Balance budget but don’t cut university funding in Ottawa: Survey

Balancing the provincial budget is a top priority for Eastern Ontarians but not at the cost of compromising quality university education, a new study finds.

More than two-thirds of residents oppose cuts, according to the poll released Tuesday by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

The study “clearly shows that the Ottawa region is worried about the deficit and the economy,” said principal researcher Andre Turcotte of Carleton University.

“But they also recognize that investing in education is an excellent way to grow our economy and ensure the success of our young people.”

The study shows 72% of area residents oppose cuts to university funding, while 74% oppose shifting the cost of higher learning onto students and their families through increased tuition fees.

“The message is clear: residents of the Ottawa region know higher education is too important to be subjected to funding freezes, cuts, or other austerity measures,” said OCUFA president Constance Adamson.

“This is an important message for our new premier, Kathleen Wynne, to hear.”

Almost 75% of those polled oppose tuition increases and cutting government spending on universities as strategies to reduce university costs.

The poll was conducted in December, and nearly one-third said the quality of university education has declined under former Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Still, one in four considered the Liberals most likely to improve the quality of university education in Ontario.

While McGuinty did put money back into the system, “it’s barely made a difference,” Adamson said.


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