Queen’s Park says it is cutting post-secondary tuition by 10 per cent, while also doing away with a program that benefited low-income students. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities took to the podium to make the announcement official today.
“We believe that if you’ve got the grades, you deserve access to an affordable post-secondary education,” said Minister Fullerton. “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.”
The province is also doing away with some Ontario Student Assistance Plan grants that made it possible for low-income students to attend, claiming the OSAP program had become unsustainable.
Once-Education Minister under the Liberals Mitzie Hunter says this announcement will hurt students that need financial assistance the most. “Because tuition will be lowered, the government will be spending less money on tuition fees through OSAP. Needy students will see next to no benefits because under the previous program they were already being provided for. Wealthy students, who never qualified for OSAP in the first place, are being given a 10% tuition cut even though they can afford it the most.”
Under the previous Liberal government, Ontario’s tuition fees rose to the highest in the land, with an average of nearly 9 grand a year in the province versus about seven across the rest of Canada. This could represent a $360 million loss for the province’s universities.
The Minister 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,” said Fullerton.