Families weren’t confused: minister

CFS says Ontario Liberals misled voters about new grant


Minister Glen Murray. By Shaun Merritt on Flickr.

The Canadian Federation of Students (Ontario) has accused the Liberal government of  “broken promises” and misleading voters about who would be eligible for a substantial new tuition credit.

But Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, tells On Campus that the CFS-O are “the only people who seem confused.”

The Liberals, who were re-elected to a minority government on Oct. 6, campaigned on a new tuition grant amounting to $1,600 per year for university students and $730 for college students.

Today, the CFS-O issued a statement saying the Liberals misled students because the grant only applies to full-time undergraduates and college students in first-entry programs who are from families that make under $160,000 per year.

According to CFS-O’s statistics, there are 920,000 students in Ontario when everyone, including part-time students, graduate students and those in professional programs are added in. But only about one-third of those—310,000—will get the new tuition cheques or credits this year.

That’s hardly the “30 per cent across-the-board cut,” indicted in the Liberal’s platform, they say.

Not only did the details not reach voters, argues the CFS-O, but that’s less fair than the 13 per cent tuition cut for everyone that the nearly $500-million program could have purchased.

Families may indeed have been confused if all they read was the Liberal platform. It said this about the grants: “We’re going to support all middle-class Ontario families with a 30 per cent across-the-board post-secondary undergraduate tuition grant. That means—every year—the families of five out of six students will save $1600 per student in university and $730 per student in college.”

The document made it clear they were talking about undergraduates and families who make less than $160,000, but part-timers, mature students and those studying out-of-province had to go elsewhere to find out they were ineligible.

“In some cases, they explained the details,” says Nora Loreto, spokesperson for CFS-O. “But that message wasn’t getting through to the average person.” She knows that because parents have been calling her office frequently, trying to figure out why their children aren’t eligible. She says many Ontarians assumed that tuition was being reduced by 30 per cent for most students, because that’s the message they got from campaigning Liberals in newspaper articles and brochures.

Still, Minister Murray defended the alleged lack of clarity. “We did not include the application form in the platform, no,” he said. “But if you’d talked to the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance or the College Alliance, it was very clear.”

The details are also something he says Liberals discussed “over and over again” on the campaign trail. “Under $160,000? Check. High school in the last four years? Check. First-entry college or university? Check,” says Murray. “The only people that seem confused are the CFS,” he says.

Some Ontarian families may beg to differ.


Families weren’t confused: minister

  1. There were liberals on my campus handing out flyers that said “30% off your tuition starting january! Vote liberal!” During the election! They said nothing about any exclusions! And now they wanna play like they were being clear? Like they weren’t trying to buy my vote??? I’m done trusting liberals.

  2. I am so disappointed. I already owe OSAP over $40,000 for an undergraduate degree. I am now doing a victory lap (a fifth year of my undergrad) and am no longer considered “four years or less out of high school”. I missed this by one year and am so disappointed. The fact that the Textbook and Technology grant is being diminished is also sad, seeing as that is what I was depending on being a “Mature Student”. I think regardless of your age, if you’re in your undergrad, full time, blah blah you should get at least SOME compensation, even if it isn’t the full $1600.$800 per term. :( Very disappointed. … The credit card debt keeps climbing…

  3. Based upon the information published in our local newspaper in the past two weeks, I assumed my son would be receiving the $800 grant in January. According to details in yesterday’s edition he does not qualify as he is more than 4 years past graduation from high school. He took the victory lap after grade 12, then spent two years of university time and tuition exploring other faculties before finding his true calling. Not only will he not receive the grant though he is in third year of study, but he will also lose the textbook grant. Glad I didn’t trust the Liberals and voted against my past choice but it does not do any good to help this situation.

  4. It would be cheaper to give the grant to all university students from Ontario without exclusions on income. The cost to administer and verify parents incomes is probably than the savings from excluding people who make more than $160k per year. As it stands these hard working people don’t get the HST tax credit, the municipal tax credit. An even simpler way would be to reduce the tuition for Ontario residents, Quebec has lower tuition fees for its residents, why can’t Ontario do the same.

  5. I completely agree that the Liberals misled voters with this tuition grant. I based my vote in the election ENTIRELY BECAUSE OF THIS GRANT AND I AM INELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE IT. I am a full-time university student in my first year, and from a low-income family but I graduated high school more than four years ago so I do not qualify for this grant. As a mature student I find it even harder to afford university as I am on my own and receive no help from mommy and daddy. This tuition grant is a joke, there needs to be more help for older students. I made the decision to return to school after being laid off from three jobs in a row and finding it hard to keep steady work. Liberals will not get my vote again. Sneaky jerks.

  6. The money probably would’ve been better spent subsidizing more student summer jobs. The job market in London, ON is horrendous. I can never save money in the summer months because I’ll make minimum wage in the temporary position I get, and still have to pay bills and rent. Not all of us can go “back home” and live expenses free for four months.

    It’s disappointing that people at the higher end of the income cut-off, who can afford family vacations, enroll their kids in extracurriculars, etc… have access to this when I live off of less than $20,000 a year as an independent student, and part of that goes to my tuition and textbooks, the majority of the rest to rent, bills, and food, and a bit of spending money. Most of that is my student loan, too, which of course must be paid back.

    I’m also very disappointed that they’re taking away the Textbook & Technology Grant and replacing it with this. Although not every student who receives this grant will be from a family at the top of the income cut off of $160,000, we must remember, it really does hang out mature students. Mature, independent students do get a a tuition break in the long run, and that’s if we’re on full OSAP, but that doesn’t help with meeting bills NOW.

  7. Two things:

    -I remember clearly reading the ACTUAL Liberal Platform Document which is the only thing the Liberal Government can be held accountable for and it made it explicitly clear the categories that will/won’t be eligible. As a University Student I’ve been taught to look at the primary source for proof. Anyone who just went by the campaign pitches of random/untrained volunteers in their ridings saying “Liberals will lower tuition” should get no sympathy for not doing their homework. Try to use the lessons taught in class about legitimate information sources in real life for a change.

    -Mature students might not be eligible for the Grant but being “independent” students they are now eligible for a much larger Access Grant because Parental Income isn’t taken into account for their Financial Aid, Similarly any aid over $7300 is automatically turned into a grant as well. I find it shocking that some people don’t properly explore their financial options in depth and end up in sagging personal depth.

    • But what about those mature students who aren’t eligible for OSAP? I can’t receive OSAP for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into here. My family income is under $110,000. With this new scheme, I am losing out on my textbook and technology refund, and not receiving anything in return. So it is a lose-lose situation all around for me.

      I didn’t like the Liberal scheme from the start, and it is one of the reasons I didn’t vote for them.

  8. Pingback: Two Ontario student groups submit budget proposals to Ontario government | StudentUnion.ca

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