Today in the house MPP Brad Duguid gave the following statement to welcome students back to school:
"This week, more than 568,000 students are returning to class at colleges and universities all across Ontario. As the Minister of Training Colleges and Universities, I want to wish every student an exciting and successful year of study.
Mr. Speaker, I want to note that this year’s enrolment represents another record for our postsecondary system. This shows that our young people – like the Government of Ontario – understand the importance of a postsecondary education in ensuring their future success.
A postsecondary education continues to be one of the best investments a student can make in his or her future. It’s also an investment in Ontario’s future, because it means we can continue to build the highly skilled workforce we need for a strong, modern economy.
That’s why we’ve made record investments in our postsecondary education system — investments that include student financial aid.
Our government is holding firm to its commitment to help students get the education and training they need; help that is based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay.
I’m proud to say that Ontario has one of the most generous student financial aid programs in Canada.
Last year, we invested $1 billion in grants and loans, including the 30% Off Ontario Tuition grant.
OSAP helped more than 370,000 students.
The 30% Off Tuition grant helped nearly 230,000 low and middle income students pay for their postsecondary education.
And, Mr. Speaker, the tuition grant keeps pace with increases in tuition.
This year, students in a university or college degree program will save $1,730 on tuition, while students in a college diploma or certificate program will save $790.
Our improvements are not limited to new grants for students. We have also improved the process for students to get their OSAP.
If you visit campuses across the province this week, you won’t find long lines of students at their financial aid offices, thanks to OSAP Express.
Starting last year, we cut the red tape and streamlined the application process for full-time college and university students. One change was to have their aid deposited directly into their accounts.
Mr. Speaker, these investments and improvements are working. The results are clear.
We have 161,000 more students attending colleges and universities than there would have been 10 years ago.
Our attainment rate for postsecondary education has increased to 65 per cent — the highest in the OECD.
This is good news for the students of Ontario. This is good news for the people of Ontario.
Once again today, I offer my congratulations to all the students who have made a choice to pursue postsecondary studies.
Whether they are starting their first year or are close to graduation, they have made a firm commitment to their future…and ours.
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