BRACEBRIDGE, ON: For the first time in Ontario’s history, students at every publicly-assisted college and university will see their tuition go down by 10% for the 2019/20 academic year. The tuition reduction is the latest step in the Ford Government’s plan to keep more money in the pockets of Ontario families and students.
“We believe that if you’ve got the grades, you deserve access to an affordable postsecondary education,” said Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
“I am proud to be part of a government that is making postsecondary education more affordable,” said Norman Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka. “For example, a student in the Practical Nursing program at Canadore College’s Parry Sound campus will see a $380 reduction in their 2019-20 tuition. And an arts and science undergraduate student at Nipissing University in North Bay would see a reduction of $660.”
As part of its overall reform of postsecondary education affordability, Fullerton also announced that that the Government will be refocussing the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to ensure it remains sustainable and viable for future students while directing a greater proportion of OSAP funding to families with the greatest financial need.
“The previous government believed in handing out OSAP money to some of Ontario’s highest income earners with virtually no meaningful criteria for success,” said Fullerton. “It is no surprise that student enrolment has remained flat while tuition rates skyrocketed. Instead of using OSAP to indirectly subsidize future rounds of tuition hikes, we will focus our resources on the families in greatest need while challenging our partners in the postsecondary sector to deliver better value for the high tuitions they already charge.”
The Minister 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 $2000 per year and, too often, force students to pay for services they do not use and organizations they do not support.
“We are making postsecondary education more affordable and refocussing supports to the students and families who need it most,” said Miller. “These changes give students the freedom of choice about how their money is spent and create greater access to postsecondary education to give more of our students the opportunity to find a job and build a career right here in Ontario.”
• The government’s historic tuition reduction for 2019-20 represents the first time Ontario student tuition has decreased across all funding-eligible programs.
• Average university tuition in Ontario has increased significantly since the mid-1990s and is currently the highest in any Canadian province.
• Students pay fees in addition to tuition, which can range from approximately several hundred dollars to $2,000 per academic year.
• The Auditor General recently tabled a report highlighting concerns with the way OSAP was administered, as well as drastic overspending. The report concluded that despite the previous government’s excessive spending, OSAP did not result in proportionately higher enrolment.
• The government will administer a fund to help smaller, Northern institutions adjust to the tuition rate reduction.