CUASA Statement on the Provincial Government’s Changes to Tuition, OSAP and Student Fees

CUASA Statement on the Provincial Government’s Changes to Tuition, OSAP and Student Fees

January 18, 2019

CUASA is deeply concerned about Ontario government’s pointed attacks recently made on postsecondary education, students, student unions, and services.

Yesterday, the province announced a ten-percent reduction in tuition fees for domestic students. What is most concerning is that this announcement also included that non-repayable OSAP grants are being reduced. This will mean less financial assistance, more expensive student loans, and an increase in student debt. These changes will adversely affect the most vulnerable members of the student population, and make pursuing a postsecondary education even more difficult, especially for those without financial stability. Our members are the professors and instructors responsible for providing that education, and it concerns us that this announcement will lead to making already stressful academic environments even more so for students.

Yesterday’s announcement also included an initiative through which some student fees will now become optional, including for campus organizations, such as student unions. This is an attack on democratically elected, not-for-profit organizations that depend on funding from students for the services they provide. Student union representatives from CUSA and the GSA sit as ex-officio members of the Carleton Senate, meaning these student organizations play an integral role in the academic governance of the university. Making these fees optional threatens the services and representation on campus that students rely on, especially in the fight for students’ rights.

These changes announced yesterday are very worrisome, and may be potentially threatening to both students and to Carleton as an institution. This announcement did not come with an increase to university operating grants, and has the potential to force universities across the province to make up the difference elsewhere, such as by shrinking budgets, increasing class sizes, or increasing unregulated tuition for international and graduate students.

CUASA will be looking to hold conversations with Carleton University, OCUFA, CAUT, and allies in hopes that these changes will not have any detrimental effects to the services and quality education offered to Carleton students.

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