Ontario tuition credit coming (for some) in January

CFS and opposition want credit extended to all families


*To see a more up-to-date version of this evolving story, click here.

Despite Ontario’s woeful fiscal situation, the Liberal government says it will make good on its promise to offer 310,000 students tuition rebates—$730 per college student and $1,600 per university student. At $6,500, Ontario has the highest average university tuition in the country.

Those receiving Ontario Student Assistance Program funding will automatically get the rebates in January, which will be credited online in time for second semester payments, according to CTV News. Other students will need to apply through a website that will be available in January.

Five out of six families with students will be eligible for the rebate—but families who make more than $160,000 will be left out. The Canadian Federation of Students presented a 40,000-signature petition to the legislature asking for the $423-million annual cost of the rebate program pay for a 13 per cent reduction in tuition fees for all students instead. The opposition New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives agree that all students—not just some—should get a break on tuition.

*Editor’s Note: In a comment below, Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, addresses who is eligible for these particular grants. The 30 per tuition reduction applies to students who are within four years of high school graduation, registered in a first-entry undergraduate university or college programs, and from families with incomes lower than $160,000. He notes that there are other provincial programs available for other students.


Ontario tuition credit coming (for some) in January

  1. So much about this is bothering me: 1) that all students who have been out of high school for more than four years are ineligible (e.g., every single mature and grad student in the province); 2) that students who are piling up student debt via OSAP are automatically eligible while students who have instead chosen to work a job while completing their education have the extra burden of having to “apply” for the rebate; 3) that college students are going to receive less $$ than university students (or at the very least, why is the rationale behind this discrepancy not being discussed?; 4) if you’re not an Ontario “resident” but are attending university in the province and paying your tuition in the province, are you eligible? who knows!?!?; and 5) the complete and total lack of transparency in the entire process! Who do students contact to ask questions?

    • 1) Students who have been out of high school for more than 4 years are eligible. Only tuition for students in the a bachelor program are eligible – that is where the 4 year thing comes from.

      3) College students receive less because college tuition is half that of university tuition.

    • To comment on all of your points:

      1. Most mature students have had the opportunity to work/save for a considerable time before going to school (whether that actually happens is questionable). also most Grad students get paid while studying ( ie TA’ing )

      2. Just because you have osap doesn’t mean you don’t work. osap is more about the resources available to you ( ie parents income, school saving accounts that have been set up for you, etc). Also, the people who get osap have to fill out a long application form to get this grant, therefore there is no “extra burden” on you because the osap people had to go through the application process as well. It’s probably the easiest 1600 dollars you’ll ever make.

      3. College students pay less so you get less. The grant is based on a percentage of the tuition you pay. That way everyone’s financial burden is reduced by the same percentage. Seems pretty fair to me.

      4. Only Ontario residents are eligible, because Ontario taxes are paying for it. This fact was clearly stated on multiple websites.

      5. It’s pretty transparent, you can see who gets the grant, how much it’s going to cost the government, etc. Also, it’s a government program, so if you want more information contact your MPP.

      Here is a good website, http://www.ousa.ca/tuitiongrant/

  2. Single moms are not eligible – because they are not “dependents”. These women are some of the most in need!

    • Single moms are eligible. where do you see only dependents are eligible. The article is making a generalization that most students are just out of high school, it doesn’t mean only those just out of high school are eligible.

  3. I would just like to point out that OSAP students WORK during the summers, etc. It’s a condition that you make a certain amount of money. So before you start accusing students who receive OSAP of not working and abusing the system by getting extra help, you should know the facts. In fact, I work 2 jobs in the summer and continue to work another job every single weekend during the year. I still receive OSAP. And I will have to pay OSAP back. WITH INTEREST.

    So, I’m very grateful for the extra help. Students receive OSAP because they are deemed as needing extra help…

    • It’s not a condition that you make a certain amount of money, I didn’t work at all my first 2 years on OSAP, that’s not true. That’s not to say that most people who are on OSAP do not also work. Kudos do your work ethic, but its not a requirement to have employment in order to recieve OSAP.

  4. It bothers me greatly that (according to Lindsay’s post – I haven’t actually read this myself) mature students will not be eligible to access this credit. I am in college full time after 30 years of being a homemaker, am a single mother and am in school full time while working part time to pay my household bills.
    I have felt discriminated against for being a mature student since going back to school in the Fall of 2010 and have had absolutely no support from either the college I attend or the Ontario government. This just tops it all off!

    • Lindsay is wrong

      • I am not sure that she is wrong – from what I have been reading in the last few hours you have to be a dependent to be eligible.

      • Kathy – All of the info out currently is just a repost of the same article. The way I am reading it the author is making a generalization that all students are just out of high school and therefore a dependant, not that only dependants are eligible.

  5. CanGal – Actually, I’m not wrong. If you’re not a dependent, you’re not eligible. And anyone who is 4 years out of high school (e.g., 22 years of age or older) is no longer a legal dependent of their parents. Even OSAP asks the question about your year of high school graduation, and STOPS asking for your parents’ income totals once you’re not longer a dependent. So although you might think I’m wrong, I’m not. What makes this argument difficult, is that the provincial government isn’t being transparent about the limitations of their plan. Once their “website” becomes available sometime in January, they’re going to have to spell it out more clearly and a lot of people who are struggling are going to find out that they’re not eligible. This is the reason why the CFS wants a tuition reduction or credit for ALL students in the province, not just some.

    Katie – Where in my post did I say that students on OSAP are lazy or somehow taking advantage of the system? I’m simply pointing out that students who aren’t on OSAP might be just as hard up for finances! There really was no need for your reactionary comment. I’ve had both student loans, and student jobs in different combinations depending on my financial situation each year. Either way, I paid the same amount of tuition and struggled to make ends meet every single time September came around. All students should be automatically considered for this rebate. That was my point.

  6. Just because I like to practice what I preach… in the interest of transparency, here is the official list from the Canadian Federation of Students’ website of what makes a student ineligible for this rebate (unedited, copied and pasted – source listed below):

    “The following is a list of students who will NOT be eligible for the grant:
    • Students in professional programs: pharmacy, medicine, law and dentistry. Only those students who can afford to pay will have access to these professions.
    • Students who fall from clear standing will lose the grant.
    • International students, who pay much higher fees than domestic students.
    • Students who are studying out-of-province.
    • Part-time students and students who move from full-time to part-time status will lose the grant.
    • Students whose parents make over $160,000 annually, even if their parents do not subsidize their education.
    • Students who are independent from their parents as defined by OSAP, including students over the age of 21 and students who have been out of high school for at least four years before the start of their study period.
    • Graduate students, even though they have less access to provincial student financial assistance and pay higher fees.”

    Source: http://www.cfsontario.ca/

    • Lindsay you have decided to take one side on all your arguments by focusing only on the negative aspects of the grant. This makes your arguments biased. In your previous comment you quoted a list of ineligible students, based on the above list you can put all of the above students into 4 simple categories which are international students, mature students, grad students, and part timers. Now I will explain why neither of these students should be eligible.

      1. International Students: Because they are not residents of Ontario, therefore their parents did not pay taxes in Ontario or Canada to support the system over the years.
      2. Mature Students: These are independent students or 4 years out of high school. As a mature student they have access to different funding and grants that normal undergraduate students don’t qualify for. Plus they had more opportunity to earn and save money in the 4 years or more they were out of high school.
      3. Grad students: Simply because they are not undergrad students and this funding is for undergrad students. This also includes professional program students.
      4. Part timers: Since they are part time students they most likely have a f/t job they can pay with.

      Osap receiving students automatically qualify for this grant because they already have their financial, educational, and other necessary info present so they don’t need to send the same info twice. But students who don’t receive osap funding their information is not present to process the grant… and please dont make the pathetic argument of “the burden” in filling out the application because the time you wasted in righting all these comments here you could have easily filled out a form. If you still haven’t done so I would suggest you better fill out the form before posting another comment here.

      Also I absolutely support Katie’s comment regarding your first post. Her accusatory tone was necessary because in your comment you make us Osap recipients sound like lazy bums, who are looking to find an easy way out by just “piling up debt”. When in reality most osap recipients are honest and hard working students just like any other student, who simply need this assistance due to their financial situation.

    • Wondering if the 160,000 is gross or net income? We also have tuition for two children, one in college living on their own with no eligibility for OSAP, which sucks because he now has a huge line of credit, and now they are trying to deny him 730.00 rebate which will pay for food or rent for a bit.
      Our daughter is in University and my son in College, and neither one is a Rocket Scientist so can’t work part time while attending school so they would very much welcome a break.
      Also as parents, they are pretty much assuming/obligating us to pay for our Children’s tuition, which is wrong. It should be based on the income of the student annually and what debt they have accrued to attend a post secondary school.
      My son for example, I did pay for his first diploma but the lack of jobs for him pretty much forced him back to school for another diploma living away from home to do it, and they expect parents to also pay for that whilst the other is now in University? WTH?
      The last point I wish to make is why do Young, Healthy people qualify for welfare and not work or go to school, but someone that is trying to better themselves is penalized???? What kind of BS is this?
      I was born and raised in this country..as were my children…they should be able to benefit or have a break just like the immigrants and low income families.
      We should not be OBLIGATED to keep paying for our children forever!!!!!!

  7. This comment was deleted.

    • http://votemercier.ca/News/661?l=EN
      this is the Liberal person in my area and this is the information he had on his site about it.
      Seems as a pharmacy student over 30 and having never been dependant on my parents I’ve been disqualified twice

      • I agree. Second Career turned me down in a heartbeat, OSAP screwed me my first year because they thought that if I had been given severance by my previous job, I’d use it for tuition as opposed to living expenses (not working for 6 months generally eats up your severance), and now this. I hadn’t read the fine print, so I thought that since I was on OSAP, I’d be able to get a little bit of breathing room in my final year of school. I guess I won’t be getting that tuition rebate after all.

  8. To counter your list of ineligible students, here’s a list of eligible students:

    “Approximately 320,000 Ontario university and college students will be eligible for the new grant. Under the current proposal, students are eligible if they meet the following criteria:

    A Canadian Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Protected Person;
    An Ontario resident (student or parent resided in Ontario for 12 consecutive months prior to beginning study);
    A full-time student (minimum 60 per cent of a full course load as defined by the institution);
    Been out of high school for four years or less;
    In satisfactory academic standing (can gain grant back if student returns to satisfactory standing);
    Studying toward a college or undergraduate credential, including any first-entry professional program such as engineering, commerce or architecture, but excluding second-entry professional programs (medicine, law, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine);
    From a family with a combined parental income before taxes of less than $160,000.”

    Source: http://www.ousa.ca/tuitiongrant/

  9. Joe, just to be clear: this isn’t “my” list of ineligibility as you suggest, nor is it my argument! It’s the list provided by the Ontario government to the Canadian Federation of Students, and they are making the argument. I just happen to be concerned about who isn’t being included as a result. And no, I didn’t intend to imply that students on OSAP are somehow lazy or making poor choices (I’ve been there too!). I can see how one might not approve of my colloquial choice of words (“piling up”) but the reality is that they ARE piling up debt. I appreciate the list of eligibility, and the positive effects this will bring to those students who DO qualify, I’m just very concerned about how those who aren’t eligible are going to be affected when they are paying the same tuition, in the same province, to the same insitutions… the list goes on. It’s unfortunate that we tend to rely on “majority” arguments where equity is concerned. Imagine if we apply the same philosophy to racism, or homophobia, or social services, or health care! (if you’re over 21, you don’t qualify for help regardless of how badly you might need it!). But somehow, because it’s an education inequity, the “majority” who do benefit are willing to turn a blind eye at the expense of others.

  10. I was just wondering how they are distributing the grant? Are they applying it to the OSAP they deposit or are they simply sending to college to pay off the portion of tuition, OR are they sending the amounts via cheque?

    Thanks :)

  11. Contact the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities if you have questions about the details of this or any other Ontario student aid program. The 30% tution reduction applies to students who are within 4 years of high school graduation registered in a first entry undergraduate university or college program whose family income is $160,000 or less. There are other programs for other students. These include “Ontario Assistance Grant” which pays 50% of the cost of college and university students from very modest income families, “Second Career” which is set up for people who have lost employment and are trying to reenter the job market, there are also grants for students in apprenticed trades, OSAP (where student debt is now capped at $7,300 annually) and there is also other financial aid for specific programs. After 5 years students student aid is no longer calculated on family income but against an individual students own earnings. The new tuition grant is the prompt fulfilment of our election commitment and one of the largest increasess to student aid in generations. It is not the end of the discussion. Our government has added 200,000 new places for post secondary students and will add another 60,000 seats over the next 4 years. That means 260,000 more qualified people get a “yes” rather than a “no” when they apply for college or university. The government’s priorities are quality (more funding and higher standards for institutions), accessibilty (more funding to expand the number of student places) and affordability (more funding for student aid, expansion of assistance programs and capping the loan portion of student aid (OSAP) to reduce student indebtedness). Remember our government inherited a education system in chaos after 13 years of PC and NDP governments who oversaw massive increases in tuition and cuts to post secondary funding at a time when the global economy was booming. Over the last eight years we have continued to improve accessibility, quality and affordability against the backround of the most challenging global economy in a lifetime. The issue of tuition rates has not yet been finalized and our government will be focussing on tuition rates that balance affordabity, accessibility and quality.
    Tuition rates are set by universities and colleges. The government negotiates a “tuition framework” through Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities. We are just starting that process now. The government of Ontario has been focussing on funding tuition reductions through direct assistance to students so they recieve real assistance that does not come at the price of reduced revenues for post secondary institutions and the consequential reduction in quality that would result. I take the comments and suggestions I receive very seriously. As the McGuinty government continues to look for ways to improve post secondary education I will be mindful of the ideas expressed in this and other forms. Thanks for your ideas! Glen Murray Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

  12. Does my son qualified for this rebate if he is from Nova Scotia going to Queen university for his under graduate degree this year 2012.

    • If he’s not an Ontario Resident, and hasn’t lived in Ontario for more than a year straight EXCLUDING the amount of time he’s spent in a school, Then no.

  13. So, if a billionnaire pays himself $1 per year in salary, then his/her kid is eligible for a $1600 tuition grant.

    But, if 2 parents haul themselves into work every morning and make $80k each, they are considered “wealthy” and their kid gets nothing.

    I don’t get it.

    • They would be wealthy. The average salary in Canada is almost half 80K.

  14. Seems completely irrelevant that only those considered dependants should receive this money. Are we older students not considered dependent on our own money (which is usually far less than the 160,000 for these families)?. Why should we be expected to have the same responsibilities, expensive, etc., as parents paying for their children of their own accord, yet not considered equally for this credit? I have also contacted my Liberal MPP in my area.

  15. will the credit be based on full time status per sememster. I’m doing a part time semester in Jan.?

  16. I think when determining if one is a “dependent” or not you should refer to last years income tax filing. Your parents either claimed you as a dependent or they didn’t. It’s a roughly $8000 tax credit so it’s kinda important to know this. :) It’s really not that complicated at all.

  17. There is a perfectly logical reason why certain people are ineligible for tuition rebate, I do not believe the government would just randomly say that part-time, graduate, and mature students are not going to receive the rebate. There was probably background research done to see if part-time, graduate and mature students should or should not receive tuition rebate.

    Many people are just angry because they are ineligible and that does, for a lack of better term, suck. I do comprehend that there are a selected few that should qualify for the tuition rebate but are not, however the provincial government cannot cater to every one in the Ontario. Also there are other things that the government has to help people who really need it such as welfare, child benefit tax, Ontario energy and property tax credit etc. They are trying their best to help people.

    • They most certainly are NOT trying their best to help people. I’m a mature student. I don’t receive OSAP. I don’t qualify for any of their other programs. I pay my own way 100%. My husband and I do not have children, so I do not get any child care benefits. Yet I don’t qualify for this tuition rebate either, simply because I chose to go to university later in life. It’s ridiculous. All Ontario students attending university full-time should receive the rebate if their family income is under $160,000, which mine most certainly IS.

  18. The four year rule is discriminatory as it automatically disqualifies all senior students in co-op or internship programs.
    This will include students who participate in co-op at SFU, UW or the co-op or PEY programs at UT.

    These students aren’t in any less financial need than those on OSAP, and many still have to work for our tuition and housing. Yet, why won’t these students be eligible for the tuition rebate?

  19. has the website been given as yet? and if not can someone post it as soon as it becomes available

  20. I was just wondering when the website would be available for the application, and where I can get to it. I’m not sure if i qualify, but applying can’t hurt right?

  21. Alyssa & H.M.,

    The application is made through the OSAP website, and it’s very clear (finally!) about who is excluded from receiving the grant:

  22. Pls am an international student and i dn’t know much on this,but why is ontario universities too expensive than others cause i wana apply to rayerson?

  23. Personally, I think it’s very unfair that only OSAP students are eligible for this deduction. What about all the students out there with parents that make over 160,000 but aren’t receiving aid? The amount of people I know out there cheating the OSAP system is unbelievable also. Everyone should be eligible for this rebate or tuition should be cut across the board.

  24. In addition, no one seems to realize that everyone loses the text and technology grant as it is being scrapped to pay for the new program. EVERYONE. They basically pulled to wool over eyes, its not new money, its old money re purposed to help FEWER students.

    All of those mature students who dont qualify? they lose the textbook grant too, like salt in a wound. They are basically stealing money from everyone to placate a few

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