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Ontario NDP rips Kathleen Wynne for only offering refunds to college students who drop out

Click to play video: 'College faculty in Ontario return to work after legislation ends five weeks strike'
College faculty in Ontario return to work after legislation ends five weeks strike
WATCH: College faculty in Ontario return to work after legislation ends five-week strike – Nov 20, 2017

With Ontario’s college strike drawing to a close, the provincial New Democrats have rebuked the government after it appeared to announce it would only offer full tuition refunds to students who withdraw from college.

On Monday, the Ministry of Advanced Education said students will have two weeks from tomorrow, when classes resume, to decide whether they want to continue with the condensed semester, or drop out and take the refund.

Students will also be eligible to get up to $500 for costs incurred because of the long-running dispute.

READ MORE: Scott Thompson: Who exactly did the college strike benefit?

But the NDP says these offerings are paltry given the financial stresses and academic uncertainty suffered by students during the five-week-long strike.

“Students were forced to put their lives on hold for five weeks because the premier and her Liberal government sat on their hands and watched the faculty strike escalate,” said Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath.

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“$500 will simply not be enough for many students to recover from the chaos the Liberal government has created.”

WATCH: Ontario professor says he’s concerned over revised schedule after college faculty strike

Click to play video: 'Ontario professor says he’s concerned over revised schedule after college faculty strike'
Ontario professor says he’s concerned over revised schedule after college faculty strike

NDP education critic Peggy Sattler said the government’s offer of a tuition refund should also apply to students who want to drop out for the semester, but resume their studies in January.

“The Wynne Liberals announcement this morning suggests that only students who drop out will get a refund,” Sattler said. “It’s done nothing but create more chaos and confusion for these people who have already been through so much.”

READ MORE: Bill passed to end five-week-long Ontario college strike

Premier Kathleen Wynne‘s government tried to introduce and pass back-to-work legislation in one fell swoop Thursday night but the NDP forced the legislature to sit through the weekend to debate the bill, ultimately passing it Sunday afternoon.

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The NDP accused the Wynne government’s “chronic underfunding” of the college system for laying the groundwork for the strike.

“Wynne’s back-to-work legislation ignores the underlying issues in our broken colleges’ system,” Horwath said.

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