Poll supports creating grants

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By The Eyeopener Team

A new poll suggests four out of five Canadians think the next federal government should create a national grant program for postsecondary students, the Canadian Federation of Students announced Tuesday.

The study, commissioned by Ipsos-Reid for the national student organization, asked 1,500 Canadians if they would “support the federal government introducing a national grants program which was based on financial need.”

Eighty two per cent of respondents said they would.

“It’s something we’ve been calling for since the start, so it is gratifying to us,” said Michael Conlon, national chair of CFS.

Diane Albonczy, the Canadian Alliance party’s critic for Human Resources Development Canada, said if her party formed the next government, it wouldn’t set up a system of grants because it wouldn’t solve and problems.

“I don’t think the measures the CFS is talking about are the best way to deal with it,” Ablonczy said. “I just don’t think the state as Santa Claus is a very good thing.”

To help students, she said her party would restore core funding to the provinces, give $150-million to research organizations that offer grants to students, rework the way the Millenium Scholarship Fund is handed out and implement income contingent loan repayment plans.

The Liberal party wouldn’t enact a system of national grants either, said MPP Bill Graham.

“We shouldn’t spend money on blanket grants,” he said. “WE need targeted programs.”

Graham said plans already in place, such as tuition tax credits and increased funding to research initiatives, help all students in the long run.

The federal NDP announced last week it would invest $2.6-billion in education, including funding grant programs, interest-free loans and tuition rollbacks.

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