February 26, 2008

Victory for Canadian Federation of Students’ Grants Campaign

TORONTO–Ontario students are pleased that the beleaguered and ineffective Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation will be wound down. Students have been lobbying the federal government to replace the Foundation with a national system of need-based grants administered through the Canadian Student Loans Program.

“Allocating money for a Canada Student Grant Programme is a step in the right direction,” said Jen Hassum, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario. “Students are pleased that a private, third-party foundation will no longer be passed off as the government’s strategy for addressing student debt.”

Though today’s budget allocated money for grants, students caution that the mistakes of the Millennium Scholarship Foundation must not be repeated. For years, tens of millions of federal student financial assistance dollars did not make it into students’ pockets because the Province of Ontario ignored its gentlemen’s agreement with the Foundation.

“The federal government has a responsibility to improve accessibility and reduce student debt,” said Hassum. “Grants for students must be administered directly by the federal government. If delivery of this programme is left up to the provinces, we risk repeating the same mistakes that were made with the Millennium Scholarship Foundation.”