Making Postsecondary Education More Affordable
The Ontario government is committed to making postsecondary education accessible on the basis of the ability to learn, not the ability to pay. Last year, Ontario issued over $1 billion in grants and loans to students, including the 30% Off Ontario Tuition Grant.
More improvements to student aid
Improvements made to student financial aid in 2013-14 include:
- Increasing the 30% Off Ontario Tuition Grant to $1,730 for university or college degree programs and $790 for college diploma or certificate programs.
- Extending eligibility for the Ontario Distance grant to include Francophone students who travel a minimum of 80 kilometres to attend full-time studies in French, no matter where they live in the province.
- Partnering with all Ontario universities and a third of the province's colleges to cover 100 per cent of tuition fees, up to a maximum of $6,000 per year, for former Crown wards and youth who are in and leaving care.
- Providing a grant of $500 per month to help cover living costs for youth aged 21 to 24 who are leaving care and enrolled in OSAP-eligible college and university programs.
- Extending the interest-free grace period on student loans for college and university graduates who start their own business or volunteer for the 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games.
- Exempting students returning to postsecondary studies who volunteer for the 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games from making a pre-study contribution, to ensure their aid is not reduced because they worked as volunteers rather than taking a paid job.
Colleges and universities are also not allowed to raise tuition levels without participating in Ontario's Student Access Guarantee. The guarantee ensures that qualified students in need can access enough aid for their tuition, books and mandatory fees through a combination of support from OSAP and postsecondary institutions.
The government also caps student debt through the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant. No matter how much money a full-time student borrows, Ontario limits the amount of OSAP debt they need to repay to $7,300 for a two-term academic year and $10,950 for three terms.
As a result of these initiatives, Ontario student financial aid programs are among the most generous in Canada.