As part of a series of postsecondary education reforms, the Ontario government is getting rid of the free tuition program for low income students, while simultaneously cutting tuition fees and scrapping mandatory student fees at all public colleges and universities across the province.
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton announced that students will be paying 10 percent less in tuition next year — tuition fees will be frozen the year after that — and that some student fees, which fund clubs and student organizations, will no longer be mandatory.
Under the Liberal Plan, students from low income families — those with a household income of less than $50,000 — were eligible for grants that were large enough to cover the entire cost of tuition. However, under Ford’s government, which says the program was becoming unsustainable, part of that funding will be a loan.
However, tuition will be lowered by 10 percent across the board next year, according to the new plan, which says college students could see a reduction of $340 while universities arts and science students could see a drop of $660. Those in professional and graduate degree programs could see reductions of over $1,000, said a backgrounder on the reforms.
Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario said on twitter
For the first time in Ontario, tuition fees will be reduced by 10% for college and university students. We’re also ensuring that OSAP grants focus on those who need it most. Under our plan, 82% of grants will go to families earning under $50,000 – up from 76% under the Liberals.
According to the CBC, low-income students who previously could qualify for a grant covering the full cost of tuition will now receive a loan for a portion of their funding. An online calculator for estimating eligibility under the Ontario Student Aid Program shows that a student with a family income of 50,000 Canadian dollars ($37,659) or less would be eligible for about a 50-50 mix of loans versus grants, while students from higher-earning families would receive a higher proportion of funding in loans.
In a news release, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government said it wants to target funding to students who need it most, reducing the family income threshold a student must fall under in order to be eligible for grants and increasing the share of grants going to families with incomes of less than 50,000 Canadian dollars from 76 to 82 percent.