Average university tuition in Ontario has increased significantly since the mid-1990s and is currently the highest in any Canadian province. The Ford government has introduced a historic cut to tuition rates in a province-wide tuition rate reduction. This is significant. An arts and science undergraduate student at the University of Guelph would see a reduction of $700.
The Ford government responding to the recent report by the Auditor General highlighting concerns with the way the earlier government administered OSAP as well as drastic overspending. The report showed that earlier excessive spending by the Wynne government did not proportionately result in higher enrolment. Essentially, throwing money at something that was not working.
“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. “By lowering tuition across the entire province, our government is ensuring that all qualified Ontario students will have more affordable access to high quality skills, training and education.”
Fullerton also announced that the government will be addressing the sustainability of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to ensure it is workable 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.”
Empowering students is the new Student Choice Initiative through which every individual student in Ontario will be able to choose which student fees they want to pay and how that money will be distributed. Fees for essential campus 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,” said Fullerton. “We will ensure students have transparency and freedom of choice regarding the campus services and organizations which get access to their money.”
Reducing tuition and increasing the affordability of college and university is part of the government’s plan to help people get the training they need to get good paying jobs.
“By making postsecondary education more affordable through historic reforms, refocusing supports to the families who need it most, and empowering students to choose how their fees are spent, we are restoring accountability, affordability and access to postsecondary education while giving more of our students opportunities to find a job and build a career right here in Ontario,” Fullerton concluded.
Empowering students to decide how their money is spent and reducing excessive spending with these reforms is a step that will have a positive impact for current post-secondary students, and students in the future.
Source: Ontario News