QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP Advanced Education critic Peggy Sattler issued the following statement regarding the Liberal government’s failure to adequately help students returning to classes after the five-week long college faculty strike:
“Students worried about their ability to successfully cram five-weeks of missed coursework into a condensed two-week extension deserve a full tuition refund. New Democrats are extremely concerned that the government may be forcing students to drop out entirely if they want their tuition refunded.
I'm hearing from students who are being told that they must give up their spot in their program in order to qualify for the refund -- with no guarantee that they will be accepted back into their program in the future. That's not acceptable. These students want to be able to continue the education they started, but they have lives outside of the classroom – many have kids, full-time jobs and other obligations that will make it difficult to successfully complete an accelerated, condensed course. They don't want to drop out. They want to defer until January to get a fresh start on a complete semester.
In addition, Kathleen Wynne's $500 cap on the Student Hardship Fund is simply not enough for many students who have suffered as a result of Wynne’s decision to sit on the sidelines for five weeks and watch this situation escalate.
When you consider the cost of student housing, penalties for cancelling or moving flights home for the holidays, and the other costs students have paid for out-of-pocket while Wynne let this strike drag on, $500 is an obvious disappointment to struggling students. Wynne has to do better to compensate the students who paid the biggest price -- financially, academically and emotionally -- for the five-week strike."