Ontario is the most expensive province to pursue post-secondary education.
The Statistics Canada data released last week shows the average undergraduate tuition fees for the 2017-2018 academic year will be $8,454, up from $8,114 in the previous year, while graduate and international tuition fees also continued to rise.
This, despite the province’s student loan reforms, which is said to offer free tuition to over one-third of full-time post-secondary students through the new Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).
“While the 2017-18 academic year will see the introduction of the new OSAP that will provide non-repayable grants to thousands of students, we are still very concerned by this upward trend in tuition fees,” said Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario (CFS), in a press release. “The reality is that tuition fees are continuing to rise, even as average class sizes balloon, public funding decreases, and institutions lean on underpaid, precarious, part-time instructors to conduct most teaching.”
CFS notes that Ontario colleges and universities remain “chronically underfunded,” which is damaging the quality of education that students are paying so much money for.
The province says that 95% of all students who are receiving OSAP are getting “generous grants” to help them pay for college or university. Additionally, to make school more affordable, the province is partnering with eCampusOntario to develop and provide free and low-cost digital textbooks to students.
“We applaud the governments efforts to make education more affordable, such as the new OSAP and the Ontario Online Textbook Library, which will make hundreds of free, open-source educational resources available to students and teachers,” said Alideeb. “But we are worried that all these promising initiatives will be eroded and undermined by rising tuition fees and declining public funding.”
According toe CFS, which represents more than 350,000 college and university students in all regions of the province, the current tuition fee framework will expire in 2019, and students are calling on the government to ensure that the next framework reverses this decade-long trend of rising costs for students and their families.