The federal government is preparing a wide-ranging financial program aimed at helping low-income students, aboriginals and other Canadians gain access to postsecondary education as part of a multi-pronged plan the Liberals hope to introduce this month.
The money would come from a $1.5-billion two-year pot of cash earmarked for education in the budget deal agreed to by Prime Minister Paul Martin and NDP Leader Jack Layton last spring. The government hopes to introduce the measures in an economic update from Finance Minister Ralph Goodale later this month.
Human Resources Minister Belinda Stronach confirmed yesterday that the government is looking at various ways it can bolster spending for advanced education, including cash grants for low-income Canadians. She cited several other options, including the expansion of a federally funded program that helps pay tuition for low-income students, offers money for research and international education, and provides more resources for skills development.
Jack Layton gets his budget bribe to solidify the student vote, and Belinda Stronach gets some good press for playing Lady Bountiful.
Meanwhile, meaningful reform of post-secondary education gets put on the back burner while young people burden themselves with debt for degrees that may not qualify them for any real work.
Perhaps if student loans for university degrees were tied to statistical employment and income projections, students might understand better the risks associated with entering certain programs.
Women's studies majors would have to bear a greater financial risk than engineering students, but it's a life lesson young people need to learn about banking and credit.
Source: Globe and Mail