College education in Ontario will be strengthened by the measures announced in the 2016 Ontario Budget.
“Improved access to college education is one of the clear priorities in the budget,” said President Common. “We are pleased with the enhanced support for students and the new investments into college-based applied research. Lack of financial support is a major impediment to participating in a college education for many prospective students. At Sault College over 58% of our students are receiving OSAP and many will now benefit from this much needed government initiative.”
The budget helps more low-income students pursue higher learning that leads to a good job without incurring debt. For example, the budget measures will result in free average tuition for every student with a family income of $50,000 or less, starting in the 2017-18 school year.
There are also commitments that students in families with incomes of $83,000 or less will receive non-repayable grants in excess of average tuition, and students in families with family incomes of less than $50,000 will have no provincial student debt. The maximum debt level for higher-income families will be capped at $10,000 annually.
Another budget highlight was an important investment of $20 million over three years for college-based applied research projects. This funding will allow colleges and businesses to work together on real-world research that helps businesses become more innovative and create new jobs.
As well, colleges were pleased with the increased investments for aboriginal education and the commitment to consult on college funding as the sector approaches its 50th anniversary in 2017.
“The budget recognizes that college education is a necessity for greater numbers of people,” said President Common. “This budget demonstrates a strong commitment to helping more students acquire the qualifications and professional skills that lead to rewarding careers.”
Laurie Burrows, Director of Enrolment and Financial Services said “Every day we see first-hand the needs of students in our financial assistance department and we are excited that this announcement will provide relief for many and open up new doors for students who couldn’t previously consider post-secondary education”.