Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz kicked off the election campaign by announcing proposals to improve access to higher education in the province Wednesday morning at the University of Prince Edward Island.
Flanked by all the party candidates dressed in Liberal red, black and white, the first proposal Ghiz revealed was the elimination of interest on the provincial portion of existing and future loans for those students who remain on the Island.
Another measure put Ghiz put forth was to increase the George Coles Bursary — offered students who attend Holland College, UPEI and the College Acadie — to $2,200. That's an increase of $200. The bursary, introduced by the Liberals in 2008, is for first year students and was intended to increase on-Island enrolment in higher education programs.
The Liberals will also offer a new final-year bursary of $2,000 called the George Coles University Graduate Scholarship.
"Liberals understand the financial sacrifice that must be made to pursue higher education," said Ghiz.
"The Liberal team has deliberately chosen to focus on education in the early days, because we firmly believe that a discussion about education is a debate about our Island's future."
Other initiatives include encouraging rural students to attend post-secondary institutions by expanding programs, allowing mature students to complete programs while remaining eligible for Employment Insurance, and offering Registered Education Savings Plan assistance to low-income families.