In the latest cut from Doug Ford's government, Ontario university and college students can no longer get free tuition even if they're low income. The news comes amid a new framework for OSAP and tuition in Ontario. The Ford government announced this morning at Queen's Park that the free tuition OSAP grants have been cut and a general 10% tuition cut is replacing them.
The free tuition grants were introduced by the previous Liberal government for any students whose family income was less than $30,000 per year. Now those grants have been eliminated. The Ford government, however, is maintaining that there are still some grants available for lower-income students, as well as loans. The problem with loans is they have to be repaid and now the government has also cut the grace period for doing that.
Previously, Ontario students who had OSAP loans were given a grace period of six months after graduating in order to pay back their students loans. During the grace period, students also didn't have any interest on their loans. With the new-frame work, the grace period is gone and students will begin owing interest on their loans from the day they graduate.
The Ford government, however, has come up with a new framework to replace the free tuition grants and that's the new 10% tuition cut.
The tuition cut applies to all students, not just those who are lower-income. The cut will begin during the 2019-2020 school year at all colleges and universities in the province. While the government was very enthusiastic in their announcement about the cuts, the amount students are saving may seem underwhelming.
With the new cut, the average savings are only going to be $340 annually. As most students now, that's maybe the cost of two textbooks if you're lucky. Of course, it is dependent on your tuition cost, so if you pay $5000 in tuition you will save $500 for the year. But, the cut is only on your actual tuition cost and doesn't include any of the other fees that post-secondary schools charge.
The NDP also find this new cut disappointing. In a press conference after the announcement this morning, the NDP called the new cut deceitful and said "students, in the long run, are going to be worse off" because of it.
Another concern from the NDP is that with the loss of revenue, universities and colleges in the province are going to have to compensate with fewer services and programs available to students, which is super detrimental.
The new framework officially comes into place at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. If colleges and universities don't comply with the tuition cut, the Ontario government will withhold operational grants from them.