Taxpayers Federation Applauds OSAP and Tuition Changes
TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding today’s announcement that the Ontario government is restoring the Ontario Student Assistance Program to 2016-17 levels, reducing tuition by 10 per cent and requiring the availability of online opt-outs for student ancillary fees.
“Reducing tuition and providing opt-outs for fees will help students while reforming OSAP will save taxpayers millions,” said CTF Ontario Director Christine Van Geyn. “Last year’s OSAP changes were supposed to save taxpayer money, but, as the auditor general warned, the cost soared to more than $2 billion per year. By returning OSAP to 2016-17 levels, we hope to see a savings of about 50 per cent for this program.”
Because OSAP is an entitlement program, there is no limit on how much funding it receives. Every eligible student who applies receives the funding. The previous government’s changes to OSAP resulted in the cost of the program going from $1.3 billion to now over $2 billion, according to the Auditor General and today’s announcement.
“The previous government’s changes to OSAP have resulted in 98 per cent of financial aid to students being transformed into non-repayable grants rather than loans. And despite the changes, enrollment stayed stagnant” said Van Geyn. “This is not the purpose of OSAP, which is student assistance, not free tuition. It’s reasonable to expect students to pay at least part of their own way.”
Other changes included in today’s announcement are a 10 per cent reduction in tuition and a requirement that universities and colleges provide an online opt-out form for ancillary fees.
“We are pleased to see the 10 per cent cut to tuition and the new requirement that universities and colleges make it easier for students to opt-out of ancillary fees,” said Van Geyn. “This will reduce the cost of university and we are even more pleased that these savings for students will come at no cost to Ontario taxpayers.”