The Ontario government of Canada, presented its 2016 budget that includes relief for low-income students in the form of free post-secondary tuition. The move by the government underlined its intention to offer post-secondary education to more students from low-income families.
On Thursday’s budget, the government announced grants to students belonging to families with income levels lower than US$50,000 (AU$51,000) a year. It said that the grants would be large enough to cover the entire tuition expenses. However, university students who pay higher tuition, may not be able to balance out the entire amount.
“I think this is a game changer for students – it really changes the economics of going to post-secondary education,” said David Agnew, the president of Seneca College and chair of Colleges Ontario, as quoted by Globe and Mail.
Agnew noted that, due to a difference in the tuition costs, students from low-income families will benefit the most.
From university administration and faculty associations to student groups, every group in the post-secondary education welcomed the changes.
“This is something that students were directly calling for,” said Rajean Hoilett, the chair of the Canadian Federation of Students’ Ontario executive committee. “It shows that government has been listening to students who are sounding the alarm on affordability and access to education.”
The New Ontario Student Grant includes multiple loans and student grants into one. According to Ontario’s Finance Minister Charles Sousa, the amount of the grant remains roughly at the same level with the current aid.
The government has also increased health care funding, which includes palliative care, cancer care services and “redesign and consolidates” services for children and youth with autism.
“Our economy only hums, only improves, when everybody’s contributing,” the CBC News quoted the finance minister as telling reporters on Thursday. “And we’re not going to leave anybody behind.”