Ontario caps post-secondary tuition fees

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Photo by Emi Zibaei

On Dec. 15, the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Development released a bulletin regarding Ontario post-secondary tuition costs.

The bulletin announced that there would be a policy to have a specific cap to maintain in order for Ontario’s students, parents and guardians to have financial predictability when it comes to post-secondary tuition costs.

“This is not completely new legislation,” said Colin Aitchison, vice-president of Student Affairs. “The tuition framework was set to expire at the end of 2016, so they decided to extend the tuition framework for two more years.”

Aitchison also noted that the  three per cent cap is the same framework we have been working under since 2013.

The cap is set to accommodate the Ontario Student Assistance Program, an application-based program used to determine which students qualify to receive a loan in order to help them complete their post-secondary education.

OSAP has features designed for families making less than $50,000 per year to have free tuition, as well as making post-secondary more affordable for middle class families. The cap will limit the amount that universities can increase their tuition and the limit will be a maximum of three per cent, rather than the five per cent in previous years.

“The cap will benefit Laurier students because obviously tuition can’t grow above three per cent,” said Aitchison.

“Ideally we would have liked to see a tuition freeze. However, this two-year extension will allow us to see how the new OSAP model works before the next tuition framework.”

The consolation will help to give an idea of where gaps are missing and what needs to be improved upon overall. The only major change to OSAP, Aitchison said, is the province’s plan to allow for families making $50,000 a year and under to receive free tuition.

“[The tuition cap] won’t affect anything regarding OSAP,” said Aitchison.

“The province bases everything off of average tuition costs and because it is a provincial program and not Laurier specific, the only really big OSAP change is the free tuition plan [for those who qualify] that the province has released.”

Limiting the tuition fee will allow for families and students to become more financially stable and the cap will allow for great financial predictability.

This financial predictability will allow for Ontario to create more jobs, grow the economy and help people in Ontario have a more successful university experience.

“Limiting tuition fees increases and balances affordability for students and their families, while providing post-secondary institutions with financial stability as we work to transform OSAP—making tuition free for low-income students and more affordable for students from middle-income families,” said Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier, minister of advanced education and skills development and minister responsible for digital government, in the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Development released a bulletin.

“Moving forward, we’ll continue to ensure that every qualified student has access to post-secondary education through our generous student financial aid program.”

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