Post-secondary students call for tax credit to cover online learning costs
OTTAWA -- Attending post-secondary classes this fall will most likely be quite different than what students are used to due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether you are returning, or a first time student, you will probably be doing most of your classes from your bedroom at home.
There are added costs when it comes to e-learning. New technology like a laptop, tablet or maybe having to upgrade your internet service. All so you can attend post-secondary classes from home.
A group of students realize not everyone can afford these sometimes-mandatory items to get an education. They are asking the Federal Government for a ten per cent tax credit on all new technology purchased that students need for school.
“The typical costs before were textbooks, utensils, whatnot,” says Jamie Ghossein, Undergraduate Governor at the University of Ottawa. “Now those costs are buying a laptop and increasing your internet, so it makes sense to cover those as a tax credit.”
Ghossein says some students who planned to apply to college or university this fall have had to cancel their plans due to these extra costs.
“We’ve actually done some research on this and we expect a really big drop on enrolment in the fall,” says Ghossein.
The University of Ottawa is exploring options to help students this fall.
And Carleton University is also doing its part.
“We have a large low income set of students at Carleton which is very particular apart from our counterparts at Queens and uOttawa,” says Nathaniel Black, Undergraduate Governor Elect, Carleton University. “And so when it comes down to Carleton students we really need the extra support.”
The Ontario Government has made some efforts to provide students with help over the course of the pandemic. Minister of Education Stephen Lecce says the Ministry of Education is talking with the telecommunications sector to provide students with low-cost solutions.
The Canada Emergency Student Benefit, or CESB, is already available for students to access.
Black says it is not enough, “The reality is, people need to pay rent, people still need to eat food and put gas in their cars. So students feel that burden as well, so that’s where that money is going.”
Ghossein says, “We really hope the federal government will step forward and help both students access digital education and international students.”