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Fanshawe rallies to lower tutition

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | November 10th, 2008



Colleges and Universities across the province came together to challenge the lack of investment in post-secondary education.

“We cannot take a ‘no,' and we don't have any money for a ‘no' answer, because when it came to Afghanistan, they sure as hell found $18.1 billion,” said Irene Mathyssen MP of Fanshawe London at the National Day of Action to Drop Tuition Fees on November 5.

Fanshawe College students filled Forwell Hall as hundreds signed petitions for both the Provincial and Federal governments during the day to no longer ignore students and their needs and become more involved with investing in the future with the students of today.

According to the DropFees.ca, a website initiative started by Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario who are committed to dropping tuition fees, the Ontario government funds post-secondary education at the lowest per-student in Canada, and among the lowest in North America.

The government has allowed for fee hikes ranging from 4.5 per cent to eight per cent at universities and colleges, which in turn requires students to take out additional loans to obtain a valuable education needed for the workplace.

Countries around the world such as Ireland, Brazil and Sweden have eliminated tuition fees to allow for every able being to attend either college or university without facing unnecessary barriers upon graduation.

“Every vote counts. Fanshwe College is not the only school signing petitions, but every college and university is participating,” said Denis Vidmar, President of Fanshawe College's New Democrats.

The College Student Alliance (CSA) along with the New Democrats of Fanshawe College and the FSU worked to bring forth issues that affect all students currently enrolled in a post-secondary institution. The CSA, of which all students of Fanshawe belong, works on behalf of students and brings forth a voice for students who face high tuition costs.

“The CSA work on the back end, and not so much the front end but so much as to where it counts such as at Queen's Park and Ottawa. We want to ensure our voices are heard and we want to talk directly to the public,” stated Jonathan Hillis, President of the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU).

As baby boomers set to retire, the need for skilled workers will be in full over load, as we are facing a shortage of approximately 350,000 thousand workers by 2025.

The need to acquire a quality education is crucial, but with less money being invested per year into the workers of tomorrow, it is becoming more evitable that something needs to be done.

“There definitely needs to be more funding both provincially and federally,” said Rachel Oakes, VP of Academic and External Affairs at of the FSU.

Upon graduation students are in constant reminder how much they owe for loans, which were used for a post-secondary education. They are faced with numerous obstacles that are challenging to face when the barrier is so high in re paying such high tuition costs.

“It is time that issues were front and centre with students,” said Mathyssen. “We need to have a government who understands that it is the people and communities who truly count and that the economy serves people, not the other way around. There is a lot of spending I would like to see corrected.”

Student, staff and politicians who rallied in Forwell Hall all echoed the same goal that was resounding all over the province, which stressed the need of the Provincial and Federal governments must take drastic measures in ensuring all students have access and support in reaching their full potential.

“Education is not a luxury. Education is not a privilege. Education is a right and we need to take our rights back,” added Darius Mirshahi, president of Fanshawe's Social Justice Club.
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