McGuinty Government Creates New Trust to Enhance Postsecondary Access

Archived Release

McGuinty Government Creates New Trust to Enhance Postsecondary Access

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

$50 Million Program Will Result in More Bursaries for Students TORONTO, Nov. 9 - The McGuinty government is promoting student success by creating more bursaries to improve access to postsecondary education, Chris Bentley, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced today. "The new Ontario Trust for Student Support will make $50 million available every year to postsecondary institutions so they can assist students in financial need," Bentley announced. "The trust will increase access and opportunities for students, expand fundraising capacity at our colleges and universities, and promote a culture of giving to support students." This initiative is expected to make available up to $5 million more per year in bursary assistance and increase the number of bursaries by 2,700 every year. Through the trust, the government will make $50 million available every year to match private and corporate cash donations used by colleges and universities to set up endowment funds. Investment income generated by these endowment funds will support bursaries for students who are in financial need. "We recognize that some postsecondary institutions have limited fundraising capacity and need extra help," added Bentley. "That's why, under the program, we will provide colleges and universities that have endowments of less than $1,000 per student with enhanced matching funding for up to three years." "We welcome the re-establishment of the program, and are pleased that the matching formula will help level the playing field between institutions," said Stephanie Murray, President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. The Ontario Trust for Student Support is part of the package of improvements to financial aid for students included in Reaching Higher: The McGuinty Government Plan for Postsecondary Education. Through the plan, the government will invest $6.2 billion more in the province's postsecondary system over the next five years - the single largest infusion of funds in the sector in 40 years. This includes $1.5 billion more for student financial aid. "This is a major step in reducing the financial barriers that students face," said David Lindsay, President of the Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario. "It will help Ontario provide career-focused college education to more students." "We are pleased that the McGuinty government has enhanced the previous Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund to ensure that all students in Ontario attending colleges and universities will have an equal opportunity to receive greater financial assistance through the Ontario Trust for Student Support," said Tyler Charlebois, Director of Advocacy for the College Student Alliance. "Our government is proud to make these improvements to financial aid so that all qualified students have access to a college or university education," said Bentley. "Under our plan, a student's ability - not their wallet - will determine the extent to which they reach higher and succeed." Disponible en français www.edu.gov.on.ca www.resultsontario.gov.on.ca Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- MCGUINTY GOVERNMENT MAKING HIGHER EDUCATION MORE ACCESSIBLE Through the Reaching Higher plan, which was unveiled in the 2005 Budget, the government will invest $6.2 billion more in postsecondary education and training over the next five years. This includes $1.5 billion more for student financial aid. Part of this new funding will be used to establish the Ontario Trust for Student Support (OTSS). Through the trust, the government will make $50 million available every year to match private and corporate cash donations used by colleges and universities to set up endowment funds. Investment income generated by these endowment funds will support bursaries for students who are in financial need. The OTSS replaces and improves upon the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund. The new trust creates more incentive for institutions to fundraise for student aid and fosters a culture of giving. It will assist institutions that historically have raised less money for student aid - those with endowments of less than $1,000 per student from the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund. These institutions will be eligible to receive enhanced, three-for-one dollar matching on funds raised above their respective historic Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund average for up to three years or until they reach the $1,000 per student endowment threshold. After three years, money from the fund will be dispersed on the basis of each institution's share of total enrolment. This initiative is expected to make available up to $5 million more per year in bursary assistance and increase the number of bursaries by 2,700 every year. Students seeking bursaries should contact the financial aid office at their postsecondary institution. Today's announcement delivers on a key recommendation laid out in former Premier Bob Rae's report on higher education, Ontario: A Leader In Learning, which recommended that the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund be re-established as a permanent, ongoing matching program and that postsecondary institutions with endowments of less than $1,000 per student receive enhanced funding. Other improvements to financial aid for students Through the Reaching Higher plan, the government also made improvements to student aid that have provided about 135,000 college and university students from low- and middle-income families with more financial aid for the current school year: Introduced tuition grants for 32,000 students In partnership with the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, introduced new, up-front grants to 16,000 first-year students from low-income families. These grants cover up to half the cost of tuition, to a maximum of $3,000. When combined with the Canada Access Grant - the federal government's new low-income grant - these students can receive up to $6,000, or the full cost of tuition. For second year students, Ontario has introduced the new Ontario Access Grant. It will provide up to $3,000 for 16,000 students from low-income families. Increased living allowances Expanded eligibility for student loans and increased Ontario weekly loan amounts from $110 to $140 for single students. When combined with federal changes, single students are eligible for as much as $75 more per week in student aid - a 27 per cent increase. This is the first increase in student loan maximums in over a decade. Helped middle-income families Reduced the amount of money middle-income parents are expected to contribute to their children's education. For example, a family of four, earning $70,000 with one child in university is saving about $2,000 - a 50 per cent reduction in what they are expected to contribute. As well, middle-income students with high need can access up to 27 per cent more assistance through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) with no increase in their debt. Helped with loan repayments Increased the income thresholds for interest relief by five per cent so that 6,000 more graduates can qualify for this assistance. Last year, Ontario introduced a debt reduction in repayment program, which reduces debt to an affordable level for those who have long-term difficulties with repayment. Recognized added costs Provided students, for the first time, with a new computer allowance through OSAP. Combined federal/provincial enhancements now provide students with an annual allowance of $500 for computer and computer-related costs. Students are automatically considered for these improvements when they apply for aid through OSAP. Students can find out more information about OSAP by visiting http://osap.gov.on.ca or through the financial aid office of their college or university. Disponible en français www.edu.gov.on.caFor further information: Peter Fitzpatrick, Minister's Office, (416) 326-1628; Tanya Blazina, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2746; Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514; TTY: 1-800-263-2892