Ontario government cuts tuition fees by 10%, eliminates free tuition for low-income students

Posted
January 18, 2019
Article Source
Global News

Ontario has eliminated free tuition for low-income students as it attempts to trim a multibillion-dollar deficit, a move that – despite an accompanying tuition fee cut – is being slammed as harmful to those it's purported to help.

The Ontario Student Assistance Plan grants had become unsustainable and it was time to refocus the program to provide help to students in the most financial need, said Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Merrlee Fullerton.

"The previous government believed in handing out OSAP funding to some of Ontario's highest income earners rather than focus student grants to those individuals who needed it the most," she said Thursday.

The previous Liberal government increased the number of grants and made it possible for low-income students to attend college or university free of cost. But the auditor general found last month that costs for that program jumped by 25 per cent and warned it could grow to $2 billion annually by 2020-21.

The Tories are in the midst of trying to trim a deficit they peg at $14.5 billion – though the financial accountability officer says it's closer to $12 billion.

Under the Liberal OSAP program, families earning up to $175,000 could qualify for some funding and that threshold is now reduced to $140,000. Low-income students could qualify for grants large enough to cover the full cost of tuition under the previous plan, but now a portion of the funding they receive will be a loan.

 

Most of the grants will go to students whose families have an income of less than $50,000.

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