TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ministry of Training, Colleges and
Universities has announced a new set of guidelines for tuition billing
processes and payment deadlines that are to come into effect by the
2015-2016 academic year. Policy changes include automatic per-term
billing for students who receive financial aid through the Ontario
Student Assistance Program (OSAP) and an opt-in option for per-term
billing for non-OSAP students, the elimination of deferral fees for
OSAP students, and an extension of the moratorium on universities
moving towards flat-fee tuition billing until the conclusion of the
current tuition framework.
"OUSA has been a long-time advocate for per-term tuition billing," said
Amir Eftekarpour, Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
President and Vice President External of the University Students'
Council of Western University. "The government has recognized that
allowing students the ability to pay their tuition in per-term
installments, rather than all upfront, allows for greater flexibility
for high need students to work-in study to finance their education."
Under the new university tuition fee framework and ancillary fee
guidelines, students receiving financial assistance from OSAP will not
be required to pay the full cost of their term's tuition until the OSAP
disbursement date. Students who do not receive OSAP will not be
required to pay the full cost of their tuition until one month before
the commencement of their academic term.
The Ministry has also announced that the moratorium on universities
moving towards flat-fee tuition billing structures will remain in place
until at least the conclusion of the current tuition framework. By
2016-2017, any university that charges students flat fee tuition will
be required to raise their threshold to 80% of a full course load.
"OUSA firmly believes that flat-fees are an inherently unfair tuition
billing practice as they charge students for education they do not
receive," continued Eftekarpour. "Students are highly appreciative of
the progress being made towards a fairer tuition-billing system but
express disappointment in its lengthy implementation period. For many
students, the effects of this change will not be felt until the
2016-2017 academic year. OUSA remains committed to working with the
government towards per-credit tuition for all students in Ontario."
Although concerned with the long timelines for the implementation of
higher flat-fee thresholds, students are pleased to see that the
Ministry has recognized OUSA's longstanding concern that students with
disabilities are particularly disenfranchised by flat-fee tuition
billing. Under these new policies, students with disabilities will be
exempt from flat-fees.
Students are supportive of the Ministry's decision to eliminate
graduation fees, but are disappointed in the lack of clarity and
transparency regarding regulations around unfair online testing fees.
"Through tuition, undergraduates are paying to be evaluated by their
professors," said Stephen Franchetto, OUSA Vice President Finance and
Vice President University Affairs of the Wilfrid Laurier University
Students' Union. "Increasingly, students are being asked to pay for
access codes for online evaluation materials outside of the cost of
their tuition. The lack of clarity in policy changes around these
materials means that student unions will continue to be unfairly tasked
with bringing concerning evaluation fees to the attention of the
Ministry and have them dealt with inefficiently on a case-by-case
About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and
undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at eight member
associations across Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
For further information:
For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Brandon Sloan, Director of Communications.
T: (416) 605-1345