Ontario tuition high, but still affordable

Posted on September 14, 2015 in Education Policy Context

TheStar.com – Opinion/Readers’ Letters – Re: Ontario’s tuition fees highest in the country, according to new report, Sept. 8
Sep 14 2015.   Reza Moridi / Linda Franklin

Ontario boasts one of the most affordable, high-quality and accessible post-secondary educations systems in the country. While the sticker price of tuition in Ontario might appear higher than other jurisdictions, it’s critical to consider the supports students receive to offset the cost of tuition through one of the most progressive and robust student assistance programs in Canada.

Our government issued around $1.3 billion in grants and loans last year, and 70 per cent of that assistance was money that students won’t have to repay. The 30 per cent Off Tuition Grant was introduced in 2012 and will save almost 230,000 students up to $1,830 in tuition this year. And recently announced changes have further modernized OSAP, making it more transparent and flexible for students.

These investments have led to very real improvements. Adjusted for inflation, the average repayable OSAP debt of public college and university students graduating in 2014 was 23 per cent less than their 2001 counterparts. Based on a survey of eight provinces by the Canadian University Survey Consortium, Ontario undergraduate students graduate with the third lowest public and private debt. And Ontario now benefits from the highest postsecondary participation rates in the OECD.

We are looking forward to continuing to do more to improve student assistance and I am very much committed to continuing to work closely with student leaders to do so.

But it is important that any conversation around the costs of post-secondary education factors in the assistance that helps ensure students can access a post-secondary education based on their ability to learn, not their ability to pay.

Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Toronto

It’s important to stress there is a huge range of tuition rates in this province. The typical tuition for an Ontario college program is less than $2,700, among the lowest in the country. College education continues to be affordable and accessible for students seeking a post-secondary education with a career-specific focus.

Linda Franklin, President and CEO, Colleges Ontario

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One Response to “Ontario tuition high, but still affordable”

  1. Robyn Guy says:

    I would like to start off by addressing my total loss for words for a brief moment in time. After reading this article, and then rereading again and again (with what I can only assume to be a look of horror on my face) I would like to say that I think that it’s a joke; more so an insult. First of all, I myself am a mature student, I am also a mother of one. I went to college first and received my diploma, and am currently working towards my degree at our local university. I have applied for, and have received OSAP for both college and university so that I can get the higher education our country puts such a huge pressure on us to get from a very young age. I cannot agree that it is affordable, even with the breaks that we get for doing well, and or for being parents who are attending post-secondary institutions, etc. Although every little bit does help, and although I am forever grateful for all the assistance I have received, a very real reality is that everyday that I am closer to graduating, is another day closer to that huge debt I will have to repay. The kicker to this reality is the other reality for my generation; I’m getting this higher education, and I am putting myself into debt for it with no guarantee that I will even gain full-time employment to pay this back for years after I’m done my studies. If tuition was highly affordable, we wouldn’t need to borrow thousands and thousands of dollars from the government to pay for it. Families wouldn’t panic, and have to sacrifice basic needs even to pay for their child’s tuition. There are some very fortunate families that have enough disposable income to pay for tuition, but a lot of families do not. A lot of young adults who live on their own, in an already almost unfeasible situation, do not have the money for tuition and will continue working low-paying jobs to keep up and will give up on the post-secondary education dream because they can’t catch a break. This article also didn’t mention that university tuition in Ontario are over the 6,000 dollar mark. That is ONLY tuition. So, I’d like to know how this article can possibly boast that our tuition is highly affordable.


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