Removing Barriers To Crown Wards' Education
One of the barriers to postsecondary education faced by Crown wards is the challenge of paying for it. Ontario offers a number of financial support programs and incentives for Crown wards and for students from low-income families:
- Students may receive up to $3,500 in scholarships and bursaries before there is any reduction in student loans provided to Crown wards through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP),
- Savings from the Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent will not reduce the OSAP loans available to Crown wards. Withdrawals from Registered Education Savings Plans established by children's aid societies on behalf of Crown wards are also exempt.
- The Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards provides current (and former) Crown wards with a tuition grant for each year of their first postsecondary program for up to four years. This grant is available regardless of the number of years the student has been out of high school.
- A student in a one-year postsecondary program receives a one-time grant covering 100 per cent of tuition costs (maximum $3,000). A student in a two-year-or-longer program receives a grant covering 50 per cent of tuition costs (maximum $3,000) for each year of the program, for up to four years.
- The Crown Ward Postsecondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program refunds students' college and university application fees.
- There are 53 children's aid societies in Ontario; many also offer bursaries to current and former Crown wards under their care.
- New funds equivalent to the Ontario Child Benefit will be set aside for older Crown wards and can be used to fund postsecondary education and will not reduce the OSAP loans available to Crown wards. Withdrawals from Registered Education Savings Plans established by children's aid societies on behalf of Crown wards are also exempt.
- In addition, the new funds equivalent to the Ontario Child Benefit will ensure recreational, educational, cultural and social opportunities are accessible to children and youth in care across the province.
- The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will launch new web pages on its website that describe financial support and other information specifically for Crown wards moving on to postsecondary education. The web-based resource will come online in Spring 2009.