Time running out on college, university tuition rebate

The spring semester is almost over for post-secondary students and so is the opportunity to get back a portion of their tuition.

The student tuition grant allows Ontario university and college students the chance to receive a 30-per cent rebate on their tuition fees for the 2012 spring semester.

But with time running out — the program’s deadline is March 31 — some have raised concerns that word isn’t getting to eligible students.

“I had heard about the grant, but didn’t really know much about it. I thought it was only for OSAP students,” said Nicole Headley, a Sheridan College student who doesn’t require OSAP.

Eligible university and college degree students will receive $800 under the tuition grant. Eligible college diploma and certificate students are given $365 for the current semester.

Full-time students that are four years or fewer removed from high school attending a public college or university in Ontario and don’t require OSAP can apply for the grant online. They must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or a protected person and their gross family income must be less than $160,000.

Students that do require OSAP will receive the grant automatically.

The Ontario government is doing its best to raise publicity before the March 31 deadline, said MPP Soo Wong, the Liberal representative in Scarborough-Agincourt.

“This particular grant from the government was made specifically to help current Grade 12 students and those that aren’t too far removed from high school,” she said. “We are now reaching over 300,000 Ontarian students and that’s a good thing.

“We know post-secondary students are critical to the workforce and skills in the community and for Ontario.”

Mature students that are beyond the four-year window should also be made eligible for the grant, Headley said, because “they have debts as well.”

Things might have been different for those students except for budget constraints at Queen’s Park, Wong said, adding financial help is available otherwise.

“The system is already supporting mature students and they do have means to apply through OSAP for additional support, if they need it,” Wong said.