As the Ontario government prepares to set the 2024 Budget, the College Student Alliance (CSA) has submitted key recommendations to Minister of Finance, the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, to address crucial issues in the post-secondary education sector. With a focus on the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations, CSA emphasizes the need for financial sustainability, institutional support, and student well-being in Ontario's colleges. View or download CSA's 2024 Pre-Budget Submission below.
Summary of Recommendations
Increasing Operating Grants to Colleges:
One of the primary recommendations in CSA's submission is to increase operating grants to colleges. This strategic move aims to reduce institutional reliance on international student tuition. By bolstering financial support to colleges, the government can ensure a stable financial foundation, allowing institutions to focus on providing quality education rather than relying heavily on revenue generated from international students.
Predictable International Tuition Formula:
CSA proposes the creation of a formula for predictable international tuition. This formula would cap annual percentage increases in incoming student tuition, providing much-needed stability for international students. The recommendation suggests a maximum 5% increase in the first year, followed by subsequent increases capped at a maximum of 3% per year.
Proportional OSAP Changes:
To address the financial burden on students as well as the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendation to unfreeze and increase domestic tuition, CSA recommends a shift towards majority grant-based financial aid. This change would offer more support to students by reducing the reliance on loans. Additionally, CSA proposes the removal of interest on provincial student loans, easing the financial stress on graduates. Extending the grace period for the provincial portion of OSAP further supports students as they transition from education to the workforce.
Funding for Student Health and Well-Being:
Recognizing the importance of holistic student development, CSA calls for increased funding to improve student health and well-being outcomes. Mental health and well-being are integral components of a student's success. Allocating resources to enhance support services and mental health initiatives within colleges will contribute to a healthier, more resilient student body.
CSA's pre-budget submission aligns with the blue ribbon panel recommendations, emphasizing financial sustainability, institutional support, and student well-being. By implementing these key recommendations, Ontario can lay the foundation for a robust and inclusive post-secondary education system, ensuring a bright future for both institutions and students. As the government considers these proposals, the focus remains on creating an environment where education is accessible, affordable, non-exploitative, and conducive to the overall well-being of the student population.