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Colleges want more funding

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | March 23rd, 2009

Students from Ontario colleges and the College Student Alliance (CSA) have launched a campaign to persuade government to rethink their education spending.

Students' objective is to let the McGuinty government, along with other members of the Provincial Parliament, understand the worth of Ontario colleges by not allowing the traditional 70/30 split between funding for universities and colleges.

The provincial budget, which includes the funding for Ontario colleges and universities, will be released on Thursday, March 26.

“To be heard, at the college level, the College Student Alliance started a fax campaign on March 9...asking students across Ontario to sign letters to their MPP's stating equality and fairness in funding in the PSE system...we are taking a proactive approach to getting our provincial government to listen to the needs of college students,” said Jenn Howarth, President of the CSA.

Tyler Charlebois, Director of Advocacy for the CSA, agrees that colleges should be given an equal amount of money considering the current climate.

In 2007, according to Charlebois, the Educational Consulting Service Corporation summed up that a $700 million was needed to upgrade college campuses across Ontario.

In a phone interview Charlebois went on to say how college facilities and equipment are depreciating at a rate of $140 million on a yearly basis.

The government is well aware of infrastructure problems colleges' face, according to Charlebois.

“I think the government needs to look at fairness in the PSE system. During these economic times, the majority of the work force will be entering the college system. If our infrastructure dollars aren't in place, we do not have the capacity or equipment to meet the needs of our current or prospective student population,” said Howarth.

Adding, it is essentially important that our government assess the needs of colleges and universities at an equal and fair level.

Howarth believes deferred maintenance in the college system is increasingly becoming a growing issue across the province and acknowledges there is so much that can be done if the government increases infrastructure funding.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, college graduates are needed over University grads by a ratio of six to one.

With more than 100 campuses across the province, more funding for infrastructure funding is needed because the “money will provide more stimulus over the economy,” added Charlebois.

“We haven't been given enough resources to be able to reach our full potential.”

The College Student Alliance (CSA) is an advocacy and service organization, which has proudly been serving Ontario's college students since 1967. The CSA currently represents 16 colleges and 23 student councils with over 109,000 full-time student members across he province.
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