Post-secondary education will suffer under the Ford Government’s cuts
On January 17, 2019, the Ontario Minister of Training Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton, announced a 10 per cent reduction in tuition fees for domestic students at colleges and universities for 2019-20 and a tuition freeze for 2020-21.
ver, this announcement of a 10 per cent reduction is fiction. It is a public relations spin by the Progressive Conservative government to hide the drastic cuts they are making to post-secondary education. Instead of increasing financial assistance to colleges and universities so that they may lower tuitions, the government dumped a massive budget shortfall on individual institutions to deal with. The loss of revenue amounts to almost $360 million for universities and $80 million from colleges.
Since colleges and universities have to comply with the government’s direction (or risk losing funding), this will likely lead to cuts in the form of cancelled courses, reduced faculty, increases in class size and less programs and support systems for students. And for students, the cuts to student financial assistance, including grants being converted into loans and the elimination of the six-month interest free grace period after graduation, will make post-secondary education less accessible, lower quality and result in greater student debt.
For international students the situation is even worse. Their tuition, is already extremely expensive and there are no limits to the raising of their tuition rates, which will most likely skyrocket even further.
In addition, the Ford government is also directly attacking student unions, who provide representation and services to students. In the pretext of students “choice”, the government has stated student union dues are now opt-in. This will make it much more difficult for student unions who provide services such as food banks, health benefits, and advocacy, among others, to deliver these services without everyone contributing.
REVP Greg McGillis for the NCR says, “With this act, Doug Ford has demonstrated the pettiness, vindictiveness, anti-intellectualism and autocratic motives at the root of his government. Surely, giving students a strong voice to speak on their behalf to improve education can’t be a bad thing. These decisions reveal the ugliness at the heart of the Ford revolution, and its fundamental opposition to learning, thought and modern democracy.”