Summary of Government commitment to more accessible post-secondary education
- $1 billion affected from inefficient programs like tax credits and the 30% off Ontario Tuition Grant to non-repayable grants for low- and middle-income students
- Free post-secondary education for college and university students whose families earn less than $50,000, and more affordable education for middle-income families
- Post-secondary education will now be more accessible for mature students, as grant money is no longer tied to a student’s age or number of years out of high school
- Métis students are now included in provincial Aboriginal grant eligibility
- No Ontario student will receive less than they are currently eligible for through the 30% Off Ontario Tuition Grant
The first step toward more affordable and accessible education: the Ontario Student Grant
After decades of advocating for more accessible and affordable post-secondary education in the province, students in Ontario have accomplished a collective victory with the announcement of the provincial budget for 2016. With the announcement of major student financial assistance reform, students have forced the government to admit that post-secondary education in Ontario is too expensive and restricts access for students who need it most.
In fact, as of 2017, the government will create a single major upfront grant, the Ontario Student Grant, by combining current ineffective initiatives such as tax credits and the 30% Off Tuition Grant. This means that students, such as yourself, will be able to access more upfront grants, and that no Ontario student will receive less than they are eligible for in current grants programs. What’s more, this grant will make average tuition free for students with financial need from families with incomes of $50,000 or lower, and will make tuition more affordable for middle-class families, as 50% of students from families with incomes of $83,000 or less will have non-repayable grants in excess of average tuition. A longstanding ask of the members of the Canadian Federation of Students has been to increase eligibility to upfront grants, and students have won this victory as well! Eligibility for this grant will no longer be tied to the number of years a student has been out of high school, graduate students are eligible for the grant, and Métis students are now included in the provincial Aboriginal grants.
As a member of the Canadian Federation of Students, you can feel proud of this historic moment. Our collective demands presented to both the federal and provincial governments have been heard. We have also started a provincial and national conversation around free education, and it is important to recognize that conversation for what it is: Ontarians are ready to consider free education as a realistic way to make education more accessible for all.
In order to achieve this, we must build upon these most recent achievements and fill the gaps. We know that students in Ontario face the highest tuition fees in the country and that the government will be reviewing how it regulates tuition fees in the coming year; this is where we should focus our efforts. Also, once again, there was no mention of increasing accessibility for international students.
You are a part of the student movement. A movement that was able to achieve a historic win for students across the province.
Get involved to push for universal access to post-secondary education in Ontario!