Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Changes to Tuition Rules Will Bring Relief to Ontario Students

Tuition Changes | Study Magazine

Per-term instalment payments, a ban on graduation fees and caps on tuition deposits could all add up to savings for Ontario post-secondary students.

Ontario post-secondary students who are registered for the 2014-15 academic year will enjoy recently-announced changes to tuition rules. The changes will bring relief to many students, who will have a much easier time paying their tuition.

“This new tuition billing policy increases fairness and affordability for students and their families,” said MPP Brad Duguid, minister of training, colleges and universities. “Our government is ensuring consistency in how tuition is billed across the post-secondary system, saving students money and creating a simpler, more transparent fee system.”

Under the new rules:

  • Tuition fees for the fall term won’t be due before the beginning of August and students will not have to pay their tuition until they actually receive their financial aid. This will eliminate late fees, deferral charges and late interest payments that some schools charge for students whose loans did not come through in time.
  • Students will  be able to pay tuition in per-term installments rather than a full year’s tuition up front. Students who pay per semester will not have to pay deferral fees or interest charges.
  • Colleges and universities can still charge a deposit on tuition but that amount must be capped at $500 or 10 per cent of the total tuition, whichever is greater. The deposit is put towards the student’s tuition rather than be an additional charge above the cost of tuition.
  • Student will no longer be charged $100 “graduation fees” to cover processing paperwork.

Brandon Sloan, communications director for The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, notes that the ban on graduation fees is welcomed and long overdue. “We believe if a student is paying up to $7,300 a year for four years, they shouldn’t have to pay even more to graduate,” says Sloan. “It was very unfair.”

Alastair Woods, the Ontario Chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, concedes that “the government has taken some small steps forward,” but more changes are still needed.

Additional changes will take effect in the fall of 2015. Universities, such as the University of Toronto, that charge flat fees for full-time students, can now charge only on a per-credit basis if students take a 70 per cent course load. This change could potentially save full-time students close to $2,000 in fees.

Students with disabilities will be charged on a per-credit basis regardless of the number of courses they’re taking.

Linda Galeazzi
Author: Linda Galeazzi
Linda Galeazzi has been an online writer and proof reader for several years.
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