When MPP’s returned to Queen’s Park last Tuesday they were greeted by angry student activists upset over student grant and loan changes, allowing some student fees to become voluntary and even a tuition cut.

One group of students even interrupted Question Period with screams of “Doug Ford can kiss my ass” and “You’re a f—ing cracker” aimed at the premier.


Nothing like racial slurs and swearing to get your point across!

I never thought I would see students campaign against a tuition cut.

Thinking back to my student days, I and most of my fellow students would have welcomed a tuition cut.

I think that is where most students today are, they welcome their lives becoming more affordable even if the activists, and the NDP aren’t on their side.

Yes, that is correct, the NDP is against tuition cuts.

A little bizarre for a party that would like to see “free” tuition across the province. The opposition is upset that the Ford government is cutting tuition but not giving extra money to colleges and universities.

The fact is that most don’t need any extra cash.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford during a session in the legislature at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/Postmedia)

Despite crying poor from the 10% cut to tuition and complaining that the province won’t reimburse them, most colleges and universities are doing just fine.

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Many are sitting on piles of cash.

The University of Toronto, the wealthiest university in the province reported a surplus of $5.9 billion for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2018. That figure includes all of the schools assets such as land and investments but also $465 million in surplus revenue for the previous year.

Yes, the school crying poor took in $465 million extra last year in revenues, not counting a single penny of donations.

That would actually cover the entire tuition cut for every university and college and still leave U of T with a spare $61 million.

Centennial College on Thursday Feb. 21, 2019. (Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network)

Meanwhile, the wealthiest college, Mohawk in Hamilton, is also flush.

Mohawk College was reporting $24 million cash on hand at the end of the 2018 fiscal year, including $12 million in excess cash revenue from operating.

An internal government document on this issue obtained by The Sun shows both schools would barely feel the tuition cut.

Mohawk would lose $4 million in revenue and U of T $57 million. Both figures pale in comparison to their surpluses — expected to be $18 million for the coming year for Mohawk and $359 million for U of T.

Other schools across the province are in similar positions.

Most could find the 10% tuition cut savings through administrative means. It only amounts to a 2-4% loss of their total funds for most schools.

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They could also dip into the real cash cow and hike international tuition by 5-10% to make up the difference.

For schools that would have trouble, such as those in northern or less populated areas, the Ford government has said there will be some assistance.

But do we really need to worry about U of T or Mohawk, Western or Sheridan, Carleton or Conestoga?

No, these schools are fine. Most schools are fine.

If they really were in a cash crunch there would be plenty of programs that could be cut to save money without hurting students or frontline services.

College tuition now averages $2,400 per year and university tuition sits at $6,100 per year.

Families and students need the break, the schools don’t need to pull in anymore cash.


In addition to cutting tuition by 10% the Ford government will make many student fees voluntary.

While any fees related to health and safety will remain mandatory, clubs like the Anime Club at the University of Ottawa or the Breakdancing Club at the University of Western Ontario will not be mandatory.

Nor will the Communist Party Club at U of T.

Students will have the ability to opt out of funding clubs and associations that they have no interest in.

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According to one study, that could hurt organizations like the campus newspaper.

A survey of 600 students at Ontario universities found that 57.4% will choose to opt-out of next fall’s campus newspaper student fees given the choice.

Jerry Zheng with OneClass, an online study support website, said the drop in student newspaper funding could be devastating.

“I think a lot of these newsrooms would shrink, print distribution will likely come to an end,” Zheng said. “I would suspect there would be a lot less coverage.”

Zheng estimates that a single student newspaper, Carleton’s The Charleton, could lose as much as $90,000 in funding.

That is the equivalent of the wage and print distribution costs for the paper at one of Canada’s top journalism schools.

The government points out that at some schools student fees can add $2,000 a year for clubs and services that many students do not support or use.

“We will ensure students have transparency and freedom of choice regarding the campus services and organizations which get access to their money,” Minister Fullerton said when making the announcement last month.

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(Sun file photo)


Here are the estimated annual surpluses for province’s wealthiest post-secondary schools, after accounting for the tuition cut:


U of T – $359,768,000

Western – $111,034,000

McMaster – $109,829,000


Mohawk – $18,933,000

Sheridan – $14,869,000

Humber – $14,122,000

LILLEY: Ontario colleges and universities cry poor while flush with cash



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