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Education has become a basic human right in Canada and the rest of the world (Watts 18). Secondary level education is not enough for a student to be well established in their life. Post-secondary education is very expensive and therefore many parents and guardians find it difficult to pay for their children’s college and university education (Watts 18).
The situation is worse for the less fortunate in the society with many of them being forced to drop out of college due to lack of tuition fees (Watts 18). This paper will highlight the efforts being made by the Canadian government in funding tuition for post-secondary education in Ontario.
Level of Government Intervention
The government of Ontario through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) has been instrumental in funding college and university education in Ontario (Watts 117). The Ministry of Training in coordination with colleges and universities is responsible for fair administration of the OSAP program (Watts 117).
The OSAP program is supposed to help needy students who are unable to pay for their post-secondary education (Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives 15). The government representatives vet all the applicants to ensure that only eligible students in Ontario receive this kind of assistance (Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives 19).
The OSAP program is meant to supplement the payment of post-secondary education and not to necessarily pay for everything (Watts 117). There is some amount of money that a student is supposed to contribute towards their post-secondary education. The Central government facilitates the funding program through federal and provincial governments to ensure equal distribution of the post-secondary fund (Watts 117).
Delivery Agents of Tuition Funding
Apart from the Ontario Students Assistance Program, the government also channels funds through the Canada Students Loans Program (Mackenzie 48). The loans program is normally administered by the Federal government in coordination with the Department of Human Resources and Social Development (Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives 33).
The loans program provides loans to students in Ontario where assistance is needed. The loans program assists students in universities, colleges and vocational schools. The student loans granted by the Government are normally interest free for a maximum of seven years (Mackenzie 49).
A small percentage of interest is charged on the loan after seven years in order to encourage students to pay up their loans after graduating from college (Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives 33). The loans kitty is funded by the government with the loans body also relying on proceeds from loan repayment (Mackenzie 49).
Interested candidates are required to fill out the reimbursement form. The Ontario First Generation Bursary is another agency used by the government to support needy students in Ontario (Mackenzie 75). The funds for this scheme are provided by the government, and the program only supports students in public post-secondary institutions.
Students studying applied arts and technology are given priority when funds from this bursary scheme are being distributed. To ensure that this arrangement is adhered to, only public colleges and universities that specialize in applied arts and technology are considered (Watt 115).
The First Generation Bursary scheme supports needy students who are the first ones to pursue post-secondary education from their families (Mackenzie 76).
The other form of funding post-secondary education is through the Ontario Crown Ward Post Secondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program (Beach 222). This program was set up to help former and current Ontario Crown Wards pay for their post-secondary application fees (Mackenzie 78).
The program caters for application fees for full-time studies for eligible candidates. The Ontario Crown Ward Post-secondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program supports post-secondary degree, diploma and certificate programs (Mackenzie 79).
The OSAP financial aid consists of a range of programs that include non-repayable grants and student loans that are refundable (Beach 59). The 30 % Off Ontario Tuition scheme helps high school graduates pay for their college and university programs within a period of four years after graduating from high school (Beach 64).
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The OSAP Express initiative was developed by the government to streamline the application process of post-secondary education funding (Beach 64). The OSAP Express eligible candidates apply and receive education grants in the shortest time possible (Beach 64).
Gathering of Funds
The Government of Canada in coordination with the Federal government of Ontario rely mostly on tax proceeds to fund education programs (Beach 79). Apart from proceeds gathered from tax collection, the private sector and other well-wishers make a significant contribution to the national education kitty (Beach 68).
Apart from government loans, private banking institutions offer post-secondary education loans for those who are willing to borrow. Students who fail to meet the criteria of getting government loans have an option of applying for loans from private financing institutions (Beach 79).
Funding post-secondary education is a great challenge for any government especially if there are no programs to support needy students (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives 76). The Federal government of Ontario in coordination with the Central government of Canada has come up with funding programs that have helped many needy students access college education (Beach 89).
The government still needs to do a lot to ensure that all students who deserve to attain college education are able to access government funds and loans (Beach 89). Due to the ever increasing number of high school graduates, the private sector should come in handy to support the government in assisting high school graduates pay for their college education.
Beach, Charles. A challenge of Higher Education in Ontario. Ontario: John Deusstch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy, Queen’s University, 2005. Print.
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Ontario’s Alternative Budget 2005: Addressing the real Physical Imbalance. Ontario: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2005. Print.
Mackenzie, Hugh. Funding Post-Secondary Education in Ontario: Beyond the Path of Least Resistance. Ontario: The Ontario Coalition for Post-Secondary Education, 2004.
Watts, Ronald. Post –Secondary Education: Preparation for the World of Work: Proceeding of… Ontario: IRPP, 1990. Print.