Students who withdraw due to the college strike will get full tuition refund

Students who withdraw will have to re-apply to continue school and will not get credit for this semester or preference for enrolment says college

Updated Nov. 21 at 11 a.m. with more information about the withdrawal process at George Brown College and extended deadline for withdrawal

The Ontario government announced Monday morning that students who withdraw from college due to the strike will receive a full tuition refund.

Apprentices can also apply for a full refund of classroom fees if they are unable to complete their in-school training for reasons related to the strike.

Students must withdraw by Tuesday, Dec. 5 to receive a full tuition refund with no academic penalty. 

Domestic students can withdraw and receive a refund through the registrar’s office while international students can withdraw  through the international centre.

According to Colin Simpson, George Brown College’s interim executive dean, students who withdraw will have to re-apply to college should they wish to continue their education in the future. Students who withdraw and re-enrol in the future will receive no credit for the work they did earlier in the semester and will have to start from the beginning of the semester they were in. 

Simpson said that the number of programs that offer a first-semester start date in January is limited and even if a student wanted to enrol in a program that had a first-semester start in January some programs may already be full. Students who withdraw will also not have any priority in the application process, as it’s “first-come, first-served” said Simpson. 

Students who stay in school can claim up to $500 for additional expenses and get increased OSAP support

Full-time domestic and international students who stay in school can receive up to $500 for additional expenses during the strike such as child care fees, rebooked train or bus tickets or January rent. Any strike-related support will not count against OSAP.

Domestic students can apply to the fund through the financial aid office. International students can apply through the international centre. The deadline to apply for the student relief fund is Feb. 26.

“Over the past month, I have heard from students about hardships they have experienced as a result of this strike,” said Deb Matthews,  minister of advanced education and skills development in a statement. “It is clear that they have borne the brunt of this situation. That’s why we are taking these measures to ensure students have the support they need to complete their studies, and continue working towards an education that will allow them to succeed in a highly-skilled workforce.”

The Ontario New Democrats say that the fund is too little, too late.

“Students have paid the price for the premier’s inaction – they paid academically, emotionally and financially,” said NDP leader Andrea Horwath in a statement. “$500 will simply not be enough for many students to recover from the chaos the Liberal government has created.”

This announcement comes after a campaign by students for a tuition refund that started with an online petition that gathered over 140,000 signatures.

“The implementation of the Student Support Fund and the option of a tuition refund are proof student advocacy works,” said Joel Willett, president of the College Student Alliance. “Ontario’s college students are resilient and we’re proud to represent them.”

Students who were likely to graduate before Dec. 31 and had their semester extended will receive additional OSAP for the length of the extension. OSAP will start making payments for extensions in mid-December after the extension of the semester is finalized.

Students who had their winter semester extended will also get additional student assistance from OSAP.

The federal government committed to work with the province on the extended OSAP support.

George Brown College (GBC) announced Sunday that they were extending the fall semester to Jan. 19 and the winter semester to April 27.

Simpson said that due to the college’s ongoing expenses, not much money was saved during the strike. But discussions are ongoing with the government to ensure funds are available for students.

“We know for sure that the students are not going to suffer any more then they already have,” said Simpson. “We’re going to make sure that that money is in place for them. How ultimately that money is acquired, whether it’s from internal savings or from support from the government is still being ironed out.

The creation of student hardship funds from money saved by colleges during the strike was announced by the government last week.

A spokesperson from the Student Association of GBC was not immediately available for comment. 

Clarification: An earlier version of this story said that international students can apply for the student relief fund through the financial aid office at George Brown College. The preferred place for international students to apply for funds is the international centre.  


Students who withdraw due to the college strike will get full tuition refund