President welcomes grants for low-income students

The tuition grants package announced last week for low-income college and university students in Ontario is good news for some of the most deserving students in the province, said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden (right).

“This initiative by the McGuinty government and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation will make a tremendous difference for first-year students from low-income families who are starting their degrees at York this fall,” said Marsden. “It is another sign of the government’s commitment to improve funding for postsecondary education.”

The new Millennium-Ontario Access Grant program is a $100-million joint initiative by the Ontario government and the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, a private organization created by a federal Act of Parliament in 1998. Under the new program, eligible students will receive up to half the cost of their tuition to a maximum of $3,000. Combined with the federal government’s new Canada Access Grant program for students from low-income families, these students will be eligible for up to $6,000 annually.

Marsden welcomed the announcement that the government has decided to offer grants once again: “One of York’s founding goals was to reduce barriers to postsecondary education. This announcement means that many of our low-income students who have excellent grades will be able to qualify for grants, rather than just loans. This is an absolutely essential step to addressing one of the roadblocks to success that former premier Bob Rae identified in his report on postsecondary education.”

Marsden pointed out that York’s student population is highly diverse and includes many students from families which have traditionally experienced financial barriers to higher education.

The new program will benefit up to 16,000 Ontario students who are about to enter their first year of college or university. The provincial funding for the program is part of $1.5 billion in student assistance over five years that the McGuinty government announced in its May 18 budget. In all, the budget promised $6.2 billion more for postsecondary education and training by 2009-2010.