An overview of Ontario government’s cuts to higher education and the attempted bankrupting of democratic student organizations.
More information pages from our coalition partners available here.
Unfunded 10% Tuition Fee Reduction will result in an approximate 4% cut to university budgets. Universities will be under pressure to outsource, cut services, increase precarious employment, and/or lay-off staff.
Regressive OSAP changes will result in massive increased student debt and increased burden for mature students.
Elimination of Rand Formula-style funding for student unions. Optional student union dues, ancillary fees, and democratic levies could bankrupt student services. This will result in drastic cut to student services, layoffs of most unionized members employed in student services and student unions, remove funding for student unions, student newspapers, student centres (Pride Centres, Women Centres, international student spaces/buildings).
Overview of cuts
Unfunded 10% reduction in tuition fees
Unfunded 10% reduction in tuition fees (unfunded by the government) means at least a 4% cut to universities (and colleges), or about $360 million ($80 for colleges).
The amount will vary from university to university based on ancillary fees and proportion of international students (who do not see a cut in tuition fees).
Up to universities where they make the cuts.
Will result in increased pressure to outsource/contract-out, layoff, and cut services on campus.
Bargaining for many CUPE locals starts this year and will impact those tables.
OSAP changes will mean all students will be paying more
Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP) changes will mean most students will be paying more (even with the 10% tuition fee reduction). This is because of the changes in student financial assistance. In fact, the only students that will likely see an actual reduction in the amount they pay will be students from the upper end of the income spectrum.
The changes include:
Amount of funding in grants now reduced. All loans increased. All students will now see loans.
Debt cap has been lifted, so there is no access to financial support for high-debt students.
Definition of dependent changed from four to six years out of high school. Means more loans and harder to qualify for mature (read “independent”) student status.
Technology Allowance grant moved from $500 a year to just once. This was used by those with special needs with accessibility requirements.
Interest break period ended. Interest on student loans now starts before you have a job to pay your student loan.
Income threshold to access loan forgiveness moved from $25k to $35K.
The family income cap has moved from 150k to 120k to access grants.
Elimination of predictable funding for democratic student organization
The announcement to eliminate of Rand Formula-style funding for democratic student organizations (AKA Student Choice Initiative) will have large negative effects on student unions, democratic student organizations such as student newspapers and student radio stations, and may lead to the shutting down of the majority of student services.
Changes and effects include:
Student association, student fees, activities, student unions dues, student paper levy, building levy, and other democratic fees will be optional.
Core operations will be maintained as “essential”/“mandatory” fees including athletics, health safety services.
Other student ancillary fees set by the university will be optional.
Online opt-out process has not been clarified yet. It will be a page presented at time of online registration for classes.
The impact of this will be the bankrupting of student unions. Student unions provide significant levels of services to students and employ hundreds of staff across the province.