9,200 George Brown College students receive ‘free tuition’

 80% of students receiving student assistance at George Brown College get more in grants than the average tuition

Around 9,200 George Brown College (GBC) students have received free average tuition as part of Ontario’s new student assistance program, according the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

In total, 80 per cent of students at GBC who are receiving funds from the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) have received loans and grants that are equal or greater than average tuition, according to the Ministry.

Under the revamped OSAP rules, over 210,000 students across the province, including those from families with incomes under $50,000, are likely to get what the government calls “free tuition.” Free tuition according to OSAP is when grants equals or exceeds the average cost of tuition.

According to Ontario Colleges, the average annual tuition for a college diploma student in Ontario is $2,400, while tuition for college graduate certificate average $3,600 and bachelor degree programs average $6,100.

“The government’s commitment is to make post-secondary education accessible based on the ability to learn and not on the ability to pay,” said Ingrid Anderson, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

“This year, grants are issued up-front and focused on offsetting the cost of tuition first.” Anderson added.

Providing grants upfront before the start of the school year under the new system also encourages more students to pursue post-secondary education and reduce the dropout rates due to financial barriers.

Tiffany White, the director of education for the Student Association of George Brown College (SA), welcomes these changes.

“The new OSAP really helps those students whose parents make less than $50,000 as they receive the grant,” said White. “As they don’t have to worry about student debt and interest rates, they feel less stressed.”

The SA funds The Dialog.

Starting in 2018, the minimum salary that a person needs to make before they are required to start repaying their Ontario student loans is increasing from $25,000 to $35,000.

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9,200 George Brown College students receive ‘free tuition’