The Ontario Government has introduced the Ontario Student Grant (OSG), making net tuition free for 90% of low-income students. We’ve gathered some frequently asked questions and answers to help you understand the recently announced changes:
What is the OSG? The OSG, a new grant under OSAP, will make tuition more affordable for students across Ontario. For some, the tuition portion of their school bill will be free. Students with a family income of $50,000 or less will leave college with no provincial debt as they will receive grants more than their net tuition. More than 50% of students from families grossing $83,000 or less will be eligible for non-repayable grants totaling more than the average college tuition. The actual size of the grant for each student will depend on multiple factors, like whether they are living at home or away and the size of their family.
When will the OSG take effect, and how do I apply? The OSG will take effect Fall 2017. The process of applying for OSAP won’t change. You can apply online or by mail with the 2017-2018 OSAP Application for Full-time Students once it becomes available (2017).
Is it possible for me to receive less money with the OSG than I do through the current system? No. The government has confirmed no student will be worse off under the OSG. Every student will receive the same, or more, non-repayable grant.
What does “net tuition” mean? Net tuition is the fee you pay your college for tuition only; this does not include the additional institution or student fees, textbooks, parking passes, costs of living or food.
Other than applying for the grant, what is required of me? You will still need to contribute the $3,000 required by OSAP. You will also no longer be able to claim tuition and education costs on your taxes.
How will the OSG be paid for? All current OSAP grants, including tuition and education tax credits, will be eliminated to fund the Ontario Student Grant. CSA has advocated for these tax credits to be re-purposed into upfront grants for students to help them when they need it – during their education.
OSAP expects a $3,000 contribution from students towards their education. Is this a reasonable amount? The government of Ontario considers postsecondary education to be a shared investment and responsibility for those who are able to afford it. The $3,000 contribution is about the value of after-tax income for a student working an average number of weekly hours at minimum wage for 16 weeks. Students can also apply other resources toward their required contribution including savings (OSAP exempts up to $3,000 in savings so they can be used for the contribution), or part-time work while in studies. This expected contribution is automatically waived for certain groups of students (e.g., students with children; student/spouse on Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works).
Will the size of the Ontario Student Grant increase each year by inflation or by the amount that average tuition goes up? Will it go up at all? The grant is indexed to average tuition, which means students will continue to benefit from receiving predictable, upfront grant amounts. OSAP indexes all of its supports. Living supports are indexed to inflation and tuition supports are indexed to changes to average regular college tuition levels.
What happens to the tax credits I or my parents have carried forward from previous tax years? If you are an Ontario resident on December 31, 2017 and have unused tuition and education tax credits you are able to claim them in future years.
When will the Tuition and Education tax credits be eliminated? The elimination of the Tuition and Education tax credit will line up with when the Ontario Student Grant is available (Fall 2017). Ontario Students will be eligible to claim the Tuition Tax credit for eligible tuition fees paid in respect of studies up to and including September 4, 2017.
For more information and FAQs visit www.ontario.ca/FreeTuition.