More Than One-Third of College and University Students Receiving Free Tuition in Ontario
While post-secondary school is almost always worth it (if not for the courses, but also the learning and social experience it provides), there's no question that education can be prohibitively expensive for many Ontario students.
For that reason, some students might be happy to hear that, this school year, more than one-third of all full-time college and university students in Ontario are receiving free tuition because of the new Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, recently with students in Ottawa to talk about how the new OSAP and other proposed programs will, ideally, make life easier for students.
Other cost saving measures include:
- Free pharmacare so that youth under 25 don’t have to worry about paying for prescription medication, starting January 1, 2018.
- Raising the minimum wage so that students can earn more money to help them afford the cost of school.
- Improved repayment assistance so that students don’t have to worry about paying back their Ontario student loans until they’re making at least $35,000 a year.
- Free online textbooks to help students cover the cost of buying their textbooks.
- Making postsecondary education more affordable for students and families is part of our government’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
As for how it works, students from families with a combined income up to $175,000 will benefit from more generous grants and loans to assist with college and university expenses.
Applications to OSAP grew by more than 10 per cent in 2017, compared to last year. This school year, more than 210,000 students will receive free tuition. Students attending college and university this fall are the first to benefit from the new OSAP and 95 per cent of all students who are receiving OSAP are receiving grants to help them pay for college or university.
The OSAP application for the 2018-19 school year will open on November 8, 2017, earlier than ever before.
Starting in 2018, the minimum salary a borrower needs to make before they are required to start repaying their Ontario student loans is increasing from $25,000 to $35,000. Students should also note that OHIP+ will provide pharmacare coverage for children and youth under 25 who are covered by OHIP, starting January 1, 2018.
For those worried about other academic costs, the province has announced that it's partnering with eCampusOntario to develop and provide free and low-cost digital textbooks to students. A similar open textbook initiative in British Columbia has helped learners save over $4 million since 2012.
"Going to college or university is a wonderful opportunity for young Ontarians," says Matthews. That's why this government is committed to making it as easy and affordable as we possibly can for students, so that they can pursue their dreams, fulfil their potential and get the skills they'll need for the jobs of tomorrow."
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