Liberal’s Tuition Rebate starts January 1
Submitted by Mike Ferguson
Local college and university students heading back to school in January will see a 30% tuition rebate in time for the second term, keeping a promise by the McGuinty Liberal government, said Mike Ferguson, president of the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex provincial Liberal association.
“This is good news for students attending college or university in Ontario,” said Ferguson. “A centrepiece of the Liberal campaign platform was rebates of $730 for each college student and $1,600 for each university student from families with incomes under $160,000 a year.”
“We know that our area MPPs, Bob Bailey, Monte McNaughton and Rick Nicholls all oppose this measure for our students and the future success of our economy,” said Ferguson. “But we all recall the absolute devastation wrought on our post-secondary sector by the Tories, they cut student aid by 41%, deregulated tuition for many programs allowing tuition costs to skyrocket with no limit, hiked regulated fees by 66%, while medical school tuition shot up by 150%, hurting rural areas especially leading to the doctor shortage, and they cut $435 million from colleges and universities in their first 2 years.”
Ferguson pointed out those already enrolled in the Ontario Student Assistance Program — about half of the 310,000 who will be eligible for the tuition rebates — will automatically be in line for the rebates.
“They won’t have to do anything,” he said. “They will get an automatic computer credit based on their OSAP application that will happen well in time for them to pay the second instalment of their tuitions.” The rest will have to apply online at a website to be launched next month.
Colleges & Universities Minister Glen Murray credits Dalton McGuinty — the self-proclaimed education premier — with pushing the idea, saying families need help to cope with the slow recovery that followed the recent recession.
“We’re removing significant financial barriers for families who are under financial stress, especially for families — and there are many — who have two or three or four children now either in college or university or in the final years of high school,” said Murray.
The Liberals say five out of six families with students will benefit from the tuition rebates, but the Canadian Federation of Students said all students should get a tuition cut.
Ferguson outlined recent positive actions for local college and university students by the McGuinty government:
- Reducing tuition by 30%
- Capped tuition increases, boosted student assistance and tripled the number of direct student grants.
- Added 200,000 more spaces, so there’s a spot for everyone.
- Funding for colleges and universities has increased by 58% since we took office.
- We know there are a lot of costs to going to school – tuition, rent, text books, computers etc. That’s why we boosted student assistance funding and made some important changes:
- Increased how much a student loan can be
- Provide more assistance for tuition, living costs, books, supplies and equipment,
- Let students keep more of the money they earn from part-time jobs,
- A new $500 grant for part-time students,
- A Distance Grant to assist with transportation costs for eligible full-time students from rural and remote area
- We have doubled investment in student aid since 2003.
- The changes are working. While more students are qualifying for financial aid, our default rate after graduation has dropped – from a high of 23% under the PCs to just 8% now.
Mike Ferguson is President of the Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Provincial Liberal Association