Student lobbyists glean priorities

By Ryan Pike

Canada’s second-largest student advocacy organization will prioritize access and child-care issues in the next year, following the decision reached at a week-long policy and strategy session at the University of Calgary.

Post-secondary institutions students’ unions and associations representatives from across the nation attended the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations policy and strategy conference last week. CASA national director Arati Sharma explained the meeting allowed membership to identify several lobbying priorities for the coming year.

“Affordability and upfront grants are one of them and that’s where we’re talking about access grants,” said Sharma. “Upfront grants are for students from under-represented backgrounds, such as low-income, first-generation [students]. Another policy-slash-advocacy priority is Metis, Inuit and First Nations groups and their access to post-secondary education, their barriers, their challenges and how we can meet them.”

Sharma stressed that student financial aid continues to be a priority for CASA. Much of the discussion focused on the federal government’s phasing-out of the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation and its resources, as well as access to aid for part-time students.

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