Students support Liberal tuition plan

Robert Williamson
Business Reporter

Post-secondary students may find the tide is finally turning, with the days of high tuition and daunting loans slowly phased out.

Although nothing has been set in stone, the movement towards more affordable education is finally in motion. The young Prime Minister-designate, Justin Trudeau, has a clear and detailed platform in store now that he’s in charge.

Trudeau released an 88-page campaign plan in early October called A New Plan for a Strong Middle Class, which outlines steps the government will take to strengthen middle-class families. His plans for tuition and education include increasing the maximum amount allowed under the Canada Student Grant program. The maximum amount dished out to a full-time student will be raised to $3,000 a year, a 50 per cent increase from Harper’s Conservatives, and up to $1,800 for part-timers.

What really has college and university students buzzing is Trudeau’s plan that would require students to pay back loans once they have a job that pays at least $25,000.

“To be able to wait until you’re on your feet to pay the loan back is huge,” said Christopher Bolarinho, 20, a Humber Fitness and Health Promotion student. “It gives students a bit of breathing room, for sure, which is a change.”

Though the Liberals have major changes planned for students across Canada, the bulk of Ontario students’ tuition and loan issues are handled by the provincial Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Without any major platform changes since the election of Premiere Kathleen Wynn, it’s unclear as to whether students can expect change in the coming years as the provincial and federal Liberals work together.

“Though nothing has been discussed at this point (in) time, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Reza Moridi, does look forward to working with his federal counterpart, once cabinet has been appointed and sworn in.” said Belinda Bien, communications advisor and press secretary for the minister.

The current system has been in place for years now, so any complete overhaul will take a while, but students are willing to be patient if a change is going to come.

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes, something just needs to be done about how expensive schooling is.” said Matt Raedelli, 24, a Mohawk College project management student.

While it’s not surprising that students are getting excited over Trudeau’s plans, the path towards cheaper post-secondary education could be longer than they previously hoped.

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