on the CBC website,  www.cbc.ca, Colleges and Universities Minister Glen Murray said, “We’re removing significant financial barriers for families who are under financial stress, especially for families — and there are many — who have two or three or four children now either in college or university or in the final years of high school.”
But what about the families whose parents are enrolled in post-secondary education? Mature students are more financially strained than students who are still supported by their parents, especially if the mature student has children.
Mature students not only have to deal with the stresses of raising children and all the costs that come with them, but they also need to pay bills including mortgage or rent, utilities, phone, insurance, Internet and groceries.
The Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) is a student group that provides students with an effective and united voice, provincially and nationally, according to their website, www.cfs-fcee.ca. CFS presented a 40,000-signature petition to the legislature asking that the $423-million annual cost of the rebate program be used to pay for a 13 per cent reduction in tuition fees for everyone, according to the article on the CBC website.
Krisna Saravanamuttu, an Ontario representative for CFS, said, “Dalton McGuinty was elected by promising to reduce tuition fees, and students are calling for him to keep his promise and turn this grant into an across-the-board fee reduction.”
High tuition costs discourage some students from continuing their education. This rebate, about $365 this year for college students, will encourage more students to pursue post-secondary studies. However, there should be no age discrimination.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.