By Laura Howells
More than 9,500 Ryerson University students are receiving free tuition from Ontario’s new financial aid program so far this year, according to the provincial government.
The new Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) system took effect this school year, with the province now providing grants that cover full tuition to thousands of college and university students.
More than 210,000 post-secondary students across the province will receive free tuition this year—that’s more than a third of all full-time college and university students in Ontario, said a government news release last Monday.
Students getting free tuition at Ryerson make up about half of all full-time Ryerson students who are receiving OSAP, ministry spokesperson Ingrid Anderson said in an email, adding that the 9,500 figure is “year-to-date data.”
“Students can apply for OSAP up to 60 days prior to the end of their study period so this will not be the final number,” said Anderson. “We will not have the final number until this time next year.”
More than 210,000 post-secondary students across the province will receive free tuition this year
Ryerson has seen a 13.5 per cent increase in OSAP applications compared to last year, with numerous applications coming in each day, media relations officer Lauren Clegg said in an email.
She said Ryerson has assessed 19,706 applications so far this year— 3,160 more than this time last year.
“Ryerson has received 28 per cent of its OSAP applications in the last month alone so this number increases daily, and we are still very much in the process of assessing all the applications for funding,” Clegg added.
Across the province, the government says OSAP applications rose by more than 10 per cent in 2017 compared to last year.
Ontario has introduced a number of changes to its grants and loans program. Mature students, also called adult learners, will also be eligible for free tuition for undergraduate and graduate programs.
This addition was implemented on Jan. 17, when the minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Deb Matthews, announced that mature students who earn under $50,000 annually are eligible for free tuition.
Starting in 2018, students need to make a minimum salary of $35,000 before they are required to start repaying Ontario student loans, up from $25,000.
OSAP applications for 2018-19 will open early this year, beginning on Nov. 8. Students can check the province’s online calculator that was launched this January to see if they qualify for free tuition or other funding.