COU Statement: Free Tuition Will Remove Barriers to Postsecondary Education for Low-income Families

“Ontario universities can assure students and parents that low-income students wishing to attend entry-level university or college programs will indeed be entitled to free tuition under a combination of the province’s new budget measures and financial aid.

Universities provide additional financial aid to undergraduate students who are eligible for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) grants when the amount of tuition they would pay is higher than the average tuition to which grants provided by OSAP are pegged.

This additional support is known as the Student Access Guarantee.

Last year alone, Ontario universities provided more than $170 million to students under that guarantee. That’s over and above what was provided to students through OSAP grants.

The Student Access Guarantee will continue in its current or adapted form so that all low-income students enrolled in an entry-level postsecondary program can benefit when the government’s new financial aid system is in place in 2017.

The Ontario government’s new financial aid system, announced in the 2016 budget, will also bring more transparency to what students actually pay – the net tuition after financial aid has been deducted from the sticker price.

Ontario universities share the province’s goal of removing barriers to postsecondary education for students who need financial assistance to attend university. For Ontario to thrive in the knowledge-based economy, everyone should be given the opportunity to reach their potential in postsecondary education. That’s why universities wholeheartedly applaud the government’s new, modernized financial aid system.”

David Lindsay



David Lindsay
President and CEO
Council of Ontario Universities


COU is the voice of Ontario’s universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success.

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For further information, please contact:

Wendy McCann
Director, Strategic Communications and Media Relations
416-979-2165 ext. 233
647-271-0825 (Cell)
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