Tim Hudak rolled out his latest double down on right-wing policy, announcing he would end the 30% tuition rebate for Ontario post-secondary students.
Hudak and his post-secondary education critic, Rob Leone framed the tuition cut as not helping mature students or single parents (ironic, given the not so high regard single mothers have been held in historically by conservatives).
They also seem to want to restrict the way students could use the use any financial assistance they would receive:
"The Tories say student aid should be given to students who are getting good marks and can show they're using the money to improve their education."
What does "improve their education" mean, exactly? I, like many other students, used my 30% off tuition rebate to help pay the rent on my apartment, would Hudak force students like me to spend it on textbooks I could check out of the library and worry about a place to live?
The idea of tying student aid to performance seems attractive on the surface, but is in fact highly problematic and regressive. Under Hudak, would a student from a low-income New Canadian family, perhaps the first in her family to attend a post-secondary institution with a B average receive less financial support than a student from a high-income family with who had an A average? If a student from a low income family in first year university was finding the transition to university difficult to deal with, and their marks were lower than expected be cut off from financial aid, thus dramatically increasing the risk of this student dropping out? If a student were struggling with depression or another mental health issues and it affected his or her grades, would Hudak slash aid for this student?
The 30% tuition cut was designed specifically for full time undergrad students from low income families to help ease the financial burden of post-secondary education. It helped me and students across Ontario like me to focus on education and preparing ourselves for the global economy. Any move away from a system in which income is the main qualifier for student aid is deeply regressive and shows how out of touch Tim Hudak is with working families, students, and youth across Ontario.