For the first time in Ontario, students at every publicly-assisted college and university will see their tuition rates go down by 10 per cent thanks to a province-wide tuition rate reduction introduced by the provincial government. The tuition rate reduction is the latest step in the Ford government’s plan to reduce costs for of Ontario students and families.
“We believe that if you’ve got the grades, you deserve access to an affordable post-secondary education,” said Merrilee Fullerton, training, colleges and universities minister. “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.”
As part of its overall reform of postsecondary education affordability, Fullerton also announced the government will be refocussing the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to ensure it remains sustainable and viable for future students while directing a greater proportion of the 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,” she said. “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 post-secondary sector to deliver better value for the high tuitions they already charge.”
That means some students with household incomes under $50,000 who expected free tuition will now have to deal with a scenario where they would likely receive a mix of grants and loans.
Fullerton also announced a Student Choice Initiative through which every individual student in Ontario will be empowered to choose which student fees they want to pay and how that money will be allocated. 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,” she said. “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 post-secondary education more affordable through historic reforms, refocussing 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 post-secondary education while giving more of our students opportunities to find a job and build a career right here in Ontario,” said Fullerton.
- The government’s historic tuition reduction for 2019-20 represents the first time Ontario student tuition has decreased across all funding-eligible programs.
- Average university tuition in Ontario has increased significantly since the mid-1990s and is currently the highest in any Canadian province.
- A student attending Conestoga College enrolled in a practical nursing program would see a $300 reduction in their 2019-20 academic year tuition.
- An arts and science undergraduate student at the University of Guelph would see a reduction of $700.
- An engineering student at Carleton University would see a reduction of $1,120.
- Students pay fees in addition to tuition, which can range from approximately several hundred dollars to $2,000 per academic year.
- The auditor general recently tabled a report highlighting concerns with the way OSAP was administered as well as drastic overspending. The report concluded that despite the previous government’s excessive spending, OSAP did not result in proportionately higher enrolment.
- The government will administer a fund to help smaller, northern institutions adjust to the tuition rate reduction.