SRA Social Science Newsletter #1 April 7th 2010 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------To Social Science students, With the annual fees that you pay to the MSU approx $4 goes towards provincial(OUSA) & Federal(CASA) lobbying organizations that MSU is part of alongside fellow Canadian Universities As a very active member of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), the McMaster Students’ Union our President Vishal Tiwari, Vice President Education Chris Martin & the External Affairs Committee have been engaged in what was a very busy and fruitful year of advocacy. Over that past month, we have heard from both the federal and provincial government that our message was heard, and that the needs of students are important to our elected officials. Although there have been a number of different successes throughout the year, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight 4 major successes that MSU and our partners have achieved this year: 1) 2010 Federal Budget includes funding for Indirect Costs of Research and Pathways to Education * By committing $8 million to the indirect costs of research, the federal government is recognizing the need to fund the replacement of equipment and maintenance costs related to research. * “Pathways to Education” is an organization that assists students from traditionally underrepresented groups attain a high school diploma and pursue a post-secondary education. This $20 million investment will help youth from the most underprivileged neighbourhoods across the country, access University.
2) Provincial Government of Ontario commits to a 5% cap on tuition increases for two more years * In the current economic climate it was uncertain whether or not the Ontario government would commit to the current tuition framework. With our Universities struggling to balance budgets, this commitment from the Ontario government will ensure that students in Ontario will not be seeing massive hikes in tuition. 3) 2010 Provincial Budget announce $310 million to fund the costs of 20000 new student spaces * Based on projected enrollment increases for next year, the Provincial government has committed to fully providing their current portion of all students in the post-secondary system, including 20000 more students than this year. In a budget that saw “tightening of belts”, WLUSU and OUSA successfully insisted that the provincial government invest new money into the post-secondary system, and as a result students will not be carrying an even larger financial burden. 4) Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) Reforms * On Monday the Ontario government announced that they will be introducing 5 reforms to OSAP. The reforms were all advocacy priorities of WLUSU and OUSA this past year. * The OSAP maximum will be raised from $11900 to $12240 in recognition of the raising costs of education. * Provincial Repayment Assistance Plan will match the much stronger federal program. * Assessments and maximums for textbooks and supplies will increase at the rate of inflation. In recognition of the ever rising costs of textbooks and supplies, the OSAP maximum will also increase each year. * Exemption for in-study income increased from $50 to $103 per week. This means that students will be able to work while in school without being penalized by OSAP. * Interest free 6 month grace period before students will be required to make a payment to OSAP. This is a huge win for students across Ontario, as prior to this announcement recently graduated students were being punished by the accruement of prime plus interest rates before being required to make a payment. This means that those students who graduate with $20000 OSAP debt will save $500 in interest. These recent successes demonstrate the true abilities and strengths of our Students’ Union and our provincial and federal lobby organizations. While there is much more to be done to ensure that students from across the province are able to access an affordable and quality university education, we must take pause to reflect on our successes. We have successfully advocated for reforms to the Ontario Student Assistance Program, a program that has not been amended for nearly a decade. In a year when governments have faced massive deficits and difficult economic realities, we have successfully advocated for
further investment in post-secondary education. Our continued professional and researched approach to advocacy has resulted in a postsecondary education system that is cognizant and increasingly more responsive to the needs of students. This is what your Studentsâ€™ Union does for you. These are the successes that matter. Sincerely, Huzaifa Saeed SRA Social Science '10/11 (Sourced from a WLSU news release) p.s: You can also read the official MSU press release on the website. Unfortunately the coding of the website doesn't include linking for news/articles! :(
First newsletter by the SRA SocSci Caucus. April 7th 2010