March 16th, 2016

Liberal government then and now on "free" tuition

The promise of 'Free Tuition' sounds like welcome news to students and their parents across the province. New Democrats will support measures to make post-secondary education more accessible. However, since budget day serious questions keep coming up about the Liberal plan: What does “free” mean? What is the real cost of tuition in Ontario? What about the cost gap between professional programs and average tuition?

Will the Liberal government's story change again?

Will tuition be “Free”?

Budget Day: “Free Tuition”

Then: “Free Tuition for Thousands” Kathleen Wynne, Twitter

Now: “[I]t's free with some explanation required.” Kathleen Wynne, March 15, 2016

Fact Check: Whether it’s thousands in required parental contributions, mandatory fees outside of tuition, or professional program costs, the promise of “Free Tuition” seems to have more caveats by the day.

What happens if tuition increases?

Budget Day: No mention of indexing to increasing tuition

Now: “If the tuition fees go up, the grant goes up as well, so the grant is indexed to tuition fee increases,” Minister Moridi, Scrums March 1, 2016

Fact Check: The budget doesn’t make any promises about indexing, and Ontarians have yet to get this promise in writing. 

What happens when the tuition cap expires?

Budget Day: The 3% cap on tuition increases will end at the exact same time the new program comes into effect


Reporter  – “So you’re bringing in a new cap?”

Minister Moridi – “Maybe. We are working on that.”

Scrums, March 1, 2016

Fact Check: The government has not promised to cap tuition, leading to serious questions about what will happen to “Free Tuition” if tuition is not capped.

What about students in professional programs (e.g. engineering, medicine)?

Budget Day: Silent on tuition for professional programs.

Then: Students, such as engineering students, will “have to pay a bit more” Minister Moridi, February 26, 2016

Now: “That might need to be an area we have to look at” Kathleen Wynne, March 15, 2016

Fact Check: Students in professional programs have no idea what will happen to them.