The provincial government announced a new tuition framework last Thursday that allows Ontario universities to increase tuition fees by an average of 3 per cent starting this year.
Though the number is down from the previous framework’s 5 per cent allowance, groups including OUSA, CFS-Ontario and the MSU aren’t satisfied with any increases above inflation.
“It is disappointing that the provincial government has not tied tuition to a more fundamentally fair rate of inflation,” said Huzaifa Saeed, VP (education) of the MSU in a release.
“However, I respect the fact that the old framework was not continued, despite pressure from academic institutions to do just that.”
The new tuition framework will be in place for four years, and the 3 per cent limit on tuition increases applies to most full-time arts and science and college programs. The increase is above Ontario’s average rate of inflation, which is 2 per cent over 10 years.
Tuition for professional and graduate university programs and high-demand college programs are allowed to increase by up to 5 per cent, down from 8 per cent.
According to Saeed, the MSU will now divert its efforts to lobbying for more government investment in the financial aid system. Specifically, the MSU will advocate for eligibility expansion for the 30 off tuition grant and a lower debt cap on the Ontario Student Opportunity Grant.
In a statement responding to the Province’s announcement, OUSA says the new framework “makes progress” toward a more affordable system but has not adopted key recommendations made by students.
OUSA recommended last fall that the government freeze tuition for at least a year and increase per-student funding at the rate of inflation.
CFS-Ontario recommended this past February that tuition fees be reduced by 30 per cent over the next three years.