When I first decided to pursue my degree at the University of Waterloo, I knew it would be an expensive endeavour. But, I also knew that I could trust the government to guarantee my four years would deliver affordable and high-quality education. The thought of not being able to afford to go to university was not on my mind. That’s why this election, I’m paying attention to the party that cares most about my education. The Ontario Liberals are the only provincial party who have demonstrated year-after-year commitment to university and college students, particularly through the creation of the 30 per cent off Ontario tuition grant. This investment made university and college tuition more affordable for low- and middle-class families. This year, over 230,000 Ontario students benefitted from the 30 per cent off tuition grant, saving $1,730 in tuition for degree programs and $790 for diploma programs. This January, the grant was extended for students enrolled in 5-year co-op programs. I don’t need to tell you how useful that is for students, especially uWaterloo students. That’s why I was so alarmed when I heard that Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is promising to cancel the grant if he becomes premier. I would expect Mr. Hudak to be focusing on ways to make sure students have more access to a post-secondary education, not less. As students we keep hearing about how our economy requires a highly skilled workforce. By cancelling this grant program, the Hudak PCs are raising the cost for students and putting the opportunity to learn and train for these good, high paying jobs out of reach for many young people across the province. Moreover, Mr. Hudak’s PCs will tie financial assistance to individual university and college marks — a terrible policy idea that introduces perverse incentives to student success. What’s just as bad is that Andrea Horwath’s NDP has no real plan for post-secondary education. While investments in college and university have proven to promote a fairer, more equitable society, the NDP have essentially ignored post-secondary education throughout the past decade. This week she promised to freeze tuition for students across Ontario. Economists and educational leaders everywhere have said that is a costly and risky game to play, because eventually the tuition rates need to be unfrozen, and students are left footing the bill. Students expect realistic provincial leadership and commitment — only the Ontario Liberal Party has proven itself to be building an accessible and affordable post-secondary education system. Only the Ontario Liberal Party has delivered results for post-secondary students. Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals have a record of excellence with education. The Ontario Liberals are the only party that can be trusted to preserve and expand our post-secondary education system, so that any student is guaranteed an affordable and high-quality education. Everything that’s been done for students so far, Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath will put at risk. To pledge your support to save the 30 per cent off Ontario tuition grant, check out this campaign: www.save30off.ca.
Former Feds arts councillor
Former president of UW Young Liberals