By Naomi Grosman
It’s like in the movies. A high school student solves a complex mathematical problem and gets offered a full scholarship to the university of her choice. But as we all know, life doesn’t imitate the movies. This is the theme of a new advertising campaign from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. It is meant to attract student’s attention to the 30 per cent Off Ontario Tuition Grant.
Gyula Kovacs is the Senior Media Relations/Issues Coordinator at the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
“The ministry has launched two radio commercials, three television commercials and a series of online ads,” Kovacs said. “The target audience is high school students, students starting postsecondary education and their families.”
The ministry gets up to 300,000 applications for financial assistance through OSAP, which is provided by the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario. The tuition rebate program might encourage students to apply for financial assistance and seek the education and career that they want.
“The 30 per cent Off Ontario Tuition Grant is intended to help families cover the cost of post-secondary studies for their children.” Kovacs said.
Peter Tabuns is NDP MPP for Toronto-Danforth and education critic. He points out that the grant is very restrictive so a lot of applicants can’t access the money that the government is giving towards this tuition rebate program.
“They’ve taken funds that could be used in another way.” Tabuns said. “It supports part of the student body, not the whole of the student community.”
But the ministry has high expectations for the rebate program.
“Helping with the price of tuition is part of the government’s plan to keep postsecondary education within all families’ reach.” Kovacs said. “This leads to a stronger economy and creates good jobs.”
The advertising campaign cost nearly 5 million dollars and as noted not everyone is eligible.
“The Ontario government is committed that the amount of the grant will keep pace with the tuition.” Kovacs said.
The NDP’s suggests a tuition freeze to help students and families with tuition cost.
The bulk of the advertising cost went to buying airtime for the commercials. According to Tabuns, $5 million dollars could have been spent more efficiently to benefit students in Ontario.
“There is a cheaper way of advertising it.” Tabuns said. “They (the commercials) are more in the interest of the Liberal Party than of the interest of the students.”