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Undecided on Ontario’s new travel grants

The Ontario gov is giving people an incentive to commute rather than live close to campus. Really?


 

The Ontario government announced some details about its new travel grants for post-secondary students from rural or northern communities, which were announced recently with the provincial budget. But from the government is saying so far, I’m undecided on whether the grants are good policy or just politics.

The grants will be worth $300 per year to “help [students] return home for visits with family. ” Students who live at home and commute regularly will receive $1000 per year. Students must live 80 kilometres from a college or university to qualify.

Students will be able to apply for the grant this year and the program begins in September.

I find it interesting that the government is giving $1000 for the school year to students living at home and only $300 for those living away from home. The statement that the $300 will help students to afford to travel back and forth to visit their family makes me question the government’s thinking. The cost of a one-way trip from some northern communities to major Ontario universities in the south will approach or, in some cases, exceed $300.

Students who do not have the option of commuting to school must bare the cost of accommodation expenses. If anything, they need more support than a student living at home.

I’m still awaiting more details on the implementation of these grants. Will the grant apply for students in Northwestern Ontario who attend the closest university to their communities, which in many cases is the University of Manitoba? How will they check if a student is actually commuting? Will the application be part of the OSAP application? If so, what about students who do not wish to apply for loans or are from higher-income backgrounds? Will they get the grants?

One more thing: I thought the Ontario government was big on the environment. Giving people an incentive to commute instead of assisting them to live within walking/public transit distances of a post-secondary school doesn’t seem to be very environmentally responsible.

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Undecided on Ontario’s new travel grants

  1. how do I apply for this grant? Can not find any information about this grant anywhere.

  2. This is another grant that seems to have disappeared. As one of the students living in one of these rural Northwestern towns and going to school in Toronto, I’m very curious about why students living with their parents are getting so much money, and why I (with my $200 flight tickets/rent/all the other expenses that come with living away from home) am getting barely enough to cover one flight home.

    I’m also wondering where all the information about this grant is supposed to be. Most people I know that go to university from up here have left or will leave in the next week. It sure would have been nice to have some help with this round of tickets.

  3. Pingback: A textbook example of bad media relations : Macleans OnCampus

  4. The Ontario Government is doing a very poor job of communicating the information you need. Actually, saying they are doing a poor job is letting them off the hook. They are refusing to give students any information.

    This post was made April 10th and the government has done nothing to communicate to student since then.

    You are right, you need to know this information prior to the start of school. You do have time to wait until the Minister and Premier decide they want to smile for the cameras.

    As I wrote in this piece, the government seems to have its priorities wrong.

    However, I may be wrong on the government’s priorities. I’m assuming they really want to help students. However, if this government’s priority is really re-election in 2011, then this make sense.

    The majority of commuter students live in suburban belts and satelite cities on the outskirts of major cities in the south of the province. These are areas which presently elect or the government believes could elect Liberal MPPs. The ridings in Northwestern Ontario on the other hand are solid NDP seats and will likely never change hands.

    Don’t feel too bad, the government’s also silent on the textbook grant at the present time as well.

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