All qualified students, no matter what their financial situation is, can attend university thanks to the availability of scholarships, bursaries and student aid provided by the Ontario government. Universities also invest heavily in scholarships and bursaries to support students in need.
When considering net tuition, which is the actual price students pay once financial aid is factored in, many students pay much less than the sticker price. On average, Ontario undergraduate Arts and Science students paid about 69 per cent less than the average “sticker price” of Arts and Science tuition in 2014-15 when accounting for non-repayable financial assistance and bursaries.
In Ontario, 44 per cent of university students graduate without debt, and our university graduates have the third-lowest average debt from government sources among all provinces. And our graduates are paying off this debt sooner; the OSAP loan default rate was 4 per cent for university students in 2014 – lower than both colleges and private career colleges.
Government and universities have made major investments in financial aid for students. Ontario universities provided more than $887 million in 2014-15 to students for non-repayable bursaries and scholarships, compared to approximately $278 million in 2000-01.1
The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) supports students who need it the most: If you are one of the 15 per cent of students who receives the maximum amount of OSAP, your net tuition is zero. In fact, you will receive grants that exceed your tuition.
The Student Access Guarantee provides financial aid to cover students’ assessed needs for tuition, books and mandatory fees, if these are not fully met by OSAP. In 2014-15, universities provided approximately $182 million to those students whose needs were not fully met by government assistance programs.2
1 COFO-UO data, 2012-13
2 Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, 2014-2015 Student Access Guarantee Expenditures, Table 1