7 Chapter 7: Working in Postsecondary Institutions

A. Session Introduction

As you know, postsecondary education can be a very expensive undertaking. Students (and their families) work very hard to pay for postsecondary education tuition. A financial aid program, Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), is available to help students who qualify.

However, tuition costs paid by students would likely be even higher if it weren’t for government funding. In Canada, postsecondary education represents a significant public expenditure. According to the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (2016), the operating grants provided to Ontario postsecondary institutions comprise the largest element in the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ (formerly the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, MAESD) budget. But how much money is provided to Ontario’s publicly-assisted institutions? How is that money allocated? This week we will take an initial look at college and university funding. Although we will briefly look at tuition amounts paid by students, we will focus on the funding the Government of Ontario gives postsecondary institutions.


Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

B. Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • Understand the funding mechanisms from the provinces to postsecondary institutions
  • Describe recent changes to tuition fees and the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
  • Consider the impact of these tuition fee reductions on students and Ontario institutions

C. Session Resources

It is recommended that the reading be read in the order listed, hence they are not in alphabetical order.


Institution Funding

Financial Accountability Office of Ontario. (2016, September 8). The funding of postsecondary education in Ontario. Retrieved from https://www.fao-on.org/en/Blog/Publications/Post_Secondary

Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. (n.d.). College funding model consultation paper. Retrieved from http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/pepg/Audiences/colleges/cff/fundingreform.html#Paper [there was a .pdf of this report but it is no longer available, so read the content on website instead]

Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. (2016, July). College funding model consultation summary: What we heard. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/pepg/Audiences/colleges/cff/cfm_summary_july16.pdf


Student Funding

Rushowy, K., & Benzie, R. (2018, December 5). Ontario Auditor General report finds Wynne’s ‘free’ tuition scheme far more expensive than promised. The Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2018/12/05/ontario-auditor-general-report-finds-wynnes-free-tuition-scheme-far-more-expensive-than-promised.html

Government of Ontario. (2019, January 8). Learn about OSAP. Retrieved from https://www.ontario.ca/page/learn-about-osap

The Canadian Press. (2019, February 6). Ontario PCs to eliminate free tuition for low-income students. Canadian Broadcast Corporation. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/pc-government-tuition-fees-1.4981987

D. Learning Activities

  • How familiar were you with the way Ontario postsecondary institutions receive funding before completing the readings? What was your biggest insight regarding the funding arrangements (as discussed in the FAO brief or the initial College Funding Reform Consultation information?
  • The College Funding Model Reform Consultation Summary: What We Heard report provides findings of the consultations, organized into many themes under four principles. Which theme(s) or principle do you think is the most important? Why?
  •  Given the 10% decrease in domestic student tuition in Ontario, what do you think will be the greatest issue facing institutions? How, if at all, might they solve this financial issue?
  • The OSAP system is getting an overhaul.  What thoughts do you have about this?