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Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty visits Laurier to outline tuition reduction plan
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The Ontario government ushered in the New Year by making clear the details of a new annual tuition grant rebate program, with Premier Dalton McGuinty choosing Wilfrid Laurier University as the official launching ground.
McGuinty discussed the details of the 30-per-cent tuition reduction program – which officially comes into effect Jan. 5 – during a visit to a first-year business class at Laurier’s School of Business & Economics.
“This is the single most expensive commitment we’ve made as a government and it’s for you,” McGuinty told the packed classroom. “The bottom line is if you do well, we do well. The equation is as simple as that.”
Over 300,000 university and college students will benefit from the program, which will provide tuition rebates to post-secondary students who are residents of Ontario, and whose parents have a combined income of less than $160,000 a year. Students must be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program and within four years of graduating high school.
Grants of $800 for university students and $365 for college students are available to eligible students beginning this semester. Starting in September 2012, grant amounts will rise to $1,600 and $730 for university and college students respectively.
“This is kind of a sweet spot for us. It helps young people. It helps families. It helps our economy,” McGuinty told a packed press conference later that morning. “Over 300,000 students will be entitled to a program which last year didn’t exist.”
Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Laurier, noted that the Ontario government under McGuinty’s leadership has made significant investments in not only operating funds but also in the infrastructure required to offer educational opportunities. This includes the Ontario government’s $72.6-million commitment in Laurier’s new Global Innovation Exchange building, announced in 2011.
“People are transformed through education. When they are transformed, those around them are transformed – their communities, the entire province,” said Blouw. “Mr. Premier I’m delighted that you’ve made this commitment to increase access to make it so more individuals are transformed through education.”
Many students also see the program as positive news, including first-year Laurier business student Gracjan Oleksinski.
“This is a great opportunity,” said Oleksinki. “This means a lot less stress for my family. And it’s their loss if students don’t apply. This government program benefits us, but it’s also on us to use it.”
The annual tuition grants will cost the province $423 million a year and were part of the Liberal election platform. The Oct. 6 vote saw McGuinty’s Liberals re-elected for a third straight mandate.
For more information about the tuition rebate program, visit www.ontario.ca/30off