Ontario budget 2016: Liberals pitch grant to cover average tuition for low-income students

by LUCAS POWERS, cbc.ca


The Ontario Liberal government wants to ensure that college and university students from

families that make less than $50,000 will have no provincial debt under a new grant unveiled in

its 2016 budget.

Under the Ontario Student Grant, 90 per cent of college students from low-income families

would get more than $2,768 for their education, which the government says is the average

college tuition.

Seventy per cent of university students would receive grants in excess of the average university

tuition of $6,160, according to the province.

The new system would also make tuition more affordable for students from middle-income

families, the Liberals say. More than 50 per cent of students from families grossing $83,000 or

less will be eligible for non-repayable grants in excess of the average college or university

tuition under the new system.

The province plans to eliminate grants offered by the Ontario Student Assistance Program

(OSAP) and funnel that money into the OSG to pay for it. Students, however, will still need to

contribute the $3,000 required by OSAP and will no longer be able to claim tuition and

education costs on their taxes.

The actual size of the grant for a particular student will depend on multiple factors, like

whether they are living at home or away and the size of their family.

The government expects to dish out $1.3 billion in grants in 2017, the first year students will be

eligible for the money. No student will get less money than they would under the current

Ontario Tuition Grant program, the province says.

Ontario Liberal Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the new grant will help students and their

families make sense of a system that is currently "very complex and convoluted."

In addition to the new grant, the province plans to increase financial aid for mature and

married students. It will also cap the maximum yearly OSAP debt level at $10,000 for high-

income students.

Patrick Brown, leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, said that "while the

government boasts they are helping people," it is really just cancelling one program to pay for