Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
February 20, 2003
U of G comments on federal budget
Students and researchers at the University of Guelph and Canada’s other universities will benefit from new federal initiatives and support that were outlined Wednesday in the 2003 budget.
The budget includes expenditures to boost student financial assistance, including establishing a new Canada Graduate Scholarships program and implementing changes to the student loan and repayment systems. It also provides an additional $125 million to federal granting agencies and continues and makes permanent a $225 million fund to cover the institutional costs of supporting federally-funded research.
“This was a ‘good news’ budget for universities,” said Guelph president Mordechai Rozanski. “The initiatives and changes outlined in the budget will help improve the quality of the educational experience for our students.” In particular, Rozanski said he was pleased to see the establishment of a graduate scholarship program that will provide financial support to some 4,000 graduate students, equally split between master’s and doctoral students. Funding for the scholarships will start at $25 million in 2004 and be increased to $105 million by 2006. “About 60 per cent of these scholarships will go to students in the social sciences and humanities, which is also very welcome news,” Rozanski said.
He added that he is also pleased that the budget includes new initiatives to improve student assistance and increase accessibility. The $60-million, two-year investment includes debt reduction proposals and other changes that will make the student loans program function more efficiently, he said. This includes increasing the exemption for income earned while in school, increasing income eligibility thresholds for loan programs, removing restrictions that limit debt reduction and making protected persons eligible for financial aid.
The new initiatives and changes in the budget, coupled with the millions of new dollars committed to cover ongoing operating costs of research and the funding boost to the federal granting councils, are “a tremendous recognition of the many contributions made by Canadian universities,” Rozanski said.
“Researchers and students at the University of Guelph have already made many advancements in the life sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences,” he said. “This new funding and support will allow them to continue and expand their vital work. We are delighted that the federal government is making knowledge and innovation a priority.”
Click here to read the response to the federal budget from the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).