Ontario announced Thursday that it is cutting tuition fees for college and university students by 10 per cent. However, the PC government is eliminating free tuition for students from low-income families as the current grants program has become unsustainable. The current tuition fee framework with capped increases for most programs at three per cent, expires at the end of this academic year.
Under a new framework, most of the grants will go to students with a family income of less than $50,000. Tuition will decrease by 10 per cent for the 2019-2020 year, then be frozen for the following year.
In terms of savings, the average university arts and science undergraduate student would save about $660 and the average college student would save $340.
Currently this is the estimated average cost of tuition for one academic year in an Ontario post-secondary program:
• Diploma Programs – $2,400
• Graduate Certificate Programs – $3,600
• Bachelor’s Degree Programs – $6,100
• Collaborative Programs – $5,000
On an average a student can expect to cough up an additional $800 in ancillary fees such as student activity fees, athletic fees, health insurance, etc. Throw in books and supplies and that is approximately $1,300. If a student is living away from home on campus or in private housing, then of course the costs are driven a lot higher due to rent, utilities and transportation and not to mention the cost of groceries or prepared meals.
Tuition for specialized programs especially those involving training on special equipment require college investment in purchases as well as in facilities and ongoing maintenance. These costs are often factored into tuition fees. Other programs, such as photography or fine arts programs, may require students to buy extra equipment or supplies which can increase expenses.
In the larger scheme of things, a 10 per cent cut may not seem like a lot of money, but it is still a considerable sum as the cost of education worldwide is upward bound.
Core operating grants to post-secondary institutions are contingent on their compliance with the framework.
International student tuition fees aren’t regulated and are not included in the cut. In a way they are helping to offset the cost of educating Canadian citizens. -CINEWS