By Sarah Krichel
On Dec. 15, the provincial government of Ontario announced a rollover of the current tuition framework, setting an overall tuition increase cap of three per cent for another two years.
According to Deb Matthews, minister of advanced education and skills development, students can expect increases in their tuition for another two years.
“There’s a lot going on in the post-secondary space—obviously the biggest priority is OSAP reform,” Matthews said. “We are working hard to get that free tuition out there.”
Matthews added that the government of Ontario is also working on the funding formula and the strategic mandate agreement, so “the best thing to do” was to stick with the status quo and come back to this discussion later.
“We had also heard from student groups that they didn’t feel we had done enough consultation and we want to respect that,” she said.
There is currently no set deadline for a framework reform after the two-year rollover.
According to Rajean Hoilett, Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario chairperson, this rollover simply means a continued burden on vulnerable communities that cannot afford the existing framework.
“As students, we were really hoping to see the government take a bold stance in favour of ensuring access and affordability to post-secondary education, and we were hoping to see [a] tuition fee framework that did not include any tuition fee increases,” Hoilett said. “It’s important that we don’t settle for the status quo.”
Hoilett added that the CFS’ semi-annual general meeting on Jan. 19-22 will allow students across the province to contribute ideas on how to go forward.
“Coming off of a really successful National Day of Action, we have a lot of capacity to really organize in January about this tuition fee rollover,” Hoilett said. “The participants at the meeting will have an opportunity to talk about what our next steps be … I’m really excited to see what will happen.”
OSAP grants and loans for students were also adjusted to ensure that they are in line with tuition inflation to take place, according to Matthews.
With files from Jacob Dubé.