Management at Confederation College are happy to see the province will maintain operating grants, along with a fund for northern institutions. However, they're waiting to here more about ways to help students respond to the changing job market.

"Although this presents a challenge for our college, we are pleased Minister Merrilee Fullerton has confirmed that core operating grants will be maintained and has established a fund for northern institutions, acknowledging our unique needs. We look forward to learning more about the measures announced today and collaborating with the government to explore new opportunities to modernize college education, ensuring more people have access to the education and skills needed to meet the needs of employers in our region," it said in a statement from Confederation College.   

Earlier this week, Queen's Park announced a 10 per cent reduction in tuition fees, along with changes to the student assistance program.

Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford -- who is also the minister for northern development -- is supporting the provincial government's move towards lower tuition fees, as well as the option for less student fees. He adds the changes were needed to make the student assistance program more sustainable.

“These changes allow students to choose how their money is spent, restores accountability and makes post-secondary education more accessible and affordable, providing students with more opportunities to find a job and build a career right here in Ontario,” the minister said in a prepared statement.

The province has also announced a Student Choice Initiative, giving every student in Ontario the freedom to choose which student fees they want to pay, and how that money will be allocated. Fees for essential health and safety initiatives will continue to be mandatory.

Student fees in Ontario can range as high as $2,000 per year and, too often, force students to pay for services they do not use and organizations they do not support, Rickford continued.

The students association for Confederation College -- SUCCI -- says they're happy to hear about the reduction in tuition, but they're concerned about the changes in fees.

"The logistics regarding what the government has proposed are challenging, and the lack of engagement with students and student organizations indicates that the government may not have a full understanding of the impacts of this directive and will question our ability to provide valued services, opportunities, activities and resources to students who attend Confederation College both in Thunder Bay and in the Region," wrote Vignesh Viswanathan, SUCCI president.

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