NEWS RELEASES

April 17, 2019

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY RELEASE A JOINT PUBLICATION ON STUDENT EMPLOYABILITY, SKILLS, AND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

TORONTO, ON – Student organizations across the country have released a joint publication on student employability titled Shared Perspectives: A Joint Publication on Preparing Students for the Workforce.

 

This publication features student perspectives on several issues in post-secondary education, including employability, skills development, and experiential learning opportunities. It includes contributions from the Alberta Students’ Executive Council (ASEC), the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), the College Student Alliance (CSA), the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA), the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), Students Nova Scotia (StudentsNS), and the University of Prince Edward Island Student Union (UPEISU).

 

“Today’s joint publication demonstrates the need for increased experiential learning opportunities,” said Brittany Greig, CSA president. “In a shifting labour market, work-integrated learning should be accessible to all college students as a part of their education.”

 

Shared Perspectives identifies challenges and opportunities encountered by post-secondary students on both a national and provincial level. It draws upon students’ experiences on campus and emphasizes how we must work together to provide post-secondary students with a strong foundation to succeed. Helping students succeed after graduation is an essential aspect of post-secondary education.

 

Our goal is for all students to have access to higher education and the ability to better their skill-set, regardless of financial position or background. The partners in this publication believe this joint report helps further the conversation on student employability, skills development, experiential learning opportunities, and how best to prepare students for the workforce.

 

“In last week’s budget, the government outlined their plan to promote skilled trades and apprenticeships,” said Greig. “The government should continue to explore experiential learning opportunities in the college sector so all students can benefit.”

 

Shared Perspectives: A Joint Publication on Preparing Students for the Workforce is a joint report from seven partners, representing over 570,000 students. To view the full report, visit CSA’s website at www.collegestudentalliance.ca.

 

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About College Student Alliance:

College Student Alliance (CSA) advocates on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with college student leaders. Through our member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario’s college students. Learn more at www.collegestudentalliance.ca.

 

Contact:

Abdullah Mushtaq, Director of Advocacy

College Student Alliance

E: advocacy@collegestudentalliance.ca

T: 416-340-1212 | C: 519-890-7559

April 11, 2019

COLLEGE STUDENTS WARY OF POST-SECONDARY CHANGES IN PROVINCIAL BUDGET

TORONTO - The Government of Ontario today announced major reforms on how post-secondary institutions will be funded in the 2019 Budget. By the 2024/2025 academic year, 60 per cent of provincial funding for colleges will be tied to only 10 performance-based metrics, down from 38. Major restructuring of provincial funding, with no consultations with college student leaders, will result in uncertainty for students and colleges alike.

 

Since institutions will have the flexibility to weigh the metrics that best reflect their differentiated strategic goals, it is imperative that student associations are involved in these conversations. This announcement only highlights the need for democratically elected leadership representing all students: student associations.

 

“The increase of percentage-based funding, with no consideration of the impacts on student accessibility and the quality of education, is a cause for concern,” said Brittany Greig, CSA president. “This change, paired with the Student Choice Initiative, could be detrimental for students.”

 

Also addressed in this budget is the review and promotion of skilled trades, apprenticeships and second career programs. 

 

“Attention must be paid to helping students enter the college system,” said Greig. “Affordability and accessibility, especially for marginalized populations, is key to ensuring a fairer and more prosperous Ontario.”

 

The most vulnerable students will be left behind as a result of the collective 2019 changes to the post-secondary sector. CSA urges the government to work with us and other non-partisan stakeholders to ensure students - current and future - will succeed.

January 17, 2019

COLLEGE STUDENTS TO FACE CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES DUE TO GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT

TORONTO - The provincial government has effectively destroyed student representation at the college level and made post-secondary education less affordable by making student association fees optional and financial assistance less accessible.

 

Student associations represent their student body at a local, provincial, and federal level. Elected student leaders are the driving force behind advocacy that directly affects college and university students. The Student Choice Initiative, announced today by Minister Fullerton, was designed without consideration of, or consultation with, student leaders who represent their campuses.

 

“The academic experience has been negatively transformed as a result of today’s announcements,” said Brittany Greig, CSA president. “Without student associations, there is no one to hold institutions accountable for decisions surrounding fee increases, programming, or strategic plans.”

 

By making student association fees optional, post-secondary students could lose access to:

 

  • Fair and transparent academic appeals,

  • Access to on-campus food banks, breakfast programs and food cupboards,

  • Scholarships and bursaries,

  • Student clubs and groups,

  • Student employment opportunities,

  • Federal, provincial and local advocacy efforts.

 

The government also officially announced a tuition reduction of ten per cent for all domestic students, and they will now charge interest during the 6-month OSAP repayment grace period. The government implied this tuition reduction would help students, however, combined with the OSAP changes, low- and middle-income students may have to pay more money out of pocket.

 

“Ontario students already receive the least per-student funding of all Canadian provinces,” said Greig. “By expecting colleges and universities to absorb a $450 million funding cut, the government is telling students, faculty and institutions alike that accessible, quality education is not their priority.”

 

Today’s announcement will harm Ontario families - not help them. As a non-partisan government partner for over 40 years, College Student Alliance (CSA) should have been involved in the decision-making process. We urge the government to reconsider these changes, and we offer our assistance in the creation of a program that truly puts students first.


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About College Student Alliance:

College Student Alliance (CSA) advocates on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with student leaders. Through our member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario's college students.

 

Contact:

Emmaline Scharbach, Communications Manager

College Student Alliance

E: communications@collegestudentalliance.ca
T: 416-340-1212

C: 647-389-7960

December 05, 2018

JOINT RELEASE: STUDENTS RESPOND TO THE AUDITOR GENERAL’S REPORT

TORONTO - Students recognize the Auditor General’s report on the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) this afternoon. The availability of student financial assistance is critical for many Ontarians who pursue college or university. Students believe that investments in the future of this province should be protected, and that the hundreds of thousands of families accessing OSAP in each corner of this province should continue to reap the benefits of education.

 

Students welcome many of the Auditor General’s recommendations, including improving the tracking and reporting of access to post-secondary education (PSE) for students who are Indigenous, mature, low-income, and students with disabilities, to improve the access of these groups. Additionally, students believe the provincial government can do more to modernize OSAP. Students currently face challenges with OSAP obtainment and repayment because of the lack of technology in the processing systems. By working with students, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities could better, and more efficiently, serve students by utilizing technology rather than outdated systems.

 

In response to the Auditor General’s report, students also want to emphasize the importance of the Ontario Student Assistance Program. 24 per cent more university students and 27 per cent more college students are accessing OSAP, indicating a clear need for this program.

 

The OSAP transformation in 2016 was recommended by students, particularly from the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) and the College Student Alliance (CSA). The recommendation from students was practical - to repurpose $365 million in tax credits to upfront grants for students who need it most. The changes to OSAP were made possible through that repurposing of provincial dollars first, before additional investment. With the increased awareness of financing available to students, the program has grown to support 80,000 more individual students.

 

Debt repayment provisions are another important part of student support. Students believe in a fair structure of repayment on loans, while also understanding that the 6-month grace period and the Repayment Assistance Program ensure graduates have the economic means to pay back their loans. Students want to contribute to the economy and to society after graduation, but cannot do so if burdened by their student loans.

 

Facts about student financial assistance:

 

  • The amount of students receiving any OSAP funds was 198,145 in 2015-16 before the OSAP transformation, and 240,033 in 2017-18 with the current OSAP transformation at universities.

  • The COISL (OSAP Loan) Default Rate for university students is only 3.6 per cent and 9.8 per cent for college students.

  • Average domestic tuition for university students in Ontario is $8,800 - the highest in Canada.

  • The average repayable OSAP debt is $23,500 for university graduates.​

 

Quotes:

 

“The current model of OSAP shows the province’s commitment that education is a right, and not a privilege. We need to continue supporting a program that is providing relief for students who need it the most.” - Danny Chang, OUSA President and student at Western University

 

“Affordable and accessible post-secondary education is necessary for students to thrive. We must continue investing in the future of Ontario’s economy - students - to ensure our province maintains a highly-skilled workforce.” - Brittany Greig, CSA President and Conestoga Students Inc. Vice President, External

 

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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.

 

CSA advocates on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with student leaders. Through 12 member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario's college students.

 

Contacts:

 

Sophie Helpard

Executive Director

Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance

416-341-9948

ed@ousa.ca

 

Emmaline Scharbach

Communications Manager

College Student Alliance

416-340-1212

communications@collegestudentalliance.ca

September 04, 2018

POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS ARE #TEXTBOOKBROKE

TORONTO – Students are highlighting the devastating cost of textbooks with #TextbookBroke, an online campaign rolling out to Ontario’s post-secondary institutions today. 

 

Students will use social media to share how much they spent on textbooks to encourage institutions, faculty, and governments to fund, adopt, and adapt open educational resources (OERs). They can participate in the campaign by taking photos of their textbook receipt and posting it on social media with a caption explaining what essentials they could have spent their money on instead, including the hashtag #TextbookBroke.

 

“Students should not be forced to choose between textbooks and groceries,” said Brittany Greig, CSA president. “We hope the #TextbookBroke campaign will encourage additional OER support and usage at Ontario’s colleges and universities.” 

 

OERs - textbooks, presentations, handouts, and more - are covered by an open copyright licence. They are made available online to be freely used by students, instructors and members of the public. Students encourage college faculty to support the use of OERs so post-secondary education can be more affordable and accessible. 

 

Since Fall 2017, Ontario’s students have saved over $1.7 million by using the Open Textbook Library from eCampus Ontario. eCampus has expanded the library and made incredible advancements in educating colleges and faculty in the importance of OERs in the classroom. In 2017, the Government of Ontario responded to a direct call from CSA to invest in the future of thousands of learners through the Ontario Open Textbooks Initiative. The announced investment consists of 180 free textbooks and an additional $1 million to support faculty and institutions to adapt and adopt OER content.

 

“eCampus Ontario has created an entire library of free options,” said Greig. “We are asking instructors and institutions to use the library and remove the burden of textbooks from the backs of students, figuratively and literally.”

 

#TextbookBroke, originating in British Columbia, is expanding to various Ontario colleges through CSA and universities through the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) until Sept. 14. View the Open Textbook Library and learn more at www.ecampusontario.ca.

 

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About College Student Alliance:

College Student Alliance (CSA) has advocated on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with student leaders for over 40 years. Through member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario's college students. Learn more at www.collegestudentalliance.ca

 

Contact:

Emmaline Scharbach

Communications Manager

communications@collegestudentalliance.ca
T: 416-340-1212 / C: 647-389-7960 

July 16, 2018

COLLEGE STUDENTS DISADVANTAGED BY FORD GOVERNMENT

TORONTO – College Student Alliance (CSA) is disappointed the provincial government quietly cancelled the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Task Force, ignoring the opportunity to improve the college sector and student experience.

 

The Task Force was created to develop recommendations on issues facing the college sector in the wake of the record-breaking strike by college faculty in 2017. With students, faculty, administration, and government around one table, the Task Force was an unprecedented step forward.

 

“Students are still dealing with negative academic and financial impacts left by the longest strike in college history,” said Brittany Greig, CSA president. “By disbanding the Task Force, the government is refusing the opportunity to improve the sector and prevent a devastating strike from happening again.”

 

With no mention of colleges in the government’s campaign leading up to the provincial election, or in the recent throne speech, college students have been left in the dark regarding improvements or changes to the sector they rely on. The cancellation of the Task Force, announced late afternoon on Friday, July 13, indicates the provincial government has little to no interest in supporting students.

 

“Ironically, Premier Ford intends to introduce legislation to end the York University strike,” said Abdullah Mushtaq, director of advocacy for CSA. “Cancelling the Task Force sends a message to students and their families that there may be nothing more to look forward to regarding his government’s post-secondary education agenda.”

 

Friday’s announcement confirmed the continued need for organized and dedicated advocacy efforts within the post-secondary sector. CSA is committed to finding alternative solutions in partnership with all major stakeholders, and hopes the government will participate.   

 

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About College Student Alliance:

College Student Alliance (CSA) has advocated on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with student leaders for over 40 years. Through member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario's college students.

 

Contact:

Emmaline Scharbach

Communications Manager
communications@collegestudentalliance.ca

T: 416-340-1212

C: 647-389-7960

June 08, 2018

COLLEGE STUDENTS CONGRATULATE PREMIER-ELECT FORD

NEWS RELEASE / FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

 

TORONTO - The College Student Alliance (CSA) would like to congratulate Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PCPO) on winning a majority government in the 2018 provincial election. CSA looks forward to working with the PCPO to make college education more affordable and accessible for domestic and international students.

 

With the new government primarily focusing on Ontario’s fiscal state, CSA expects to have meaningful conversations focused on the outdated college funding formula and additional positive impacts that can make post-secondary education (PSE) more affordable for all.

 

Premier-elect Ford indicated creating more high-paying jobs and improving the provincial economy is his government’s primary concern. However, the PCPO did not make PSE a priority during the campaign. Ontario college students are the next wave of employees to join Ontario’s highly-skilled workforce, and colleges require proper funding to be their best. In addition to the economy, we look forward to seeing where specifically the PCPO will invest the $1.9 billion they committed to mental health.

 

“We know mental health issues can, and do, arise throughout college and university. Students need help and our current system is not working,” said Brittany Greig, CSA president. “We hope the incoming government will work with CSA, student associations and colleges to ensure students have access to supports and services that are timely, flexible, and provided in a safe and culturally-appropriate environment.”

 

Although the PCPO has a majority government, it is imperative they work with all stakeholders and opposition parties to ensure Ontario’s college system is improved. This includes institutions, faculty, support workers, employers, but most importantly, students. This opportunity to govern is a chance for our sector to re-evaluate what makes the post-secondary experience successful, recognize the diversity of those involved, and put graduates in a position to succeed. CSA will be reaching out to members of the PC team, specifically the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, to ensure our priorities are heard.

 

“Post-secondary education is a critical tool in making Ontario a world class place to live and work, and students deserve to have the opportunity to succeed,” said Greig.  

 

For over 40 years, CSA has remained nonpartisan and proven our ability to work with all political parties. We are excited to continue this hard work to ensure post-secondary education is a priority during the 42nd Ontario Parliament.


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About College Student Alliance:

College Student Alliance (CSA) advocates on behalf of Ontario college students in partnership with student leaders. Through our member student associations, CSA represents the collective voice of Ontario's college students.

 

Contact:

Emmaline Scharbach, Communications Manager, College Student Alliance communications@collegestudentalliance.ca | T: 416-340-1212 | C: 647-389-7960

May 08, 2018

STUDENTS RELEASE COLLABORATIVE REPORT ON CAMPUS SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Student organizations across the country released a joint publication on campus sexual violence, titled Shared Perspectives: A Joint Publication on Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response.

 

In the publication, students from Victoria to Charlottetown express the need to eradicate sexual violence on their campuses. It includes contributions from the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), Alliance of BC Students (ABCS), the College Student Alliance (CSA), the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA), Union étudiante du Québec (UEQ), New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA), Students Nova Scotia (StudentsNS), and the University of Prince Edward Island Student Union (UPEISU).

 

“Improving resources for students to address sexual violence on and off campus is paramount,” said Aimee Calma, CSA president. “Ontario college students are proud to contribute our recommendations to this report and help lead the charge for this change in Canada.”

May 03, 2018

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS SEE ACTION ON ENHANCING COLLEGE EXPERIENCE

College Student Alliance (CSA) applauds the government for ensuring international students in Ontario will have a better postsecondary experience with the implementation of recommendations from the 2018 International Postsecondary Strategy.

 

“International students pay exponentially more than domestic students for tuition and services,” said Aimee Calma, CSA president. “CSA is encouraged the announced changes will help the international experience match the financial commitment made by international students and their families.”

April 06, 2018

COLLEGE STUDENT ALLIANCE REPRESENTS STUDENTS ON PROVINCIAL TASK FORCE

College Student Alliance (CSA) is proud to represent college students on the College Task Force, a newly established initiative to develop a forward-looking plan for Ontario’s publicly assisted college system.

 

The Task Force was created in early 2018 in response to a joint request by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council (CEC) following the 2017 strike by college academic staff. CSA successfully advocated to be involved in the process of establishing a forum to consider and develop recommendations on major issues facing the college sector.

 

“After the longest strike in college history, it was evident students require and deserve a voice at the table to represent their needs,” said Aimee Calma, CSA president. “The Task Force provides unique opportunities to set the stage for what colleges will accomplish in the next 50 years and beyond.”

March 28, 2018

COLLEGE STUDENTS BENEFIT FROM ONTARIO’S 2018 BUDGET

Ontario’s college students are pleased the Government of Ontario has committed additional funding for work integrated learning (WIL) and capital investments at post-secondary institutions in the 2018 Budget. College Student Alliance (CSA) welcomes these critical investments to ensure college students are prepared in an ever-changing labour market.

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Tel: (416) 340-1212
 

372 Richmond Street West 

Suite 303
Toronto, ON M5V 1X6


 

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