The following is a list of what Ontario Liberals have done for me and other students since 2003:
They created a permanent 30% off tuition grant for students in a university or college degree program saving $1,600 per student annually and $730 annually for students in college diploma and certificate programs. The grant is calculated off the average Ontario tuition and will keep pace with any increased future costs, meaning it will always be 30% off the price of tuition. In 2012, 300,000 students are eligible and those already on OSAP will receive the grant automatically without ever having to apply.
They have tripled the number of grants available to students compared to before taking office with 1 in 4 students enrolled in post-secondary now receiving financial support they will never have to pay back. In 2003, 44 cents of every dollar spent on post-secondary education went to grants. Under Ontario Liberals, this amount has increased to 61 cents for every dollar. Thanks to Ontario Liberals, nearly 2/3rds of post-secondary funding from the province goes directly to financial support for students who need it most without ever asking them to pay it back.
They created the Ontario Student Opportunities fund, ensuring the amount of student loans students repay is capped at $7300 annually. Any loan above this amount is covered by the government, not students.
They increased the amount of financial support students coming from low and middle-income families can receive, increasing it from $9,400 in 2003 to up to $12,900 today.
They created a new 6-month interest-free grace period for OSAP loans, and extended it to 12 months for grads starting their careers by doing important work at non-profits.
They created the Repayment Assistance Plan to help recent graduates looking for work reduce the cost of student loan payments, sometimes cut to zero if necessary. And they made sure no graduate will ever have to pay more than 20% of their income towards loan payments.
They even ensured that student loans are forgiven after 15 years no matter what, so no Ontario student will ever again weigh a quality education versus a lifetime of debt.
They have supported students so strongly that the Ontario Student Loan default rate has dropped from 23.5% in 1997 to 8% by 2009, the lowest in the province’s history.
They have been consistent in their dedication to students and quality education. They have supported those students who most need it more than any other government in Ontario’s history. They have made education more affordable now and in the long-term, replacing debt with grants, and obstacles with opportunity.
The Ontario Liberal Party’s commitment to affordability, accessibility, quality and mobility in post-secondary education is simply unmatched. I feel truly privileged to have received a quality and affordable Ontario education.