After last week, you’d be forgiven for being a little lost on what tuition policy looks like in Ontario.
On Thursday, March 8, 2012, it was reported that Ontario would be moving to standardized tuition fees, set by the Government of Ontario. This new fee structure would require some universities to raise their fees, potentially hurting students. Other universities would have to cut their fees; in the absence of compensatory government funding, this could have meant millions in lost revenue.
The same day, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities released a statement claiming that “no changes are being contemplated that would require all universities to set standard tuition fees for arts and science programs.” The statement also indicated that the current tuition fee policy – where fees can increase by an average of five per cent per year – would be extended for another year. Both the Canadian Federation of Students and the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance expressed their disappointment with this announcement. OCUFA also weighed in:
Ontario professors have called for a tuition freeze and an overhaul of the entire tuition system, said Constance Adamson, chair of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. Adamson welcomed news Thursday that the government will not force universities to set the same tuition as each other for arts and science programs — an idea that had been floated by the government for feedback among university presidents.
Ontario needs some clarity on the tuition issue. OCUFA’s position is that tuition fees should be frozen, with compensatory funding providing to every university to account for lost tuition fee revenue. With fees frozen, the Government of Ontario should lead a consultation with students, faculty, and administrators to determine a policy that ensures quality while keeping higher education affordable and accessible.