The McGuinty government is giving students greater opportunities to be the first in their family to attend college or university, Chris Bentley, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities,
“We are determined to strengthen Ontario’s economic advantage by strengthening the education and skills of our people,” Bentley said prior to a meeting of the postsecondary education advisory committee for first generation students. “We are working with community leaders, educators, and business representatives to help those students who are striving to become the first in their family to seek a postsecondary education.”
Students whose parents did not participate in postsecondary studies, face barriers to accessing studies at university or college, or an apprenticeship. These can include insufficient information about the benefits of postsecondary education and training, as well as lack of role models, expectations, confidence and resources.
In addition to the advisory committee announced today, the government has also created advisory committees to improve access to postsecondary education for francophones, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal peoples. To support the work of the committees, the government is investing $10.2 million this year- rising to $55 million by 2009- to help postsecondary institutions improve access to opportunities for these students.
“Improving access to postsecondary education is one way our government is helping to build a highly skilled and educated workforce,” said Premier Dalton McGuinty. “It’s part of our plan to foster opportunity and to help ensure that every Ontarian has a fair shot at success.”
“Access to postsecondary education is a building block of a just society, and a critical component of a competitive economy,” said Scott Courtice, Executive Director of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. “We hope this initiative will lead to expanded opportunities for individuals, and build a stronger and more prosperous province to the benefit of all Ontarians.”
The creation of the postsecondary education advisory committee for first generation students is part of Reaching Higher: The McGuinty Government Plan for Postsecondary Education, which was unveiled in the 2005 Budget. Through the plan, the government will invest $6.2 billion more in postsecondary education and training over the next five years- the single largest infusion of funds in the sector in 40 years.
“Ontario’s progress has long been fueled by each generation’s desire to see the next generation go farther,” Bentley said. “Working together, we will encourage students to climb the ladder of opportunity and strengthen economic growth and prosperity.”