The PC Government recently announced some big changes coming in regards to post-secondary funds.
Some of these changes include ten per cent tuition cuts, changes to OSAP policies such as eliminating free tuition as well as getting rid of the six-month interest-free grace period after graduation, and allowing students to opt out of some club and activity fees.
SaultOnline reached out to Algoma University and Sault College for reactions.
The following is a statement from Algoma U President Asima Vezina:
“Northern Ontario universities are faced with a range of challenges brought on by declining regional demographics and higher than average program delivery costs. Given that many universities in the region have experienced a period of significant enrolment decline, we welcome Minister Fullerton’s commitment to maintain current grant funding levels, and to create a fund to support Northern Ontario universities most impacted by the tuition reduction. Universities, including associated research and innovation activities, play a significant role in economic growth and development and we are optimistic that this government sees the value and importance Northern Ontario universities have within the communities they serve and the province as a whole,” – Asima Vezina, President of Algoma University.
The following is a statement from Sault College:
The tuition cut will hit our bottom line by nearly $750,000 dollars. These cuts are difficult to manage given Ontario’s colleges currently have some of the lowest tuition fees in the country. While three provinces have lower tuition fees their operating grants from their provincial government more than make up for that low tuition. When tuition and operating grants are combined, Ontario Colleges gets about $1,500 less per student than any other province. Our average funding per student (operating grant plus tuition) is just under $9,000. The universities in Ontario get approximately $15,000 per student and the revenue provided to colleges on a per-student basis is less than the amounts provided to universities and high schools.
College programs are highly accessible to students in all family income quartiles currently. We run a tight budget and we will have to make some adjustments in our budget.
We are also concerned with the announced new policy allowing students to opt out of fees that support the Student Union and the services they provide. We view the Student Union at the College as a valued partner to the College and our students.
We do applaud the government for recognizing the unique challenges of northern colleges and universities by acknowledging the need for sustainability transition funding.
Stay tuned to SaultOnline and ONNtv as this develops.