Ontario universities seek discussion on tuition framework

TORONTO, March 4, 2013 /CNW/ - The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) looks forward to discussing the tuition framework for 2013-2014 and beyond with the new Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

A published media report suggests the province is in the process of making decisions on tuition, and that the Minister is seeking to strike a balance that will be supported by students and universities.

Getting tuition policy right is essential for the successful transformation of the postsecondary education sector. "A new multi-year tuition framework should balance affordability for students and families with the revenue needs of the universities," says Alastair Summerlee, Chair of COU and President of the University of Guelph.

"Financial aid from government and universities is the reason tuition is affordable for our students," says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO. "Students who receive financial assistance pay 'net tuition' that is significantly less than the actual cost of their education. On average, students eligible for OSAP pay about half the sticker price of tuition."

University graduates have better employment rates and significantly higher lifetime earnings, in comparison to others in the workforce. Students gain a significant rate of return on their investments in tuition. Indeed, a university education is one of the best investments an individual can make.

Public investments in universities have predominately supported growth in student numbers, an increase of more than 97,000 since 2003-2004. However, Ontario universities receive the lowest per-student operating grant in Canada.

As a result of funding reductions announced in the 2012 Ontario Budget, universities must find further efficiencies in their operating budgets of over $40 million in 2013-2014 and nearly $80 million the following year. These cuts, in addition to those that have already been made by universities over the past several years, present a significant challenge to protecting quality. To ensure student success and protect the quality of programs and services, universities need stable, predictable and adequate revenue.

Ontario universities call on the province to extend the existing tuition framework, at least until the province's budget is balanced and its fiscal capacity allows greater public investment in universities.

Quick Facts:

  • On average, students in first-entry programs pay half the sticker price of tuition.
  • The Ontario Tuition Grant provides a tuition rebate of $1,680 for students whose families earn less than $160,000 - about 30 per cent of average tuition.
  • Ontario universities provided $779 million in 2011-12 to students for bursaries and scholarships, compared to approximately $278 million in 2000-01.
  • Almost half of students in Canada graduate without debt.
  • OSAP loan default rates for university graduates are at an all-time low of 3.7 per cent.
  • The most recent information available shows that 87.5 per cent of university students found jobs within six months of graduation; 93.1 per cent within two years.
  • University graduates earned an average of $42,403 six months after graduation.

Visit the Council of Ontario Universities website at www.cou.on.ca
Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CouncilofOntarioUniversities
Follow us on Twitter at @OntUniv

SOURCE: Council of Ontario Universities

For further information:

Wendy McCann
Director, Strategic Communications & Media Relations
T: 416-979-2165 ext. 233
C: 647-271-0825


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