Ontario to announce 10% tuition cut for college and university students

Student groups and experts concerned about potential funding gap affecting quality of education

Your tuition bill could be less next fall, according to a report in the Canadian Press that says the Ontario government is set to announce a new tuition framework that includes a 10 per cent cut to domestic student tuition.

The 10 per cent cut would take effect in the 2019-20 school year and tuition levels would be frozen for the following year.

Tuition for international students is not regulated under the current tuition framework and will not be affected by the planned tuition cut.

It is unclear if the government will be increasing funding to colleges and universities to make up the estimated $250 million shortfall in revenue.

It is also unknown what changes the conservative government may make to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) but a report from the Auditor General in December concluded that the program could cost up to $2 billion by 2020-21.

“If OSAP is being cut then it cancels out this tuition fee decrease because students still have to figure how to pay their fees,” tweeted Nour Alideeb, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students in Ontario.

In 2017, the previous Liberal government introduced what they called “free tuition” through OSAP converting student loans to non-repayable grants that would cover the average cost of tuition for students from families with less than $50,000 in annual income.

The Auditor General’s report found that while 27 per cent more college students were getting financial aid but enrolment only increased by two per cent.

“The number of people accessing higher education is not commensurate with the additional OSAP funding,” stated the report.

“We are also growing deeply concerned that OSAP grants will be cut by Ford, hurting low and middle income students,” said NDP Colleges and Universities critic Chris Glover in a statement. “Students counting on OSAP to give them a shot at university or college know that OSAP needs to be improved, not hacked apart.”

Alex Usher, from Higher Education Strategy Associates, is also critical of the news, noting that a cut to tuition will mean little to low-income students whose tuition is covered through OSAP. 

“Cutting tuition mostly benefits the rich meaning such a policy would be doubly regressive,” wrote Usher in a blog post on Wednesday morning.

Requests for comment to the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities were declined, until the official announcement which will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday morning.

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Ontario to announce 10% tuition cut for college and university students