Ontario Independent

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Different price tags are attached to different pledges to increase student funding in Ontario

Pledges to increase student grants are priced differently by the various Ontario parties.

Key Takeaways:

  • Three of Ontario’s four major political parties have committed to undo reforms to the province’s student aid scheme.
  • The Green Party claims that Ontario’s tuition rates are excessively high, and they intend to spend the most money on student aid.

Three of Ontario’s four major political parties have pledged to reverse changes to the province’s student assistance program, but their promises come with distinct price tags.

After the Progressive Conservatives entered power in 2018, they scrapped a program that transformed many student loans into scholarships and made tuition-free for some students. The auditor general forecasted that the cost of subsidies provided under the Ontario Student Assistance Program would approach $2 billion per year by 2020, significantly more than the former Liberal government had predicted when the program was first implemented.

The Green Party has pledged $1 billion to restore the cuts, while the Liberals have pledged $600 million per year. The NDP has allocated $771 million next year and $834 million the following year, plus slightly over $40 million per year to turn student loans into grants.

“We will be reintroducing an OSAP program that is as generous for middle- and low-income Ontario students as it was before Doug Ford reversing the progress that we had made for more accessible and also more affordable post-secondary,” Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca stated that at a campaign cessation in the Ottawa area on Monday.

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“We’re also going to remove interest from student loans, so students will only have to pay back what they borrowed, not interest.”

Del Duca said his party “looked at the quantities that we felt were needed to hit the profitability challenges that post-secondary students have to face” when he released his costed platform two weeks ago and came up with a figure that was slightly lower than what the inspector general warned the vow would cost back in 2018.

The New Democrats say they want Ontarians to graduate debt-free, and they’re willing to invest a few hundred million dollars more every year to make that happen.

“An Ontario NDP government would ensure that all Ontarians who want a post-secondary education can get one and strive toward a future where tuition is never a barrier to learning,” the party stated in an emailed statement.

Pledges to increase student grants are priced differently by the various Ontario parties.
Pledges to increase student grants are priced differently by the various Ontario parties. Image from CityNews Toronto

According to the Greens, Ontario’s tuition rates are too high, and they promise to spend the most money on student assistance.

During a virtual news conference on Monday, party leader Mike Schreiner said, “We know that we must make big investments in our post-secondary institutions.”

After contracting COVID-19 last week, his in-person campaign stops have been placed on hold.

“Our post-secondary sector in Ontario has the highest per capita tuition rates and the lowest per capita support in the country. So, to continue to provide world-class education, we must boost our investments in colleges and institutions, “he stated.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservatives have no plans to reverse their cuts.

Instead, according to a spokesperson for the party, tuition costs were slashed by 10% and then frozen.

“If re-elected, we will keep the existing tuition freeze for another academic year,” stated the spokeswoman.

Source: CTV news

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