Last week, the Government of Ontario announced changes to the post-secondary sector. CSA was critical of the announced changes and urged the government to reconsider.
CSA has been in constant contact with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) since the announcement. At this time, there are still more questions than answers regarding the new policies. The Ministry has agreed to provide an update in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, students cannot wait.
We will remain diligent in our efforts to find answers, and provide the government with recommendations and constructive feedback so they can improve these policies before September.
Below, you will find a breakdown of the announced changes based on the information provided thus far.
If you have policy questions, please contact our Director of Advocacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHANGES TO TUITION
Reduce domestic tuition for all programs by 10%. International students will not see a tuition decrease.
The government has said there will be no changes to college operating grants this year, but they have a contingency plan in place for northern institutions that may struggle financially.
CHANGES TO OSAP
Cancel the free tuition program, also known as the Ontario Student Grant. This means all financial assistance will have a minimum 10% loan component.
Reduce the family income thresholds associated with eligibility for the Ontario Student Grant, and increase the per-term cap for the Ontario Student Loan, meaning Ontario students are now eligible to incur more debt.
Restore parental contribution rates back to 2017-18 amounts, putting more of a burden on families of dependant students.
Make the $500 computer allowance reflect a one-time purchase, rather than an expense eligible for each year of study.
Change the definition of an independent student to a student who has been out of school for six years, up from four years, meaning parental income will be factored into the OSAP needs assessment for students up to six years out of high school – whether your parents financially support you or not.
Change the grant-to-loan ratio to a minimum of 50 per cent loan for students in second-entry programs (e.g. post-graduate college certificates, graduate degrees, law, etc.) and for students attending institutions outside of Ontario. This makes it difficult for individuals to go back to school after being in the workforce.
Revert to charging interest during the six-month grace period. This means a student will start accumulating interest right after graduation.
CHANGES TO ANCILLARY FEES
Ontario is introducing a plan, the Students Choice Initiative, to ensure colleges clearly communicate non-tuition student ancillary fees. Going forward, institutions will be required to provide an online opt-out option for all non-essential non-tuition fees.
Fees deemed mandatory will remain a part of the fee structure. Essential campus fees include walk-safe programs, health and counselling, athletics and recreation and academic support. The government cannot answer if they consider LGBTQ2S+ clubs, Indigenous student councils or other important services as essential. In fact, the full breakdown of which fees are considered mandatory vs voluntary is not confirmed at this time.
We look forward to providing students with more information as it becomes available.