Society has always put a great value on education, but for anyone swimming in student debt finding that value isn’t as easy.
But good news to incoming college or university students in Ontario! As BuzzFeed reports, students coming from families that make less than $50,000 a year get free tuition starting next year.
According to the report, the Ontario government ” says it wants to simplify the complicated student aid system by ending education tax credits and focusing instead on giving grants to students who need them.”
So, under the new Ontario Student Grant, students from families with aforementioned income will be eligible for grants covering the average cost of postsecondary tuition. The report goes on to say that “90% of college students and 70% of university students will actually receive more than the average cost of tuition.”
Finance Minister Charles Sousa said that “these students will have no financial provincial debt” thanks to the grant.
Students who come from better-off households will also get help from the government.
Aside from the grant, it is reported that the Ontario government also promises to increase access to “interest-free and low-cost” loans for middle- and upper-income families, expand support for mature students, among other things.
The change has been hailed by every postsecondary group, reports The Globe and Mail.
“I think this is a game changer for students – it really changes the economics of going to postsecondary education,” said David Agnew, the president of Seneca College and chair of Colleges Ontario. “There is a clear commitment to college education,” he added.
“This is something that students were directly calling for,” Rajean Hoilett, chair of the Canadian Federation of Students’ Ontario executive committee, told The Globe and Mail. “It shows that government has been listening to students who are sounding the alarm on affordability and access to education.”
The grant will take effect starting on the 2017-2018 school year with students being able to loan up to more than $2,500 a year. Meanwhile, it is reported that “low-income college students living at home would have only about $500 in loans a year, largely due to the much-lower tuition.”
The grant is an effort of the government to “increase the percentage of Ontarians from lower-income and disadvantaged groups who attend college and university.”
Dr. Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, said that modernizing and simplifying the system will make it easier for students to see that postsecondary education can be accessible.
“Now, the perception of affordability of postsecondary education should improve,” said Spencer Nestico-Semianiw, president of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance.