The Ontario Liberal government is making college and university more accessible and affordable for low and middle-income students in Sault Ste. Marie through the single-largest modernization ever of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), David Orazietti MPP announced today.
“Transforming our province’s student assistance program will make an important difference in the lives of a significant number of students in our community,” said Orazietti. “This investment further reduces barriers and helps to ensure that all students have the opportunity to obtain a post-secondary education.”
As announced in the 2016 Budget, the government will create a single, targeted, non-repayable grant — the Ontario Student Grant — starting in the 2017-18 school year. The changes to OSAP will make average tuition free for more than 150,000 eligible low- and middle-income students across the province and will reduce the cost for many more by:
Eliminating provincial student loan debt for eligible students and delivering free tuition for students whose parents earn less than $50,000
Providing the majority of eligible students whose parents earn the median annual income of $83,300 or less with enough in grants to cover their tuition costs
Ensuring that all eligible students receive the equivalent grant of 30% Off Tuition or more through the new grant program
The Ontario Student Grant will provide additional support for full-time mature and married students, and eligibility will no longer be tied to the number of years a student has been out of high school. This predictable, upfront grant will allow families in Sault Ste. Marie to plan for their education on the basis of net price — the difference between the sticker price of tuition and what a student actually needs to pay. The government will work closely with the postsecondary sector to develop planning tools that more accurately calculate the net tuition and net price of a university or college education.
“This new budget initiative is wonderful news for our current and future students and I applaud the government for this announcement and for investing in college education. With this initiative, the majority of our applicants will qualify for a non-repayable Ontario student grant,” said Dr. Ron Common, Sault College President. “A combination of the new Federal student aid initiative with the provincial non-repayable student grants, combined with the generous college scholarship and bursaries program should mean that lack of financial support should no longer be an impediment to attending the #1 college, as rated in student satisfaction in Ontario.”
“We are very pleased to see the new Ontario Student Grant program and the opportunities being made available by the Ontario government for our students,” said Academic Dean, Dr. Richard McCutcheon of Algoma University. “We believe that this new model will help make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable for a significant percentage of our students and others across Ontario.”
Breaking down barriers to postsecondary education in Sault Ste. Marie is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.
Over 3,200 students from Sault Ste. Marie were enrolled full-time in college and university programs in 2014-15.
Since 2003 provincial funding to colleges has increased by 75% and for universities by 84%
About 80 per cent of OSAP recipients, or 250,000 Ontario students, are expected to end up with lower student loan debt as a result of the changes to OSAP than they would under current OSAP rules.
300,000 students are expected to receive the same amount of grant support or more as a result of the changes to OSAP than they would under current OSAP rules.
Ninety per cent of dependent college students whose parents earn less than $50,000 are expected to receive OSAP grants that are greater than average college tuition.
Seventy per cent of dependent university students whose parents earn less than $50,000 are expected to receive OSAP grants that are greater than average university tuition.
The $50,000 family income threshold is based on Statistics Canada’s Low-Income Measure for a four-person household, before tax.