Tuition hike drops down to 3%
The Ontario government has lowered the cap on tuition is to three per cent annually for the next four years, which is a decrease from the previous five per cent standard. The new three per cent cap pertains to undergraduates, while graduate programs face increases of an average of five per cent, which brings them down from eight per cent in the course of seven years.
“From an OUSA perspective, we are very pleased that the government hasn’t extended the framework of five per cent,” said Alysha Li, president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). “However, students and OUSA have asked for a freeze for at least one year. Should tuition increase, it should be no more than inflation.”
Li mentioned that OUSA is disappointed to see that the government did not take their recommendation of the tuition freeze for at least one year. However, Li acknowledged that OUSA does recognize that this is progress and it will continue to push the government to go towards a more affordable framework for students.
Despite this dissatisfaction, Li had pointed out the positives that are to come as a result of the three per cent tuition cap.“Students are going to see a decreased annual percentage of their tuition every year. As well, we are very happy to see that the government had taken up OUSA’s recommendation to look into the impact of deferral fees and flat fees,” Li shared. “We truly believe that those fees target students who are in the most need in affording their education.”
Kevin Crowley, director of communications and public affairs at Wilfrid Laurier University, shared that the university is not only dealing with a reduced tuition cap but are also dealing with a provincial cuts to their operating budgets, which presents a big problem to the university.
Crowley acknowledged that the four-year time frame comes with benefits to the university. “We’re thankful for the four-year time frame policy, that gives us some stability as we plan our budget for the next few years,” Crowley explained. “We also understand that the province is in a pretty difficult financial situation, so we acknowledge all of that.”
With the budget cuts leading to a restriction, Crowley emphasized that the students remain the number one priority for WLU staff and administration. “We are going to put the needs of the students first, we have always done that and our priority is going to continue to provide high quality learning experiences for our students,” Crowley said.
“It’s not great having to restrict our budget even more, but we are doing our best to keep the students first.” For the future, Li shared that OUSA would like to encourage university students to expand their knowledge on what deferral fees and flat fees are and how tuition is changed as a direct result of that.
Li promised that OUSA would continue to work to teach students about the fees and encourages public education about the tuition increases. “As for the annual increase, I encourage students to get educated and talk to their student leaders,” Li concluded.
“OUSA will continue to push the government on making tuition more affordable for students”