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Ontario Government announces free tuition for low-income families

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By Nicole Schmidt

Students from families who make less than $50,000 per year will now receive free college and university tuition as a result of changes to this year’s provincial budget.

Finance minister Charles Sousa released the 2016 Ontario budget on Feb. 25, outlining plans to make student aid more transparent, timely and targeted to those in financial need.

“The plan invests in people’s talents and skills and their ability‎ to get and create the jobs of the future, by expanding access to high-quality college and university education,” Sousa said in a release.

Plans to implement a new grant system — called the Ontario Student Grant — will start in the 2017/18 school year. The proposed system will also make tuition more affordable for middle-income families and mature students; 50 per cent of students from families that make $83,000 or less will receive non-repayable grants and the program debt level will be capped at $10,000 annually for higher-income families.

Ryerson Students’ Union vice president education Cormac McGee met with Sousa twice this week to discuss OSAP, and what it’s like dealing with debt from a student perspective.

“It’s a big step in making education more accessible, and in enhancing learning without adding unnecessary stress points,” said McGee.

McGee also met with Ryerson administration earlier today to discuss budget consultation process.

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