Tories call for end of 30 per cent tuition grant
Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak, left, speaks as the party's colleges and universities critic, Rob Leone, looks on at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:48AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 12, 2013 2:49PM EST
TORONTO -- Newly minted Colleges and Universities Minister Brad Duguid is giving an "F" to a Conservative proposal to scrap a 30 per cent break on post-secondary tuition.
But he's not shooting down the opposition's idea to tie student aid to those who get good marks.
The Tories say two-thirds of Ontario students don't qualify for the grant created by the governing Liberals, and it's not going to the ones who really need it.
Colleges and Universities critic Rob Leone, a former professor, says it doesn't help single parents who are going back to school after raising their kids.
The Tories say student aid should be given to those who are hitting the books and can show they're using the money to get an education that will help get them employment.
Duguid said he's open to looking at those ideas, but getting rid of the tuition grant isn't going to happen.
"If their plan is to take $40 million out of the pockets of middle- and lower-income students, to me that's a non-starter for our students, that's a non-starter for our system that would defeat the purpose of trying to make our system more accessible," he said.
But Tory Leader Tim Hudak said he has a better "colleges first" plan.
Too many students are going to university, when they could be considering careers in skilled trades, he said.
"Across Ontario today, there are far too many students who have degrees and big debts and they're back on Dad's couch, they've got no job to go to," Hudak said Tuesday.
"At the same time, we have a great number of jobs in the skilled trades, but nobody that's able to take them on."
Colleges should be able to do more three-year applied degrees and expand the dual-credit program, so students can earn credits in high school and college at the same time, he said.
There should be more co-operation between colleges and universities so college students can move directly into a university if they choose, Hudak added.
The Tories also want to have teachers spend more time in the classroom and be rewarded for good teaching as well as strong research.
They also talked about creating online post-secondary education to give access to students who can't afford going to a campus.
The ideas were among the trial balloons the Tories are floating in a series of so-called "white papers." But they aren't official party policy.