Tuition fees for September could be raised by five per cent, an amount set by the provincial government’s tuition framework unveiled on March 29.
It allows universities to raise tuition fees by an average of five per cent, ranging from four to eight per cent depending on year and program. This week’s tuition framework announcement determined 40 per cent of Ryerson’s operating budget. The rest was decided last week with the release of the Ontario government’s budget.
This system isn’t completely new to Ryerson — the Reaching Higher tuition framework was set to expire this year, but has been extended for the next two years.
“For the most part, what it did was confirm our estimates,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy.
However, Levy said he was surprised by the government’s lack of compensation funding, which makes up for inflation.
The university can now prepare for a three per cent cut to all operating budgets, although departments across campus were told to plan for a hit of up to four per cent to be safe.
“It’s unfortunate that we’re paying for this,” said Ryerson Students’ Union vice-president education, Liana Salvador. “We’re being hit with tuition fee increases and a lower quality education.”
Salvador said budget cuts at Ryerson could mean larger classes and the cancelling of non-mandatory classes.
But she said there were small victories for students.
The framework set out changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). The weekly loan limit was increased from $140 to $150. Students are now allowed to make $103 a week while recieving OSAP, up from $50 per week.
Graduates won’t need to pay interest on their loans for six months and if students can’t pay off their loans after 15 years, their debt will be erased.
“We’re all together in this and we all have to do a little bit of belt tightening,” said John Milloy, minister of training, colleges and universities.
“We have to ask everyone to work together.”