10 Ways Ford Government's Post Secondary Education Announcement is Bad for Students
and their Families:
Toronto, Jan. 18, 2019 - Following the Ford Government's announcement on post-secondary
education yesterday further details have emerged that confirm any benefit students
may experience from a reduction in tuition fees will be offset by other reckless
changes being proposed. These severe changes will be felt across the province by
students and their families, faculty, staff and administrations.
"The Ford Government may want to celebrate yesterday's announcement but the truth
is any benefit of a tuition fee reduction is being offset by other reckless changes
being proposed," said Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario.
"The real impact of this announcement was revealed in the details and in almost
every way it is a bad deal for students and their families."
After yesterday's press conference and a meeting with staff at the Ministry of Training,
Colleges and Universities the following negative proposals can be confirmed:
- International students, who pay the highest tuition fees, are ineligible for a 10%
reduction in tuition fees.
- Universities and colleges will face funding cuts of up to $440 million which impact
the quality of education in the province. These deep cuts are expected to be downloaded
onto students and workers through larger class sizes, fewer course options and cuts
to wages and benefits.
- Students pursuing second-entry programs will be forced to take out a loan no matter
their financial situation. This will impact graduate students and professional students
in programs such as law and medicine and will likely mean students from middle and
lower income families will have to take on greater debt to access these programs.
- The 6-month grace period on repaying student loans is being eliminated and interest
will begin accumulating on student loans immediately after graduation.
- Mature students will face new barriers to accessing student loans and grants and
the definition of ‘dependent' is being changed requiring students to be out of high
school for 6 years (up from 4). These mature students will have their parents income
factored into the OSAP needs assessment, regardless of whether or not they are economically
independent, affecting access to grants.
- The expected parental contribution amount, which determines how much financial assistance
students will receive, is set to increase. This change negatively impacts families
that have multiple children pursuing post-secondary education, as well as students
whose parents do not contribute the expected amount.
- Students from families with annual earnings below $50,000 will be forced to take
a loan as part of their financial assistance, rather than a non-repayable grant
covering the average cost of tuition.
- Students from families with annual earnings between $50,000 and $140,000 will receive
a higher proportion of repayable loans to non-repayable grants in their financial
- Students from families with annual earnings between $140,000 and $170,000 will no
longer eligible for the Ontario Student Grant, only repayable loans.
Students' unions are under attack. Students democratically decide to participate
in and fund the activities of their students' union through the collection of dues.
The Ford government is encouraging students to opt out of their students' union
dues. This will reduce the ability of students' unions to represent and service
their members. Students' unions serve their members in a number of significant ways,
all of which are now under threat:
- Coordinating non-profit health and dental insurance plan
- Negotiating discounted transit passes for students
- Providing academic support and advocate services (such as challenging academic misconduct
decisions and representing students on tribunals)
- Representing students on academic councils and academic departments
- Running essential support services such as peer support, equity centres (e.g Pride
centres, gender resource centres, disability advocacy centre, racialized, indigenous
student centres), sexual violence support centres, food banks
- Creating volunteer and good job opportunities for students;
- Collecting fees for independent campus press, such as newspaper and radio
- Operating non-profit commercial services, such as book stores, restaurants, cafes
and food services.
- Resource causes and programs that students' have democratically decided to fund,
such as the Student Refugee Program (WUSC)
- Coordinating orientation weeks
- Providing first contact for international students
- Offering funding for student clubs
"Students' unions are the independent, democratic voice for students ensuring they
may have a say in their own education. Students, through their students' unions,
have long fought for government action on accessible, affordable high quality public
post-secondary education, so its no wonder they are the next target of the Ford
Government" said Sami Pritchard, National Executive Representative of the Canadian
Federation of Students-Ontario.
The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the largest student organization
in the province, representing over 350,000 college and university students, and
advocates for affordable, high-quality post-secondary education.