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Looking Ahead of Ontario's 2024 Budget: Post-Secondary Students



As Ontario awaits the tabling of the 2024 Provincial Budget on March 26th, CSA continues to advocate for meaningful investment and reforms that will better protect Ontario’s college students and institutions. Rooted in the findings of the Blue Ribbon Panel, CSA’s recommendations seek to improve financial sustainability, tuition predictability, financial aid, and student well-being for all students enrolled in Ontario Colleges. 


Implementing the recommendations brought forward by CSA and many other like-minded sector stakeholders is critical given the recent federal policies impacting and capping international students. Although the Province has announced a $1.3 billion fund to be dispersed across the institutions, it merely scratches the surface. This announcement falls significantly short of the recommended amount of approximately $2.5 billion outlined by this government’s Blue Ribbon Panel. Moreover, given the 50% reduction in international student enrolment facing Ontario's institutions, it becomes evident that the $2.5 billion figure may even need to be revised upwards to adequately address the challenges at hand.


CSA continues to urge Minister Bethlenfalvy to seriously consider these recommendations. With appropriately allocated funds, Ontario can lay the foundation for a robust and inclusive post-secondary education system that ensures a bright future for both institutions and students. Focus should remain on creating an environment where education is accessible, affordable, and conducive to the overall well-being of the student population. View CSA's Pre-Budget Submission below.


CSA Pre-Budget Submission 2024
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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.

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