TORONTO, March 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's colleges are disappointed the provincial government's new restrictions on tuition increases come as colleges are already struggling with disproportionate cost pressures from last year's provincial budget.
"Colleges have already been told to manage reductions that are much greater than they should be," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "This new restriction on tuition makes it even more difficult for colleges to deliver quality programs to students."
The government announced today that college tuition can only increase by a maximum of three per cent for each of the next four years. Colleges had been seeking an extension of the provincial framework that would have allowed tuition to increase by as much as five per cent.
College tuitions in Ontario are among the lowest in the country. The typical tuition fee for an Ontario college program is about $2,400 per year.
Franklin said it is important to ensure that post-secondary education is accessible.
In fact, the colleges were hoping today's announcement would include changes to the eligibility criteria for the 30% Off Ontario Tuition to allow more college students to apply for the grant. Many college applicants are people who have been in the workforce - they are ineligible to apply for the grant if they have been out of high school for more than four years.
The fiscal challenge that today's announcement creates is that colleges are already dealing with post-secondary spending reductions from 2012 that were disproportionately unfair to the sector.
In last year's provincial budget, colleges were told to assume 46.5 per cent of the budget's reductions in post-secondary education. That is despite the fact that colleges only represent 28.7 per cent of the total operating funding for post-secondary education.
Furthermore, colleges must operate with less funding than their counterparts. Per-student revenues for colleges in Ontario are lower than the per-student revenues for universities and high schools.
"Ontario's colleges run efficient operations and we have been clear that we're committed to finding new efficiencies," Franklin said. "However, we are disappointed the province continues to force colleges to assume a disproportionately unfair share of the burden."
SOURCE: Colleges Ontario
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